Domestic club football across much of Europe has been halted completely due to the coronavirus pandemic, with Germany following France, England and Scotland in suspending their competitions on Friday, while UEFA has postponed Champions League and Europa League games due to be played next week.
Numerous countries had been initially planning to carry on playing matches behind closed doors, following the example of several Champions League and Europa League games this midweek, but that was not to everyone’s liking.
“My opinion is that all competitions should be suspended. In China they have been more responsible than they have been in Europe,” said Andre Villas-Boas, the coach of French club Marseille who previously worked in China, where more than 3,000 people have been killed by the virus.
However, there is also an economic reality, with clubs dependent on income from ticketing and matchday hospitality, as well as from TV deals for broadcasting matches.
“At the end of the day, it’s about financing professional football,” Bayern Munich chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge warned when asked if it might be better to stop playing football in Germany for the rest of the season.
“If payments due from broadcasters don’t come in, a lot of small and mid-size clubs will have liquidity problems.”
– ‘Serious implications’ –
According to a study by Spanish radio station Cope, La Liga clubs would lose a combined total of over 600 million euros ($665m; 536 million pounds) in income from television and ticketing if no more matches were played this season.
The impact on certain clubs could therefore be extremely serious, and the knock-on effects considerable in a country where almost 200,000 people have employment related to football, and where the sport represents 1.4 percent of GDP, according to La Liga.
In England, Premier League clubs who have profited from huge television deals should be able to handle a few weeks without matches, but the effects will immediately be felt elsewhere, with games in the Football League, the three divisions below the top flight, postponed as well as in the Women’s Super League.
“For the rest of football, it’s quite different (to the Premier League) as they rely on gate receipts and commercial activities, with a very small part coming from the media,” Peter Coates, the chairman of second-tier side Stoke City, told the BBC.
“This will have serious financial implications, with some clubs possibly running out of money.”
In a country like Scotland, where there are no big broadcast deals to offer a safety net, the situation could quickly become dire.
Ominously, Scottish Professional Football League chief executive Neil Doncaster has warned clubs “to examine their insurance arrangements in case of matches being affected.”
While nobody could realistically have seen such a scenario coming, the next few weeks will at least be a test of how well run many clubs around Europe are.
– TV companies forced to adjust –
Postponing matches by a few weeks is preferable to carrying on playing games behind closed doors precisely because money from broadcasters will eventually come in along with revenue from ticketing, sponsors and hospitality. However, there are still major concerns.
“The real immediate problem is cash flow because none of that will come in for at least a month. That is where we will see which clubs are well run and have a healthy economic model,” pointed out Jean-Pierre Caillot, the president of French Ligue 1 outfit Reims.
In the meantime, TV companies who have paid vast sums for those broadcast deals now have no live games to offer their paying subscribers. Across Europe, they will have to adjust accordingly in the coming days and weeks.
“They support the decision, we are in an exceptional situation and the broadcasters understand,” said Didier Quillot, the Director General of the French League, of their broadcast partners, Canal Plus and beIN Sports.
They, along with clubs across the continent, must now sit tight and hope that action being taken by governments around Europe proves effective at slowing the outbreak and allows football to resume again soon, in front of crowds.
The Indian Premier League, the world’s most lucrative cricket competition, on Friday postponed the start of this year’s tournament amid mounting anxiety in India over the coronavirus pandemic.
While the country of 1.3 billion has reported just two deaths from coronavirus and 81 confirmed cases, the government has ordered measures against travel and public gatherings similar to the worst-hit nations.
Postponing the cricket tournament, which draws the world’s top players from Australia, England and South Africa, and generates hundreds of millions of dollars in revenues each year, dominated Indian headlines Friday.
But it came as a virtual halt on incoming tourists and business visitors came into effect from Friday.
Most of the foreign cricketers would not have been able to play in the IPL because of the visa restrictions.
And the government has also ordered the closing of about half of its 37 land border crossing points with neighbouring Bangladesh, Myanmar and Nepal from Saturday.
Halting the IPL came after New Delhi and Mumbai banned large gatherings for sporting events.
Delhi and the southern state of Karnataka have also ordered schools, cinemas and theatres to close.
India also called off its two remaining one-day cricket internationals against a visiting South Africa side. The next game was to be played in Lucknow on Sunday.
