With precious few sporting events taking place due to the coronavirus, we looked back through sporting history to identify key and major events to take place on this day.

March 18 has proven a busy day down the years, but we have highlighted five particularly memorable or notable occasions.

From the formation of a world-renowned football club, to the suspicious death of a former cricketer, below we have everything you need for a little education, or a trip down memory lane.

 

1900 – Ajax are formed

March 18 is a momentous day not only for Dutch football, but for the entire sport globally. On this day in 1900, Ajax were formed by Floris Stempel (their first chairman), Hen Dade (sports director) and Carel Reeser. Named after the mythological Greek war hero Ajax, most known for fighting against Troy in the Trojan War, the club has since gone on to dominate much of Dutch football history and influenced many of the most famous ideologies and philosophies in the world game.

1942 – Two black players try out for Chicago White Sox

Jackie Robinson is remembered as an iconic baseball player, in more ways than one. Regarded a great for his exploits with the Brooklyn Dodgers, he was also the first black player to break the colour barrier in Major League Baseball in 1947. However, he could have made the move from the 'Negro Leagues' five years earlier, as on March 18, 1942, Robinson and Nate Moreland – who was also black – had a trial with the Chicago White Sox. Manager Jimmy Dykes acknowledged their abilities, but he did not sign either, doubtful the White Sox would allow black players to join.

2000 – England win inaugural Six Nations

The Six Nations has had many forms through the years, initially starting off as a tournament between the British 'Home Nations' and then becoming the Five Nations. It was further expanded to its current guise in 2000 as Italy joined the fold. England won the inaugural Six Nations, thrashing the newcomers 57-12 in Rome – Jonny Wilkinson's kicking and Austin Healey's hat-trick of tries doing the damage.

2007 – Former cricketer and coach Bob Woolmer found dead

On March 18, 2007, one day after his Pakistan team were knocked out of the Cricket World Cup, coach Bob Woolmer was found dead in his hotel room. Initially he was thought to have had a heart attack, only for another pathologist's report to suggest he had been murdered. Further reports proposed health problems contributed to his passing, but a jury later returned an open verdict, unable to rule out the theory Woolmer was strangled. Other prominent former cricketers have since claimed Woolmer did not die of natural causes.

2012 – Panathinaikos v Olympiacos leads to chaos

Those familiar with Greek football – and specifically the rivalries involved – will not be unaware of the problems often seen when Olympiacos and Panathinaikos face each other. In March 2012, the disturbances were particularly serious, as Panathinaikos were losing 1-0 at home to their bitter rivals. The second half was initially delayed by 45 minutes due to fans throwing flares and Molotov cocktails at police, and the contest was eventually abandoned. Twenty police officers were hurt, 50 fans were arrested, three fire engines were required to tackle blazes, and Pana were docked five points on top of having to play four games behind closed doors.

Pedro Neto's deflected equaliser earned Wolves a 1-1 draw away to 10-man Olympiacos in the first leg of their last-16 Europa League tie.

After Ruben Semedo's first-half red card, Youssef El-Arabi put the hosts ahead in front at Georgios Karaiskakis Stadium, with Thursday's game being played behind closed doors due to the coronavirus outbreak, Olympiacos owner Evangelos Marinakis having tested positive.

In a pre-match interview with BT Sport, Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo said the decision to play the game was "absurd", and his side delivered a flat performance, though Neto's fortuitous strike earned a potentially decisive away goal.

UEFA is set to rule on whether the Europa League will be postponed amid the crisis, but the second leg is set for next week as it stands.

Giorgos Masouras clipped the crossbar with a poor early effort, but the offside flag was raised regardless, and Olympiacos were then reduced to 10 men in the 28th minute.

Wolves broke at pace down the left, and Semedo clumsily brought down Diogo Jota on the edge of the box, prompting referee Clement Turpin to show the red card.

Neto replaced Matt Doherty in an attacking half-time change for Wolves, but the 10 men took the lead in the 54th minute.

