Dubai World Cup meeting canceled due to coronavirus

DUBAI (Reuters) - The Dubai World Cup, one of the world’s richest horse races and a premier annual sporting event in the United Arab Emirates, will not go ahead this year amid the worsening coronavirus epidemic.

The 25th edition of the multi-race meet, scheduled for March 28, has been postponed to next year to safeguard the health of participants, Dubai’s government media office tweeted on Sunday.

Doubts over whether the race would go ahead were raised on Thursday when the country’s federal sports authority suspended all sporting tournaments and competitions.

However, a race went ahead at Dubai’s Jebel Ali racecourse on Friday, local media reported.

Dubai’s government media offices did not reply to a request for comment as to why the race took place.

The Dubai World Cup was to go ahead without paid spectators and associated events, including race-day entertainment, organizers said earlier this month.

The Gulf Arab state has temporarily banned all foreigners, except diplomats, from entering the country as it tries to contain the spread of the virus that has been linked to two deaths in the country. There have been 153 confirmed infections.

Reporting by Alaa Swilam, writing by Alexander Cornwell, Editing by Catherine Evans and Toby Davis