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Major Sporting Events Feeling Impact Of Terror Attacks - 2001-09-14


Major sporting events worldwide are feeling the impact of Tuesday's terrorist attacks in the United States. The U.S. National Football League has called off the second week of its season, and Major League Baseball in the U.S. has extended its hiatus from the sport through Sunday. The PGA Tour has also called off its events for the week. However, some sports are beginning to try to return to normal.

The National Football League decided to postpone all 15 of its scheduled games this week, in the wake of Tuesday's terrorist attacks against the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue made the decision Thursday, after a conference call with team owners. Travel and logistical problems, as well as security concerns factored in the decision.

The NFL Players Union has said it would not be appropriate to play this week, after the terrorist strikes in New York and Washington Tuesday. Two of the teams scheduled to play this week were the New York Giants at home and the Washington Redskins, taking on Arizona, in Washington.

Meanwhile, Major League Baseball has postponed all of its games through Sunday. Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig explains his decision. "Major League Baseball will resume its schedule with a full slate of games on Monday, September 17, 2001," he said. "While I recognize the suffering from Tuesday's horrific tragedy continues, I believe that in a spirit of national recovery and a return to normalcy, major league baseball, as a social institution, can best be helpful by resuming play at the most appropriate time. I believe that time is Monday."

When play resumes on Monday, all players will wear American flags on the back of their uniforms for the rest of the season. Games will begin with a moment of silence for the terror victims, followed by the song "God Bless America." The decision means a total of 91 games will be postponed, the most since the final month of the 1918 season was cancelled by World War One. The games will be made up the week of October first.

The extended season means the World Series could be played in November for the first time. It also means that retiring stars Cal Ripken of the Baltimore Orioles and Fred Gwynn of the San Diego Padres might finish their careers in front of home fans, rather than on the road.

Several U.S. college football games have also been cancelled or rescheduled. One conference that will play games as scheduled is the Southeastern Conference, where the Florida Gators play Tennessee. SEC Commissioner Roy Kramer says that the decision to play was made in keeping with President Bush's statement that life should return to normal.

"We did not take this action without very deep and considered discussions, not only between our institutions, but also with the government as well, as far as what their position was," he said. "And I think that, based on all of that, our presidents and our athletic directors moved forward with this decision."

The Professional Golfers Association Tour cancelled its events this week, and the ladies' tour will not play the Safeway Classic in Orgeon. There is still some question as to whether the Ryder Cup competition will go ahead as scheduled in England later this month. U.S. team Captain Curtis Strange says the U.S. players will have to consult the government because they would have to fly.

"First of all, we have to talk to the State Department, if they allow international travel," he said. "And then we have to talk to the players themselves, as if they actually do want to travel and if it is a safe atmosphere to travel in or not."

The European Football Union has rescheduled this week's Champions' League and UEFA Cup matches for October. The Champions' Cup matches will be played October 10th, while 43 UEFA Cup matches will take place October 20.

The Stanley Cup champion Colorado Avalanche, of the National Hockey League, cancelled Saturday's scheduled exhibition match in Sweden, after the NHL called off all exhibition games, following the terrorist attacks in the United States.

The Avalanche was scheduled to play the Swedish champion club Djurgarden at the sold-out Globe Arena in Stockholm. The National Basketball Association has cancelled exhibition games in China and Taiwan.

The Championship Auto Racing Team's Indy-car circuit has announced it will go ahead with Saturday's German 500, but the governing body of U.S. stock car racing, NASCAR, has reversed its previous decision and canceled this week's New Hampshire 300 race. The Italian Grand Prix Formula One race will also go ahead as scheduled in Monza, and the Tour of Spain cycling race continues.

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