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COVID-19 Sports Calendar

When will sports return?

 Philip Greene, Client Manager

by Philip Greene, Client Manager

Core Sponsorship

 

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All information is correct as of 3 July 2020 but is subject to change.
This page will be updated regularly.

 

Our latest update includes championship schedules in football, hurling and camogie, confirmation of the return of the SSE Airtricity League of Ireland and dates for Stephen Kenny’s first game in charge of the Irish men’s soccer team.

One of the things we missed most from our daily lives during the depths of the COVID-19 lockdown was sport.

Whether that was a weekly game of 5-a-side with friends, taking training with the U-10 camogie team or sitting down at the weekend to watch the Premier League and Heineken Champions Cup, any fan will agree that the suspension of sport left its mark

As things return to some form of normality and professionals and weekend warriors alike begin to return to the pitch, court and pool, Core Sponsorship wants to keep you up to date with the latest news about the biggest sporting events.

We also want to ensure that you don’t miss a minute of what is potentially going to be an action-packed next 12 months in the sporting world. To do that, we’ve created a calendar which contains info on all the major sporting events until the summer of 2021.

 

Public Health Guidelines & Government Advice Pertaining to Sport

Phase 1 (18th May): Opening of outdoor amenities such as golf courses, tennis courts and pitches.

Phase 2 (8th June): Return of small group team sports outdoor training (but not matches), no contact.

Phase 3 (29th June): Team leagues for all ages can recommence, as can close contact sports such as boxing and rugby. Crowds of up to 200 people will be permitted to attend outdoor sporting events, while up to 50 will be allowed to attend indoor events. Social distancing advise is to be followed in both cases. Gyms, yoga/pilates/dance studios and public swimming pools can all reopen.

Phase 4 (20th July): This phase is likely to bring expanded crowds permitted for indoor and outdoor sporting events

The Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport has also announced new funding of €70m to support sport coming out of COVID-19. The GAA, IRFU and FAI will split €40m, while there are Resilience Funds set up for national governing bodies and sports clubs, as well as a Restart & Renewal Fund

 

Gaelic Games

GAA, LGFA and the Camogie Association have released an accelerated version of their joint Return to Play roadmap, which confirms that club activity will return before the inter-county games. Clubs will be permitted to reopen pitches for non-contact training from June 24th  for adult training and June 27th for Minor and younger age groups. Club championships can now begin from July 17th for all age groups. There will be no inter-county games before 17th October, with training recommencing for county teams on 14th September

GAA has announced the format and schedule for the 2020 All Ireland football and hurling championships. The football championship will be a straight knock-out while the hurling championship will contain a back-door. The football final will go ahead on December 19th, with the hurling decider scheduled for December 13th. As expected, intercounty action will resume on October 17th with the final two rounds of the Allianz National Football leagues, with championship action set to resume at the end of October. The AIB provincial and All Ireland Club Championships will not take place in 2020

GAA has also confirmed that Kellogg’s Cúl Camps will be permitted to go ahead this summer, beginning on July 20th. Camps will have limits on participants and some venues will have to be removed as facilities will be unsuitable to ensure appropriate social distancing & public health measures

LGFA has announced the structure of its 2020 championship, which will see 12 counties compete in a round robin consisting of four groups of three, with each group winner advancing to the semi finals. The aim is that the championship can be played off over seven weeks

The Camogie Association has confirmed that the Liberty Insurance All Ireland Championships will run between October and December this year. Exact dates and formats are to be announced but the tournament will run initially as a round robin before proceeding to knockout rounds. The remaining games of the Littlewoods Ireland National Camogie Leagues have been cancelled due to scheduling constraints

GAA President John Horan has suggested that, pending permission for large gatherings, Croke Park could facilitate 21,000 spectators at 2 metre social distancing. That figure would double if the distance were to reduce to 1 metre

 

Soccer

The Premier League returned on Wednesday 17th June with matches taking place potentially any day of the week and up to four games on Saturdays and Sunday with the aim of completing the season with a condensed schedule. All remaining games will be broadcast live, spread across existing Premier League broadcast partners Sky Sports, BT Sport, Amazon (UK) and BBC. 33 of the games will be free to air, across Sky Sports, BBC and Amazon (UK only). Premier Sports will carry Amazon’s games in Ireland

The SSE Airtricity League of Ireland will return on July 31st, it has been confirmed. After protracted negotiations between the FAI and league clubs, the format which has been agreed will see an 18 game season for all teams, including the 4 games each side had played before play stopped. Promotion and relegation formats will remain the same; one side will be automatically be relegated from the SSE Airtricity League of Ireland Premier Division, with another side being automatically promoted from the First Division in their place while one side from either division will then meet in a promotion/relegation playoff. Games will be played across multiple days of the week, with one match per day to help attract streaming audiences. Several clubs have expressed concern over the return to play plan, with the format of relegation proving the major sticking point. The Extra.ie FAI Cup, currently at the quarter-final stage, will be run off following the completion of the league season.