The start of the IPL has been put back from March 29 until April 15 “as a precautionary measure” over the coronavirus, the Indian cricket board said.
Media reports said that even if the tournament does start after April 15 it was likely to be without fans in the stadium.
The two-month tournament is a huge revenue earner.
The Twenty20 competition is estimated to generate more than $11 billion for the Indian economy and involves cricket’s top international stars like England’s Ben Stokes, Australia’s David Warner and Indian captain Virat Kohli.
Chinese mobile-maker Vivo paid $330 million to be the league’s top sponsor for 2018-2022.
It involves eight teams playing 60 matches to packed, raucous stadiums of tens of thousands of spectators across India.
NBA players Giannis Antetokounmpo and Zion Williamson are among a growing list of athletes and teams pledging to provide financial assistance to stadium workers who will suffer wage losses due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Reigning NBA MVP Antetokounmpo announced he would give $100,000 to workers at the Milwaukee Bucks Fiserv Forum and Williamson has promised to cover the salaries of all employees at the Smoothie King Center for the next month.
“My mother has always set an example for me about being respectful for others and being grateful for what we have, and so today I am pledging to cover the salaries for all of those Smoothie King Center workers for the next 30 days,” Williamson said.
The hourly wage workers will take a big hit from the shut-down of the NBA and NHL, along with cancellations of concerts as public health officials caution that large gatherings can hasten the spread of COVID-19.
“It’s bigger than basketball!” Antetokounmpo tweeted. “And during this tough time I want to help the people that make my life, my family’s lives and my teammates lives easier.
“Me and my family pledge to donate $100,000 to the Fiserv Forum staff. We can get through this together!”
The 19-year-old Williamson’s salary pledge coincides with the NBA’s planned regular season hiatus in response to the outbreak.
“Many of them are still recovering from long-term challenges created by (Hurricane) Katrina, and now face the economic impact of the postponement of games because of the virus,” Williamson said.
Friday’s moves come a day after Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love committed $100,000 to the team’s arena workers and support staff. Love is expected to get some help from the team.
“I hope that during this time of crisis, others will join me in supporting our communities,” Love said, adding that moral support was just as important as financial in such a time of tension.
The Golden State Warriors announced that their owners and players are donating $1 million to a disaster-relief fund that will aid the more than 1,000 part-time Chase Center workers.
“As players, we wanted to do something, along with our ownership and coaches, to help ease the pain during this time,” said Warriors star Stephen Curry.
– Wage loss fund –
On the hockey side, the Pittsburgh Penguins players have started a fund to pay “full and part-time arena/service employees who would otherwise lose income on regular season games due to the pause in the NHL season.”
The Anaheim Ducks, San Jose Sharks and Toronto Maple Leafs have also pledged assistance.
Detroit-based Ilitch Companies, which owns the baseball Detroit Tigers, hockey’s Detroit Red Wings and Little Caesars Arena announced the establishment of a $1 million fund to cover workers salaries for a month. NBA player Blake Griffin, who plays for the Detroit Pistons, is chipping in $100,000 for the arena workers.
Charlotte Hornets center Cody Zeller has vowed to help out financially.
Mark Cuban, billionaire owner of the Dallas Mavericks said the team is making arrangements with American Airlines Arena and other corporate partners “to ensure that scheduled event staff will receive payment for the six home games that were to take place during the 30-day NBA hiatus.”
Atlanta Hawks owner Tony Ressler and the Philadelphia 76ers also said they were looking into ways to assist their arena associates idled by the shut down.
AFP looks at the effects on sport of the coronavirus, which by Friday had killed over 5,000 people while infecting more than 134,000 in 120 countries and territories.
— English Premier League suspended all fixtures until April 4, with matches in the English Football League, Women’s Super League, all Scottish football and international friendlies for England and Wales also postponed.
— Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta and Chelsea winger Callum Hudson-Odoi tested positive for COVID-19.
— Spanish club Real Madrid’s players were put in quarantine as La Liga announced Spain’s top two divisions will be suspended for at least two weeks.
— UEFA postponed all Champions League and Europa League games next week.
— In Italy, the hardest-hit European country with 1,016 deaths from COVID-19, all sporting events including Serie A have been suspended until April 3.
