By Sam Bridge
Emirates Racing Authority says spectators not allowed at Jebel Ali, Meydan and Abu Dhabi meets in coming days; no decision yet on Dubai World Cup later this month
The Emirates Racing Authority has announced that spectators will be banned from race meeting to be held in the UAE over the next few days to help combat the spread of the new coronavirus.
In a statement, the authority said the decision had been taken to hold races at the Jebel Ali Racecourse on Friday, the Meydan Racecourse on Saturday, and the Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club on Sunday without any spectators in attendance.
All races will be contested and regulated in a standard fashion and the results will be recorded officially, a statement carried by state news agency WAM read.
Racing connections, sponsors and media personnel will be allowed to attend the races, it added.
The authority made no mention of the prestigious Dubai World Cup meeting which will celebrate its 25th anniversary on March 28.
The meeting, one of the richest in the world, boasts six Group 1 races and three Group 2s, including the $12 million Dubai World Cup sponsored by Emirates Airline.
It is one of the highlights in Dubai's sporting calendar.
The decision comes a day after the UAE Pro League, the nation's professional football league, announced that it will play behind closed doors as concerns grow about the spread of the new coronavirus.
The league said that it has suspended all spectator attendance to its competitions.
It added that it is "coordinating with the relevant authorities in the country regarding the current health situation".