Various sports associations on Thursday announced the suspension of public events at least until the end of March in connection with the novel Coronavirus pandemic.
The announcements came as Belgian authorities held a series of meetings to decide on further action to limit the propagation of the virus.
“The time has come to take national measures,” Deputy Prime Minister Koen Geens said on Thursday afternoon as he arrived at a restricted Council of Ministers meeting on the issue. Earlier, Prime Minister Sophie Wilmès had told members of the federal parliament that national measures would, in fact, be taken.
Belgium’s National Security Council was scheduled to meet late Thursday afternoon. Belga reported that the Prime Ministers of the various territorial entities would be attending the meeting and that new measures based on scientific recommendations should be announced at the end of it.
In the meantime, many sports officials have heeded the advice of the authorities and called off public activities.
Flemish Sports Minister announced, also on Thursday, that regional associations, including the cycling and gymnastics federations, had decided after meeting with him to cancel all events until the end of March. National bodies such as the Pro League and the national football federation, URBSFA, also took part in the meeting, Weyts said.
The Belgian Handball Union announced a similar suspension. Until further notice, the men’s and women’s finals of the Belgian Cup would be played as scheduled on 11 April, the Union said, but it cautioned that the situation could change from one minute to the next, and promised to issue updates via social media.
Other activities postponed due to the pandemic include cycling events organised by Peloton – the Golazo and Flanders Classics -, which were scheduled to run until 19 April, the national hockey championships, and all swimming championships – postponed until 3 May.