Coronavirus has prompted the postponement of the IBSA Blind Football World Grand Prix ©Getty Images

The 2020 International Blind Sports Federation (IBSA) Blind Football World Grand Prix in Tokyo has been cancelled because of the coronavirus outbreak. 

Local organisers and IBSA made the decision after receiving advice from the Japanese Government.

The event had been due to take place from March 16 to 21.

Hosts Japan would have been one of eight teams taking part, along with Paralympic and world champions Brazil, Argentina, France, Germany, Spain, China and Thailand.

Ulrich Pfisterer, chairman of the IBSA Blind Football Committee, said: “We are hugely disappointed that the World Grand Prix has had to be cancelled. 

"The competition has helped to set the stage for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics since 2018 and we expected this year’s edition to be particularly special.

“I would like to thank the Japanese Blind Football Association for their efforts in trying to ensure the event went ahead, which included scaling it back and holding it behind closed doors.

“We do however completely back the Local Organising Committee in their decision to be guided by national authorities when staging international sport events at the current time.”

Argentina were one of the teams due to take part in the tournament in Tokyo ©Getty Images
Argentina were one of the teams due to take part in the tournament in Tokyo ©Getty Images

There are now 274 confirmed coronavirus cases in Japan and the country has taken a number of measures to try and curb the spread of the virus.

These include Prime Minister Shinzō Abe calling for all schools to stay shut until late March and the prefecture of Hokkaido declaring a state of emergency. 

There are almost 90,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19, as the virus has been called by the World Heath Organization, across the world and there have been in excess of 3,000 deaths.

Dozens of sporting events have had to be postponed or cancelled, with China, South Korea and Italy suffering in particular.

Tokyo is set to host the Olympic Games this summer, beginning on July 24, with the Paralympics schedule to start on August 25.

At present, organisers insist they will go ahead as planned.