The Republic of Ireland men’s team’s Euro 2020 playoff semi-final away to Slovakia has been confirmed by UEFA for October 8th. Should they win that, they will play away to either Northern Ireland or Bosnia & Herzegovina on November 12th  in the playoff final. Euro 2020 has been moved to summer 2021

UEFA have also confirmed that the Nations League will start as planned on 3rd September, with Ireland facing a trip to Bulgaria, before a first home game under Stephen Kenny three days later against Finland. The Nations League campaign continues with games against Wales (twice), Finland and Bulgaria across October and November

Republic of Ireland women’s team will play their remaining Euro 2022 qualifiers across October, November and December, culminating in a home game against group top seeds Germany. The European Championships scheduled for 2021 has been moved back to 2022

The Republic of Ireland U21 men’s team will resume attempts to qualify for the European Championships with a qualifier away to Italy in October. Remaining games in the group will then take place in November. The European Championships will take place in March & June 2021

UEFA have confirmed plans for the conclusion of the UEFA Champions League and Europa League for the 2019/20 season. The Champions League will be played out in a one leg tournament format from the quarter finals onwards, with all games being played in Lisbon. The quarter finals begin on August 12th and the final takes place on August 23rd. The Europa League will follow the same pattern, with games taking place across four German cities beginning on August 10th. The qualifying rounds for the 2020/21 competition will then begin on 18th August for the Champions League and 27th August for Europa League

UEFA have also confirmed a similar format for the conclusion of the Women’s Champions League for 2019/20, with a final 8 straight knock-out tournament to be played in Bilbao and San Sebastian between August 21-30

The EFL SkyBet Championship returned on June 20th, with a condensed fixture list to finish the season. SkyBet League One and League Two clubs have voted to curtail their seasons, with the exception of the promotion playoffs. Automatic promotion and relegation has been decided on a points per game basis

The FA Cup final has been confirmed for August 1st, with quarter finals and semi-finals scheduled for June and July respectively

The FA have confirmed the end of the Women’s Super League and Championship season, with final league positions decided on a points per game basis

La Liga returned on June 11th, with games taking place every day in the aim of finishing the season by July 19th. There is a suggestion that limited amounts of fans may be allowed into games in regions where the COVID-19 threat has lowered, but those proposals are still under discussion

Serie A resumed on June 20th, with the aim being to play the remaining 124 games by August 2nd and only 5 days in that period not featuring a game. The Italian Football Federation have also opened up the possibility of admitting limited numbers of fans into suitable stadiums.Football fixtures website and app Livescore will carry free coverage of all Serie A games for the remainder of the 2019/20 season

MLS has confirmed that its season will return behind closed doors at Disney World in Florida from July 8th with a modified World Cup style structure

Japan’s J League has confirmed that it will begin to admit fans into its games from July 10th

The African Cup of Nations, due to take place in January 2021, has been rescheduled for January 2022

 

Rugby

World Rugby have indicated that it will publish its calendar for the remainder of 2020 following a vote of its council on June 30th. Latest reports pertaining to Ireland’s remaining 2020 Guinness 6 Nations fixtures suggest that the home game against Italy could be played on October 3rd or 24th while the final round of matches, including Ireland’s trip to Paris, has a provisional date of October 31st

IRFU have confirmed that they are planning to host interprovincial games behind closed doors at the Aviva Stadium on August 22nd and 23rd, as part of the return of the Guinness PRO 14 season. PRO 14 is hoping to restart the league, in a shortened format, on August 21st with similar derbies across all its regions. Current plans would see two rounds of local derbies take place on consecutive weekends, followed by semi finals with the final taking place on September 12th

Celtic Rugby, the body made up of the 5 unions whose teams play in the Guinness PRO14, have agreed qualification for next season’s Heineken Champions Cup and Challenge Cup will be determined by the Guinness PRO14 standings when the league was suspended in March. It is expected that the 2020/21 Heineken Champions Cup will be expanded to feature 24 team

Dates for the knockout stages of the Heineken Champions Cup have been confirmed. The quarter finals will take place on the weekend of September 18th, with the semi finals the following weekend. The final is set to take place in Marseille on October 17th. Exact times, dates and locations for the quarter finals and semi finals are yet to be released

IRFU have published guidelines for a return to play for its clubs. This includes the confirmation that club rugby matches can recommence from September

