From Cricket to Football, COVID-19 Halts Major Sports Events in Nepal

From Cricket to Football, COVID-19 Halts Major Sports Events in Nepal

The novel Coronavirus outbreak has resulted in disruption of sporting events across the world and Nepal is no exception. Surging number of infected cases in the Himalayan nation has compelled the KP Sharma Oli government to extend the lockdown to curb the spread of the pandemic. From Cricket to Football, all forms of sporting events have been affected by prolonging lockdown and travel restrictions, resulting in either cancellation or postponing of these events amid virus fears. 

The fourth edition of the Everest Premier League, which was scheduled to start from March 14, 2020, was postponed by the Cricket Association of Nepal. The new dates for the Premier League have not been announced by the association yet. This edition was lined up to be the biggest season of the Premier League since its inception four years ago with international cricketers such as Chris Gayle, who was signed to play for the Pokhara Rhinos, joining the competition.

On April 19, the Nepal Volleyball Association (NVA) postponed the 5th edition of the National Women’s and Men’s Volleyball Tournament until further notice. The national event was scheduled to take place in early May with eight men’s team and six women’s team participating in the game.

Nepal’s first international friendly football match was postponed indefinitely by the All Nepal Football Association (ANFA) in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. A friendly football fixture was planned to take place between Nepal’s national team and England’s C team at Aldershot Town FC in the United Kingdom on May 25. A second match was scheduled to be hosted by Nepal in 2021. The future of this international event is in limbo as the two countries grapple with Coronavirus disease. 

The Deputy Mayor National Women Football League, fixed to be held from March 16-26 at the Dharan Stadium in Sunsari,  was also deferred by the AFNA, without announcing any future dates. 

The ‘2020 Papua New Guinea Tri-Nation Series’ going to take place between Nepal, Papua New Guinea, and the UAE was postponed by the International Cricket Council (ICC) for an indefinite period. The match was slated to take place in Papua New Guinea’s capital city Port Moresby from June 9-16, 2020.

As the world governments are planning on reopening their economies after weeks of lockdown, sports authorities are also drafting roadmaps to revive the sports events. The Coronavirus shutdowns have led to massive revenue losses and salary cuts in the sports industry as well. Nepal sports authorities are also exploring viable ways through which the affected events can be set in motion again. It is, however, certain that sports will not be the same for a long time once the lockdown is completely lifted.

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