The British American Football Association has also suspended all football for the time being.
More than 1,500 people have tested positive for the virus in the UK – but the actual number of cases is estimated to be between 35,000 and 50,000 with the death toll now at 55.
BAFA statement from Chief Executive Pete Ackerley on COVID-19 (13 March)
“The current situation we are facing with coronavirus (COVID-19) is both difficult and completely unprecedented. And my first priority is absolutely the safety and wellbeing of BAFA members and their friends and families.
The status with COVID-19 feels like it is changing not just daily, but hourly, and I am working around the clock with my management team to consider all possible outcomes and solutions. We are doing our utmost to make decisions pragmatically and with the best interests of our whole community at heart.
Suspension of British American football activity
From midnight today, Friday 13 March 2020, we request that BAFA clubs suspend all American football-related activity. This includes practices, training camps and friendly matches across all formats. It also includes BUCS American football.
The Sapphire finals event, due to take place tomorrow, is included in this suspension and will therefore not go ahead. The suspension also means that the start of the season will be postponed.
This is not a decision that has been made lightly, and I know it will cause disappointment and inconvenience for many of you. We all want our great game to continue, and not being able to practice and play is incredibly frustrating for everyone. Yet I believe in this current moment, with the situation facing not just Great Britain but the entire world, it is the right decision despite it being a difficult one to make. The decision has been made with health and safety prioritised above sport.
Understandably there will be implications for clubs and players with this suspension, and I appreciate that cancelling venues and changing plans is far from ideal. I hope you can understand that we are simply in a period that no one could have foreseen, and we will all therefore have to make difficult decisions and sacrifices.
This suspension will be kept under daily review as the situation with COVID-19 evolves, and the advice from the Government is updated. I hope it goes without saying that I am desperate to get our sport back up and running as soon as it is safe and sensible to do so. We will of course lift the suspension on training with enough time to allow teams and players to prepare for competitive fixtures. “
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said everyone in the UK should avoid “non-essential” travel and contact with others to curb coronavirus. He said that people should work from home where possible as part of a range of stringent new measures.