LONDON, April 16 (Xinhua) — This year’s Diamond League will begin in Gateshead, England, instead of Morocco’s capital city Rabat due to Covid-19 restrictions, announced the organizers on Friday.

The series opener will be held in Gateshead on May 23. It was originally scheduled to be staged in Rabat, but has been cancelled due to ongoing Covid-19 restrictions.

The organizers also confirmed that this year’s fixture in Rome will be relocated to Florence, as Rome’s Olympic Stadium has been selected to host Euro 2020 football matches this summer. The date of this year’s meeting will also be changed from June 4 to June 10.

Meanwhile, the fixture in Norway’s Oslo will be postponed from June 10 to July 1 to comply with local coronavirus restrictions.

Sebastian Coe, president of World Athletics Federation and chair of Diamond League, said: “Competition and training are two very different things so the Wanda Diamond League and our other one-day meetings around the world will give athletes the opportunity to qualify for events, earn World Ranking points and prize money and benchmark their performances against the competition they will face in Tokyo and then Oregon in 2022.”

“We are all working hard, in extraordinarily difficult and fast changing circumstances, to deliver events for the athletes rather than cancelling them,” added the former Olympic champion.

This year’s Diamond League has confirmed meetings in 12 cities prior to the final in Zurich in September.