— On Wednesday, Juventus defender Daniele Rugani became the first Serie A footballer to test positive with Sampdoria forward Manolo Gabbiadini announcing that he had contracted the virus on Thursday.
— French football has been suspended “until further notice”, with the German Bundesliga also put on hold.
— The Netherlands’ Eredivisie has been suspended until March 31.
— Three UEFA Europa League games on Thursday including Manchester United away to LASK Linz had no fans.
— The Netherlands’ friendly against Spain set for March 29 cancelled. The United States has called off friendlies against the Dutch on March 26 and Wales (March 30).
— Other international friendlies to be played behind closed doors include France v Ukraine and Germany v Italy.
— The start of Japan’s J-League was postponed till mid-March while China suspended all domestic football and shelved indefinitely the top-flight Super League season.
— The French League Cup final between Paris Saint-Germain and Lyon has been called off, with no new date yet fixed, as has the Spanish Copa del Rey final between Real Sociedad and Athletic Bilbao.
— A Euro 2020 warm-up tournament in Qatar featuring Portugal, Belgium, Croatia and Switzerland, has been cancelled.
— South American World Cup qualifiers have been postponed, as was the next round of the Copa Libertadores.
— The FIFA Congress, due to take place in Addis Ababa on June 5, was pushed back to September 18.
— The ATP has suspended its tour for six weeks “due to escalating health and safety issues”.
— The ATP and WTA Miami Open was called off after Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez declared a state of emergency over the outbreak.
— The prestigious ATP and WTA Indian Wells tournament was cancelled, the first major sports event in the US to be shelved because of the outbreak.
— The inaugural Fed Cup Finals scheduled for next month in Budapest were postponed.
— The year’s opening men’s major, the Masters at Augusta National scheduled for April 9-12, has been postponed.
— The Players Championship was cancelled after Thursday’s first round, with all PGA Tour events off until after the Masters.
— European Tour chiefs postponed the Maybank Championship in Malaysia and the China Open in Shenzhen — both set for April, and this week’s Kenyan Open.
— The US LPGA Tour cancelled all three of its lucrative early-season events in Asia, and also its next three events in the United States.
— The Indian Open in New Delhi, set for March 19-22, was postponed on Wednesday.
— The Six Nations match between Italy and England in Rome on Saturday as well as the Ireland v Italy duel in Dublin on March 7 were postponed.
— All of the final round of matches have been put back until October, with Wales v Scotland joining France’s game against Ireland and England’s trip to Italy in being postponed.
— Sevens World Series tournaments in Hong Kong on April 3-5 and Singapore the following weekend will now be played in October.
— Sunday’s season-opening Australian Grand Prix was called off early on Friday, with the Bahrain and Vietnamese races also postponed.
— The Chinese Grand Prix, which was set for April 19 in Shanghai, has been delayed.
— In motorcycling, the season-opening Qatar MotoGP was cancelled, along with the Thailand MotoGP on March 22 (postponed until October 4). On Tuesday the Grand Prix of the Americas at Austin was rescheduled from April to November, while the MotoGP race in Argentina was also put on hold.
— IndyCar called of its first four planned races of the season.
— NBA suspended the season after Utah Jazz’s Rudy Gobert tested positive for the new coronavirus. ESPN reported that his teammate Donovan Mitchell has also tested positive.
LeBron James and Stephen Curry have called on the league to cancel the season after a “rough” 2020.
— NCAA ‘March Madness’ to also be closed to general public.
— The World Indoor Championships, scheduled for Nanjing from March 13-15, were postponed until next year.
— The Paris Marathon, scheduled for April 5 with 60,000 registered runners, was postponed until October 18.
— Next month’s London Marathon has also been postponed until October.
— The Barcelona Marathon, which was scheduled for March 15 with 17,000 runners, was postponed until October 4.
— Boston Marathon moved from April 20 to September 14.
— The Giro d’Italia, the first Grand Tour of the season, was put on hold on Friday.
— The spring classic Milan-San Remo, scheduled for March 21, was postponed, having only previously been cancelled three times since the inaugural edition in 1907.
— The Strade Bianchi, the first big race of the Italian cycling season set for last Saturday, was also cancelled along with the multi-day Tirreno-Adriatico.