The Gallagher English Premiership is due to return on August 15th

New Zealand Rugby has confirmed that there will be no limits on crowd numbers for the Super Rugby Aotearoa tournament, a domestic competition featuring New Zealand’s Super Rugby franchises

A crowd of 1,500 spectators will be allowed into the first game of the new Super Rugby AU competition, a domestic competition between Australian Super Rugby franchises, when it commences on July 4th

Latest reports suggest that World Rugby are consider proposals to create an aligned global calendar for the sport, which would see rugby become a summer sport in the Northern Hemisphere and could impact on the scheduling of the Guinness 6 Nations and the British and Irish Lions tours

World Rugby have passed an optional set of trial rules, designed to limit potential spread of COVID-19. The rules limit physical contact in set pieces such as scrums and mauls. Rugby unions in England and New Zealand have confirmed that they will not be using the rules

 

Horse Racing

Horse racing resumed in Ireland on June 8th, with a fixture at Naas. A mixed schedule of flat and national hunt racing has been announced, covering June to August, with national hunt racing returning on June 22nd with racing at Limerick. Only key personnel necessary to run the fixture will be permitted to be on-site where they will be subject to strict Covid-19 protocols. All those in attendance will be subject to health surveying in advance and thermal temperature screening on entry

RTÉ have announced expanded horse racing coverage over June and July, taking in all the Classic races in this period alongside additional programming covering 10 new meetings

The Investec Oaks and Derby take place over this weekend at Epsom, beginning on July 3rd. Virgin Media will carry live coverage of the Derby meeting

The Galway Races meeting will go ahead behind closed doors on its original dates of July 27th to August 2nd.

The Irish Grand National, which was postponed in April, is to be rearranged for the winter months.

 

Other

Golf

The Dubai Duty Free Irish Open, due to take place in July, has been postponed, but no new date was provided by the European Tour when they announced a truncated 2020 schedule which starts on July 22nd with the British Masters. Reports suggest the event could be rescheduled for the soon-to-be postponed Ryder Cup slot in September

The PGA Tour continues play behind closed doors this weekend at the Rocket Mortgage Classic, despite positive COVID-19 tests from several players in recent weeks

The Open Championship has been cancelled for 2020, with all other men’s majors rescheduled for later in the year, starting with the US PGA Championship in August

The Ryder Cup is expected to be postponed until 2021, according to latest reports. This will have a knock-on impact to the Ryder Cup set to be hosted in Adare Manor, which will now be scheduled to take place in 2027

Athletics

The Dublin Marathon due to take place on October 25th has been cancelled.

Cricket

Ireland’s home T20 and ODI series against New Zealand scheduled for this summer has been cancelled. T20 internationals against Pakistan will also not go ahead. With the team operating across two jurisdictions north and south of the border, return to play processes for the game have been difficult to implement but Cricket Ireland have received approval to move towards a resumption of club activity from 8th June.

Cycling

The Tour de France has been rescheduled to start on August 29.

American Sports

The Aer Lingus College Football Classic, scheduled to be played between Army and Navy at Aviva Stadium on 29th August, will now not go ahead in Ireland, due to player safety concerns.

NBA season is scheduled to resume with a 22-team tournament to finish its regular season at Disney World in Florida, with a start date of July 30th, after the plan was approved by the NBA board and player’s union, despite growing concerns around player safety. The playoffs are due to begin on August 17th, with the finals due to begin on September 3oth

MLB and the Players Association have finally agreed a plan to resume the season after protracted negotiations between the league and the players’ union. The season will resume on July 23rd, with training camps beginning on July 1st

NHL has confirmed that should it restart its season, it will hold a modified Playoff series with 24 teams across two ‘hub cities’. No play is expected until at least the end of July, with negotiations still on-going

NFL have confirmed that they intend to run the 2020/21 season as normal, beginning on September 10th. Games are likely to take place behind closed doors

Motorsports

A condensed Formula 1 season begins this weekend in Austria, the first of 8 races to take place behind closed doors in Europe across 10 weekends. Austria will host a second race on July 12th, before races in Hungary, Spain, Belgium, Italy and two in Britain. Formula 1 is expected to announce further races in the coming weeks

Tennis

Wimbledon has been cancelled, while the US Open will go ahead as planned between August 24 and September 13, despite public concern from some high profile players. The French Open, originally scheduled for May, will take place in late September and organisers have said that up to 60% of the tournaments original capacity will be permitted to attend, with fans sitting in groups of 4 on main courts, wearing masks and adhering to social distancing

Olympic Games

Tokyo Olympics have been rescheduled for July 2021

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