Ireland shuts down sporting events to slow Covid-19

25 March 2020

The Irish government has announced a complete shut-down of all sporting events as part of a new package of measures adopted in an attempt to slow the spread of novel coronavirus (Covid-19) in the country.

With all Gaelic Athletics Association (GAA), Irish Rugby Football Union, the League of Ireland football competition and Motorsport Ireland events shut down since 12 March, this mainly affects Irish horseracing.

Since 13 March, all fixtures have been held behind closed doors, but following the new measures, the racing at Tipperary’s Clonmel Racecourse will be the final event until at least 19 April. This means the Irish Grand National is facing cancellation or at least a postponement, while Punchestown Festival, scheduled for 28 April, appears to be under threat.

As of yesterday (24 March) Ireland has 1,329 confirmed cases of Covid-19, and seven deaths from the virus.

The shut-down further reduces the range of available events for betting, which have been severely curtailed from 13 March when almost all high profile leagues suspended upcoming fixtures.

British horseracing followed from 18 March, until 30 April, having initially attempted to continue behind closed doors. Yesterday also saw British greyhound racing shut down, again after initially going behind closed doors.

Currently racing is still taking place in Sweden, and at a number of tracks in California and Florida in the US.