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As expected, the 2020 European Athletic Championships scheduled for Paris in late August have been cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic. (stock photo)

As expected, the 2020 European Athletic Championships scheduled for Paris in late August have been cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic. (stock photo)

As expected, the 2020 European Athletic Championships scheduled for Paris in late August have been cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic. (stock photo)

As expected, the 2020 European Athletic Championships scheduled for Paris in late August have been cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Scheduled for August 26-30, the French Athletics Federation and the Local Organising Committee had been looking at ways to stage the event later in the year. But they announced last night that the event had now been scrapped entirely. The next European Athletic Championships is scheduled for Munich in 2022.

In the wake of the decision to postpone the Tokyo Olympics for a year which in turn led to World Athletics suspending the qualification period for the Games until next December, the relevance of the championships which were due to take place at Charléty Stadium had been called into question.

Furthermore, the French government has indicated that sport would not be a priority when the country begins to reopen its economy once shutdown restrictions are eased. The decision is a blow to the smaller nations such as Ireland whose athletes have a more realistic chance of reaching finals and securing medals at European Championship level than at the World Championships or the Olympic Games.

At the last European championship in Berlin in 2018 Thomas Barr won a bronze medal in the 400m hurdles.

European Athletics' interim president Dobromir Karamarinov said they had hoped in these troubled times to offer European athletes a major event to aim for at the end of the summer. He said: "Unfortunately, we were informed by the Local Organising Committee and French athletics federation that, after discussions with the relevant French national and local public health and safety authorities, they were no longer able to proceed with delivering the championships this August and were forced to cancel the event."