On March 24th, IOC chief Thomas Bach announced that the Tokyo Olympics 2020 has been postponed to 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Such is the magnitude of the calamity which has hit the sporting world.
By the end of February, the disruptions began in Italy as restrictions were placed on large gatherings and football matches were played in empty stadiums.
With sports in Italy getting affected, the virus impact slowly spread to other countries in Europe.
And on March 12, the NBA suspended games until further notice after a Utah Jazz player tested positive for COVID-19. With that, the onslaught across global sports was official.
In India, the IPL was postponed from March 29 to April 15 but a further postponement is expected.
The cancellation of games is not just about sports, players and fans. It also impacts the huge, lucrative sports industry which could face tremendous losses.
A fortnight ago, a Spanish biologist's comparison on sports funding and medical research funding went viral. He reportedly said, “You give the footballer 1 million euros a month and a biology researcher 1,800 euros per month, and you are now looking for coronavirus treatment? Go to Ronaldo or Messi and they will get you a cure.”
Although it could not be verified whether such a comment was made, it did raise the eyebrows of many.
It is true that sports stars are paid in thousands by the hour but that only applies to the top layer. They are industry drivers and influencers but certainly it's not the same for other players who are comparatively less skilled, players from small countries, upcoming lads and many more.
Nevertheless, the point warrants a discussion.
On the other hand, millionaire players and star athletes including Ronaldo, Messi and many others across sports have donated millions to charity.
Argentina football great Lionel Messi has donated one million euros to a hospital in Barcelona to help combat the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Star Portugal footballer Cristiano Ronaldo and agent Jorge Mendes have also donated one million euros to fund intensive care units in hospitals in Lisbon and Porto.
Messi's former Barcelona manager Pep Guardiola has also given one million euros towards the purchase and production of medical supplies and equipment with another Barcelona-based campaign.
Tennis great Roger Federer along with his wife Mirka has donated one million Swiss francs to help vulnerable families in Switzerland.
Football club Arseanl had announced a number of charity works including making club cars available for NHS workers.
Remember who you are, what you are and who you represent. pic.twitter.com/ZmvTtHxPCt— Arsenal (@Arsenal) March 24, 2020
Former India men's cricket team captain Sourav Ganguly donated Rs 50 lakh to provide rice for the underprivileged in West Bengal.
Cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar also donated Rs 50 lakh, split equally towards the Prime Minister's relief fund and Maharashtra Chief Minister's relief fund.
Badminton champion PV Sindhu donated Rs 10 lakh and wrestler Bajrang Punia has donated six months' salary towards the Haryana CM's relief fund.
Ace sprinters Dutee Chand and Hima Das have contributed one month's salary towards the cause.
Former cricketer and BJP MP Gautam Gambir also pledged Rs 50 lakh to help fight the coronavirus in Delhi.
Cricketer Suresh Raina also pledged to contribute Rs 52 lakh after PM Modi set up a public assistance fund.
Pakistani cricketer Shahid Afridi is on the ground, donating soaps, disinfectants, food and other supplies to the needy.
Day 3 of serving the needy: packs containing disinfectant soap, material, food & a sheet on preventative measures to take to avoid the contraction & spread of #CoronaVirus were included, with advice to stay at home. Let’s pull together & serve others too #DonateKaroNa #HopeNotOut pic.twitter.com/etxR2E1YR5— Shahid Afridi (@SAfridiOfficial) March 24, 2020
The Bangladeshi cricket team players have contributed half their monthly salary to help the country fight the pandemic.
According to goal.com, Bundesliga football clubs Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, RB Leipzig and Bayer Laverkusen have announced a donation of 20 million Euros to the top two German football leagues so that the teams survive the coronavirus pandemic.
Many African footballers like Didier Drogba, Sadio Mane, Samuel Eto'o are raising awareness and contributing monetarily in order to fight the viurs.
(With inputs from agencies)