— This month’s Tour of Cataluyna has been postponed, organisers announced on Thursday.
— World Athletics Sebastian Coe said the 2020 Tokyo Games will go ahead.
Tokyo city governor Yuriko Koike said cancelling the Olympics is “unthinkable”.
The Olympics take place from July 24-August 9.
— US President Donald Trump suggested the Olympics could be postponed for a year. “I like that better than I like having empty stadiums,” he said.
— The start of India’s IPL, scheduled for March 29, delayed until at least April 15.
— The final two one day internationals between India and South Africa were scrapped, as was the whole of England’s tour of Sri Lanka.
— Norway’s Aleksander Aamodt Kilde won alpine skiing’s men’s World Cup title after the final races of the season at Kranjska Gora at the weekend were scrapped.
— The World Cup finals, scheduled for Cortina d’Ampezzo in Italy between March 16-22, were cancelled.
— This weekend’s three women’s races in Are were scrapped, crowning Federica Brignone as the overall champion.
— World championships, scheduled for Montreal next week, were cancelled.
— Japan’s domestic baseball season, originally set to open on March 10, was postponed.
— The NHL commissioner Gary Bettman halted the competition on Thursday three weeks before the scheduled conclusion of the 2019-20 regular season.
— The Women’s World Ice Hockey Championships, set for Halifax and Truro in Nova Scotia for March 31 to April 10, were cancelled.
A quick look at major cancellations and changes in North American sport through Friday amid intensifying corona virus concerns:
– American Football –
– Cancelled: NFL annual meeting March 29-April 1 in Palm Beach, Florida
– Suspended: by multiple teams travel of scouts and coaches to assess players in build-up to the April 23 NFL Draft
– Athletics –
– Postponed: The 124th Boston Marathon, scheduled for April 20, postponed to September 14
– Baseball –
– Postponed: Major League Baseball season start, at least two weeks from scheduled March 26
– Cancelled: Major League Baseball Spring Training games; 2020 World Baseball Classic qualifier postponed
– Basketball –
– Suspended: NBA regular season from March 12; NBA commissioner Adam Silver says hiatus “will be, most likely, at least 30 days”
– Cancelled: NCAA “March Madness” national collegiate basketball tournament; move followed shut down of lead-in tournaments in Big Ten, Big East, Atlantic Coast, Southeastern and Pacific 12 conferences
– Boxing –
– Cancelled: Featherweight world title fight between Shakur Stevenson and Miguel Marriaga at Madison Square Garden’s Hulu Theater
– Suspended through March 31 – All combat sports events in California
– Curling –
– Cancelled: Women’s World Curling Championships scheduled for March 14-22 in Prince George, Canada, a 2022 Olympic qualifying event
– Figure Skating –
– Cancelled: World Figure Skating Championships scheduled for Montreal March 16-22, International Skating Union to consider possibility of staging a 2020 championships not before October
– Football –
– Suspended: MLS season for 30 days from March 12
– Cancelled: US men’s friendlies v Netherlands in Eindhoven on March 26 and v Wales in Cardiff on March 30
– Cancelled: US women’s friendlies v Australia in Sandy, Utah on April 10 and v Brazil on April 14 in San Jose, California
– Cancelled: Mexico men’s friendlies v Czech Republic in Charlotte, North Carolina, on March 26 and v Greece in Arlington, Texas, on March 29
– Golf –
– Postponed: The Masters, first men’s major of the year that was scheduled for April 9-12 at Augusta National
– Suspended: US PGA Tour season, including cancellation of the final three rounds of the Players Championship, The Valspar Championship, the WGC Match-Play, Corales Putacana Resort Championship in Dominican Republic and the Texas Open
– Postponed: Three LPGA tournaments in March and April, including the April 2-5 ANA Inspiration in Rancho Mirage, California, the first major on the 2020 golf calendar
– Ice hockey –
– Suspended: NHL regular season from March 12
– Cancelled: Women’s World Championship to be held in Canada from March 31 to April 10
– Motor racing –
– Cancelled: First four races of IndyCar season, the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, GP of Alabama, GP of Long Beach and IndyCar Challenge at Austin Texas
– Postponed: NASCAR stock car races March 14 at Atlanta, March 22 at Homestead-Miami
– Rugby –
– Suspended: Major League Rugby, 30 games into a season scheduled to run through May, for 30 days
– Tennis –
– Cancelled: Indian Wells ATP Masters and WTA tournament scheduled for March 11-22
– Cancelled: Miami Open ATP Masters and WTA tournament scheduled for March 23-April 5
– Cancelled: Houston ATP tournament April 6-12 cancelled as part of ATP Tour worldwide six-week suspension
– Cancelled: Charleston WTA tournament April 6-12
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Saturday resisted pressure for changes to the Tokyo Olympics schedule even as sporting events worldwide fall victim to the coronavirus pandemic.
