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Coronavirus latest: 2020 Ice Hockey World Championship cancelled

Great Britain were due to take part at the elite level for the second consecutive season.

The 2020 World Championship has been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, the International Ice Hockey Federation has announced.

Great Britain were due to take part at the elite level for the second consecutive season after retaining their status with a 4-3 overtime victory against France last year.

The tournament was scheduled to be played in Zurich and Lausanne, Switzerland from May 8 to 24 and there was no opportunity to delay the tournament to another year as the host country for the event is fixed until 2025.

The tournament would have given Peter Russell's squad the chance to test themselves against NHL stars, who usually join their national teams after the end of their club's regular season in North America or if their team is eliminated early in the play-offs.

It follows the cancellation of the women's tournament that was due to take place in Halifax and Truro in Canada earlier this month. The IIHF announced that tournament would return to Nova Scotia next year.

IIHF president Rene Fasel said: "This is a harsh reality to face for the international ice hockey family, but one that we must accept.

"The coronavirus is a global problem and requires major efforts by government bodies to combat its spread.

"The IIHF must do all it can to support this fight. We have to set sport aside for now and support both the government bodies and the ice hockey family."

The general secretary for the 2020 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship Organising Committee Gian Gilli admitted disappointment.

"We accept this decision of the IIHF Council," said Gilli.

"But of course, this is a huge disappointment for the Organising Committee. It is an exceptional situation for all concerned and it is now a question of resolving all the outstanding issues."

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UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin pictured on December 4, 2019
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Olympic medal table header
CountryGold medalSilver MedalBronze MedalT
ChinaChina34241674
United StatesUnited States29352791
JapanJapan22101446
AustraliaAustralia1751941
Olympics flagRussian Olympic Committee16222058
Great BritainGreat Britain16181852
Today's Olympic highlights header

Thursday's key events


ATHLETICS
· The women's heptathlon continues with the long jump, javelin and 800m, with Katarina Johnson-Thompson now out of contention following an injury (1.10am-1.40pm)
· Andrew Pozzi pursues his dream of an Olympic medal in the men's 110m hurdles final (3.55am)
· Tom Bosworth and Callum Wilkinson are among the British hopes in the men's 20km race walk (8.30am)
· Holly Bradshaw aims to improve on fifth in Rio to challenge Greece's Katerina Stefanidi and Anzhelika Sidorova of Russia for an unlikely medal in the women's pole vault (11am)
· London 2012 champion Kirani James goes up against current world champion Steven Gardiner in the men's 400m final (1pm)

MARATHON SWIMMING
· One of the toughest Olympic events takes place in Tokyo Bay as GB's Hector Pardoe takes on the men's 20km marathon swim (10.30pm Wed)

BOXING
· Galal Yafai takes on takes on Kazakhstan's Saken Bibossinov for a spot in the gold medal bout of the fly (48kg-52kg) class (6.48am)

DIVING
· Lois Toulson and Andrea Spendolini-Sirieix (daughter of First Dates' Fred Sirieix) line up for the women's 10m platform (semi-final 2am; final 7am)

HOCKEY
· Australia face Belgium in the men's final (11am)

> Today's schedule in full
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