Organizers of the Chinese Super League season have postponed the kick-off of the 2020 season following the outbreak of the deadly coronavirus, AOIFootball.com reports.
The effect is that the likes of former Super Eagles striker, Odion Ighalo will have to wait a while until the spread of the virus is put to end.
The new disease has killed at least 170 people since initially being discovered in December 2019, with a cure yet to be found.
The new CSL season was scheduled to start on 22 February, but the league have now confirmed (via The Sun) that proceedings will be indefinitely postponed until a solution can be found.
“[The decision was made to help the] prevention and control of the pneumonia epidemic of the new coronavirus infection, and to protect the health of the majority of fans, media, players, coaches, game officials, clubs and district staff,” a statement read.
“The Chinese Football Association will continue to maintain close communication with national authorities, determine the timing of each season’s events in combination with the actual development of the epidemic situation and make reasonable adjustments to the system, schedule, and scale of some events when necessary.
“On behalf of the majority of football workers across the country, the Chinese Football Association pays deep tribute to all medical workers and staff who are currently struggling in the frontline of epidemic prevention and control!”
There is currently no suggested start date for the league, with the CFA set to confirm their decision in due course.
Football is not the only sport to have been hit by the disease. The men’s alpine skiing World Cup races, which were set to be held in February, have been cancelled, while the 2020 World Athletics Indoor Championships have been pushed back 12 months to March 2021.
Formula 1 are also monitoring the situation ahead of the Grand Prix in Shanghai, which is set to be held between 17-19 April.
The CSL features a number of high-profile stars, including the likes of Yannick Carrasco, Oscar and Paulinho, but those players will have to wait a while longer before they return to club action.