Abe pledged Japan would host the Games as planned in July and said he had no immediate intention to declare a state of emergency over the virus outbreak, which has now seen more than 140,000 people infected across the globe and over 5,400 killed.
His comments come two days after US President Donald Trump suggested the Japanese capital postpone the Games for a year as the spread of the virus wreaks havoc on the sporting calendar.
“We will respond by closely coordinating with officials concerned, including the IOC (International Olympic Committee). There is no change in this,” Abe told a news conference.
“We want to hold the Olympics as planned without any trouble by overcoming the spread of infections,” he said.
Organisers, Japanese government officials and the IOC have insisted preparations are on track and there will be no postponement or cancellation.
England’s football Premier League, America’s NBA basketball season and the Augusta Masters golf major are just some of the competitions swept aside by the pandemic.
On Friday Abe and Trump spoke on the phone about the outbreak and Olympics after Trump proposed a delay.
“We agreed that Japan and the US will cooperate and closely coordinate for success in the Olympics,” Abe said, adding they had not discussed any postponement.
The Japanese parliament on Friday approved legislation that gives Abe the power to declare a state of emergency to combat COVID-19 but Abe insisted such a declaration was not yet necessary.
The coronavirus has infected more than 700 people across Japan and been linked to 21 deaths. Separately, 700 people on board a cruise ship that docked near Tokyo last month were also infected.
A state of emergency would allow local governments to require that people stay indoors, schools close and public facilities limit use.
Land and buildings could be requisitioned for makeshift hospitals.
IOC chief Thomas Bach told German television broadcaster ARD on Thursday that the body would follow recommendations by the World Health Organization but that work continued for a successful Games.
He acknowledged however that cancellations of Olympic qualifiers are starting to pose “serious problems”.
Football Association chairman Greg Clarke has reportedly told the Premier League he does not believe the domestic football season will be completed because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Premier League suspended all fixtures at an emergency meeting on Friday. Matches in the English Football League, FA Women’s Super League and Women’s Championship are also on hold.
“It was unanimously decided to suspend the Premier League with the intention of returning on 4 April, subject to medical advice and conditions at the time,” the Premier League said in a statement.
Clarke said at the meeting that he did not think it was feasible for the season to be completed, according to a report in the Times.
The virus is not expected to peak in Britain for many weeks, raising doubts over an early April re-start for the Premier League.
The Times said it is understood that Brighton and Hove Albion chief executive Paul Barber also questioned the brevity of the suspension.
Richard Masters, the Premier League chief executive, is reported to have said it would at least allow time to consider the potential consequences and debate the possible solutions.
The decision was taken after Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta and Chelsea winger Callum Hudson-Odoi tested positive for COVID-19.
Arteta welcomed the move to put the season on hold.
“Feeling better already,” he tweeted. “We’re all facing a huge & unprecedented challenge.Everyone’s health is all that matters right now.”
Liverpool are 25 points clear at the top of the Premier League with nine games remaining, chasing their first English top-flight title for 30 years.
If results had gone their way this weekend they could have wrapped up the title at Everton on Monday but manager Jurgen Klopp said he supported the move to suspend football.
He said in a club statement: “If it’s a choice between football and the good of the wider society, it’s no contest. Really, it isn’t.”
Football clubs at all levels face enormous losses if the season is not completed.
One senior figure in broadcasting told the Times: “The commercial reality for the Premier League and (European governing body) UEFA is that if they don’t complete their seasons then they are in breach of their broadcasting contracts.
“You would have broadcasters from all around the world saying, ‘In that case we are not paying for the season.’ For the Premier League you are talking around £3 billion ($3.7 billion) income a year from overseas and domestic TV rights. There would also be financial implications if the competitions were squeezed so fewer matches were played.”
