THE impact the coronavirus pandemic is having, hit home this week as grassroots sports suddenly became its latest victim.

Last weekend seemed almost like any other on the Isle of Wight, with rugby, football and other sports gatherings taking place — welcoming teams and individuals from the south and more widespread areas of the country.

Isle of Wight County Press: Team sports will be hardest hit by the sports bans amid coronavirus.Team sports will be hardest hit by the sports bans amid coronavirus.

But as Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, began to outline more stringent and far-reaching measures on how the nation should combat coronavirus — amid the take-off of reported cases and deaths — so the position of local sports governing bodies suddenly shifted.

Never, in peacetime, has the Island’s sports scene faced such a crisis as we brace ourselves — entering the unknown as to how long Covid-19 will last, what effect it will have on the Isle of Wight population and on leagues, the livelihood of clubs and professional sportsmen and women who hail from the Island.

All football and rugby on the Isle of Wight was suspended, with immediate effect, following emergency meetings on Monday evening.

Isle of Wight County Press: Running clubs are among those affected by sporting bans amid the Covid-19 spread.Running clubs are among those affected by sporting bans amid the Covid-19 spread.

The Isle of Wight Divisional Football Association (IWDFA), in consultation with the Hampshire FA, pulled the plug on all Saturday adult league and cup and Sunday youth soccer for the foreseeable future.

The Sydenhams Wessex League — which includes Premier club, Cowes Sports, and Division 1 clubs Newport and East Cowes Vics — did likewise.

IWDFA secretary, Andrew Justice, said: “While we are disappointed by the decision, we could not justify continuing to play in view of what Boris Johnson said.

“Information as to when we can resume football and consider the way forward for both the league and cup competitions, will be shared as soon as we are in a position to be able to do so.”

The FA had hours earlier issued a directive to halt all grassroots football across the land, stressing the importance of people avoiding social contact and gatherings where possible.

“We are now advising that all grassroots football in England is postponed for the foreseeable future,” the FA said.

All Hampshire league and cup rugby has followed suit, which affects Sandown and Shanklin, Isle of Wight and Ventnor and all youth rugby, particularly Vectis, affected.

The Rugby Football Union (RFU) suspended all activity in England, at both professional and community level, from Wednesday this week until April 14, subject to continued review.

“The decision was taken following government advice, in the interests of players, coaches, referees, volunteers, supporters and the wider rugby union community,” the RFU said.

Isle of Wight County Press: Young people will not be playing organised sporting events for the near future.Young people will not be playing organised sporting events for the near future.

Other Island sports have been hit hard by coronavirus.

The much-vaunted return of American football with the Wight Rhinos was stopped before it could run its open day tomorrow (Saturday), following a directive from the British American Football Association.

In running, the Ryde Harriers have called off their Easter races.

Following a directive from the England Amateur Boxing Association, clubs like Newport Phoenix have shut their gyms and cancelled all meetings until it is safe to reopen.

The Isle of Wight Indoor Bowls Club effectively cut short its season by shutting its doors immediately after playing matches on Tuesday, with many competitions at critical stages left in limbo.

In motorsport, the Isle of Wight Warriors speedway season will not start as planned on April 9, and trials biking’s governing body, the Auto-Cycle Union, suspended all competition until the end of April at the earliest, which has already scuppered trials events organised by the Isle of Wight Motor Cycle Club.

Even the Isle of Wight Sports Achievement Awards, which was due to be held on April 4, has been shelved until September 17.

Many other sports are following suit.