China decides to postpone start of domestic soccer league

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              This Thursday, Jan. 30, 2020, photo released by China's Xinhua News Agency, shows construction workers at the site of the Huoshenshan temporary field hospital being built in Wuhan in central China's Hubei Province. The World Health Organization declared the outbreak sparked by a new virus in China that has spread to more than a dozen countries as a global emergency Thursday after the number of cases spiked more than tenfold in a week. (Cai Yang/Xinhua via AP)
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BEIJING (AP) — The Chinese Football Association has announced that all domestic matches of the 2020 season will be postponed in an effort to control the spread of the coronavirus that has now claimed more than 200 lives.

The Super League was due to run from Feb. 22 to Oct 31. A starting date for the new season has not yet been announced.

“In order to cooperate with the nationwide prevention to curb the virus and to ensure the health of all football related people, the CFA decided to delay all levels of domestic football matches in 2020 season from now on,” read a statement from Chinese football’s governing body.

In addition, the Asian Football Confederation confirmed that all four Chinese clubs will first play three away games in the Asian Champions League group stage.

The decision comes after other sporting events in China have been postponed or cancelled due to the coronavirus. The men’s alpine skiing World Cup scheduled for February 15-16 in Yanqing has been cancelled.

The world athletics indoor championships, scheduled to be held from March 13-15 in Nanjing, have been postponed for 12 months.

Also, the LPGA Tour has cancelled the Blue Bay tournament scheduled for March 5-8 on Hainan Island due to the virus.