Football finance expert Kieran Maguire told the BBC that clubs, especially in the lower divisions, would be hit hard by the disruption.
“I think many clubs are going to struggle significantly,” he said. “Many clubs are surviving on a match-to-match basis and are reliant on the loyal few thousand turning up.
“We have to consider the staff at clubs, they are reliant on the income they get from football clubs to pay their own bills as well.”
The Premier League clubs are reportedly due to meet again next Thursday.
There are matches taking place on Saturday in the National League — the fifth tier of English football — but a number of games have been postponed, including the Yeovil v Barnet fixture.
“We currently have four staff that are showing symptoms of COVID-19 who are following government advice and self-isolating,” Barnet said in a statement.
“As a consequence, we have taken measures to put all first-team staff into self-isolation.”
In a bid to ensure the season finishes, UEFA is considering playing the rest of the 2019/20 Champions League and Europa League in single-match format.
Despite the ongoing coronavirus crisis, UEFA is to do everything it can to maintain the current dates of the Champions League final, set for 30 May in Istanbul, and the Europa League final, scheduled to be played three days earlier in Gdansk.
UEFA could temporarily ditch two-legged European ties
With that in mind, the Daily Mail reports, European football’s governing body is to consider playing the rest of both competitions in single-legged format.
Currently, all Champions League and Europa League knockout ties – except for the final – are played over two, home-and-away legs.
UEFA’s chief conundrum in such a scenario, the report adds, will be deciding where the one-off ties would be held. One option would be to use neutral venues, while another would be to draw the home side in each pairing out of a hat.
With even the most optimistic predictions pointing to a return to action in April at the earliest, there will be little room for manoeuvre in the football schedule, and the Mail says there is “a growing feeling at UEFA that one-off ties are now the only way forward”.
However, the potential postponement of Euro 2020 until next year could allow the club game greater scope to reorganise its domestic and European calendars further into the summer and, in the process, avoid format changes.
Russia offers to host more Euro 2020 games
Not if UEFA accepts a proposal made by Russia in recent hours, though.
To ensure the European Championship does go ahead this summer, the country – which is one of the venues for the 12-city finals – has publicly put itself forward to host more than the four tournament games scheduled to be held in St Petersburg.
With other host nations badly hit by the spread of the coronavirus – particularly Italy – Russia’s deputy prime minister, Dmitry Chernyshenko, said on Friday: “In the dates which include Russia’s participation in Euro 2020 we could definitely expand the program [host more matches]. It’s up to UEFA to approach us with this offer.”
Russia has been far less affected by the spread of the coronavirus, having registered just 45 confirmed cases by Friday and no deaths so far.
City had hoped to have their hearing heard by early summer but that may be optimistic given the court in Lausanne has already postponed three hearings and has 16 cases already scheduled until May 18, with the City case not yet listed.
CAS Secretary General Matthieu Reeb told Reuters that the court was already making adjustments and was “monitoring the situation closely and continually adapting to the changing circumstances”.
“In-person hearings are still being conducted, where the participants agree to do so,” he added in an email statement.
“When participants are located in high-risk regions, we are offering the possibility of using video or phone links or postponing to a later date.”
Reeb said that parties in cases are able to request that a decision be made “solely on the basis of the written submissions, without a hearing being held”.
City were banned by UEFA on Feb. 14 and fined 30 million euros (27.16 million pounds) for “serious breaches” of its break-even regulations known as Financial Fair Play (FFP).
The club, who have denied wrongdoing, appealed the decision and last month their CEO Ferran Soriano said they wanted “an early resolution” and that the “best hope is that this will be finished before the beginning of the summer”.
The ruling, if upheld, would mean City would not be able to compete in the 2020-21 Champions League should they again qualify for Europe’s top club competition. They would also be banned from European competition in the 2021-22 season.
But the qualification process for the Champions League is also clouded by the coronavirus situation, with domestic leagues across the continent having suspended play.
UEFA is holding a video-conference on Tuesday of all its member associations and league, club and player representatives to decide how to progress with this season and to discuss a possible postponement of Euro 2020.
“For the moment, there has been no significant impact on our operations but we will continue to be vigilant. Only three hearings have been postponed so far,” Reeb added.