MX23RW : Saturday, December 14 17:34:27| >> :600:2097024:2097024:

Hong Kong Open postponed amid civil unrest

Hong Kong Open postponed amid civil unrest
© Reuters
The tournament is the latest sporting event to be called off.

The European Tour has postponed next week's Hong Kong Open due to the ongoing civil unrest in the city.

The protests began in early June over a now-shelved extradition bill to mainland China that many saw as Beijing's creeping interference on legal and other rights guaranteed to Hong Kong when the former British colony returned to Chinese rule in 1997.

The movement has since expanded to include other demands, including direct elections for the city's leaders and an independent investigation into alleged police brutality.

Several sporting events have been cancelled due to the unrest, including the PGA Tour-China's Clearwater Bay Open and the Hong Kong Open tennis and squash tournaments, and the first event on the European Tour's 2019-20 calendar has now become another casualty.

The tournament could be rescheduled for early next year and European Tour chief executive Keith Pelley said in a statement: "The decision has been taken due to the ongoing level of social unrest in Hong Kong.

"As the safety of our players, staff, stakeholders and everyone involved in each and every one of our tournaments around the world is our top priority, we feel this is the correct, but unfortunate, course of action.

Keith Pelley
European Tour chief executive Keith Pelley hopes to reschedule the Hong Kong Open for 2020 (Niall Carson/PA)

"The European Tour thanks everyone at the Hong Kong Golf Association, the Hong Kong Golf Club and all persons associated with the Hong Kong Open for their hard work in endeavouring to stage the tournament and we look forward to hopefully returning early next year."

Speaking to the PA news agency during the recent Turkish Airlines Open, Pelley said that he had no concerns over player safety.

"There are a couple of events that were happening right in the area (of the protests) but Fanling is not in that area," Pelley said. "We'll monitor it on a weekly basis but we're comfortable with the tournament going ahead."

Former Masters champion Patrick Reed was set to contest the event for the fourth time and told PA he had no concerns.

Patrick Reed
Patrick Reed had been confident of the tournament going ahead (Bradley Collyer/PA)

"No, not at all," Reed said. "I talked to the European Tour, the tournament director and it's completely safe to go over."

The European Tour could now face claims for the cost of flights and hotels from players who planned to compete in Hong Kong instead of the Alfred Dunhill Championship in South Africa, which is being staged on the same dates.

body check tags ::

Click here for more stories about Keith Pelley

Share this article now:
Instagram - Follow Sports Mole
England's Tommy Fleetwood reacts on the 18th hole during the second round of The Open on July 19, 2019
Read Next:
Tommy Fleetwood: 'Very special to still be in contention for Race to Dubai win'
>

Premier League
Championship
La Liga
Serie A
Bundesliga
Belgian Pro League
Greek Superleague
Swiss Super League
Ukrainian Premier League
Segunda Division
Serie B
2.Bundesliga
Ligue 2
Club World Cup
Welsh Premier League
NIFL Premiership
Australian A-League
Premier League 2 - Div 1
European Champions Cup
European Challenge Cup

Subscribe to our Newsletter


Transfer Talk Daily
Match previews - twice weekly
Morning Briefing (7am UTC)
Ultra close-up image of Kevin De Bruyne [NOT FOR USE IN ARTICLES]Get the latest transfer news, match previews and news direct to your inbox!