Guilherme jinked into the right side of the box and squared for El-Arabi to tap in his 19th goal of the season from close range.

Wolves levelled 13 minutes later, though, Neto's free-kick taking a huge deflection off Andreas Bouchalakis to beat Jose Sa, who earlier blocked a ferocious Raul Jimenez drive with his face.

Nuno sent on ex-Olympiacos star Daniel Podence in search of a late winner, but the tie remains finely poised.

Olympiacos have announced that their players and staff have all tested negative for coronavirus, a day after it was revealed the club's owner Evangelos Marinakis had COVID-19.

Marinakis, who also owns Championship club Nottingham Forest, confirmed on Instagram that he had been diagnosed with coronavirus after showing symptoms of the illness upon returning to Greece on Monday.

Following that news, Olympiacos' players, board and staff members were all tested for COVID-19 and the club have confirmed that no one else has the virus.

"Olympiacos FC informs that after the required medical exams to which all the members of the football staff, as well as board members and staff, were submitted, all the tests came out negative for the COVID-19 virus," the club said in a statement on Wednesday morning.

Olympiacos host Wolves in the first leg of their Europa League last-16 tie on Thursday and the game is set to go ahead behind closed doors despite the Premier League side's protestations.

Wolves asked for UEFA to postpone the fixture in light of Marinakis' positive test, stating that "the trip poses unnecessary risk to our players, staff, supporters and the families of all who travel", yet European football's governing body rejected the request.

Olympiacos had progressed to the last 16 by beating Arsenal on away goals thanks to a 2-1 success in London on February 27.

Marinakis was at that fixture and had "come into contact" with personnel from the Gunners, which has led to Arsenal's Premier League fixture against Manchester City, scheduled for Wednesday, being postponed as a precaution.

Arsenal's players are self-isolating at home while four staff members will also remain at home until the two weeks are complete - dating back to the last time they had contact 13 days ago.

Wolves asked for UEFA to postpone Thursday's Europa League last-16 match at Olympiacos, only for European football's governing body to reject their request.

The opening leg will take place behind closed doors in line with Greek government policy aimed at containing the spread of coronavirus.

Earlier on Tuesday, Olympiacos owner Evangelos Marinakis announced he had tested positive for COVID-19 in Greece, placing the fixture in doubt.

Wolves issued a statement to express disappointment over the decision to proceed with the match.

The statement read: "Our position is that the trip poses unnecessary risks to our players, staff, supporters and the families of all who travel, at such critical and uncertain times.

"Our concern is also for our opponents, whose players and staff have today been tested, and will now be expected to play their part in an important fixture, under the difficult and challenging circumstances of their owner suffering with the virus.

"There is also disappointment that the match will be played without home and away supporters, as that is part of what makes European competition so special, as well as the fact our fans have already contended with similar obstacles on our Europa League journey already this season.

"We believe that there are some things that are more important than football, and that the good health of our pack and the general public is one of them. However, we respect the decision of UEFA and the integrity of the competition, and we will travel tomorrow to Greece to play the fixture.

"We hope that our request to UEFA, and our acceptance of their decision, can act as the catalyst for them to consider alternative options moving forwards, as this will not be the last fixture to be affected by coronavirus."

Earlier this month, Wolves sought to take a pro-active measure against coronavirus by banning players from taking selfies with fans.

Wolves' Europa League last-16 first-leg tie at Olympiacos will be played behind closed doors, as will Sevilla's clash with Roma, UEFA has confirmed.

The two matches on Thursday are the latest to be impacted by the coronavirus crisis.

The Greek government enforced a temporary suspension of spectators attending sporting events on Sunday, with 73 confirmed cases of the virus in the country as of Monday.

UEFA subsequently affirmed the decision would affect Olympiacos in European competition, and Wolves will refund travelling fans who bought tickets.

Meanwhile, Roma's trip to Sevilla likewise will not allow supporters, following the example of Valencia v Atalanta – a Champions League encounter between Spanish and Italian teams.

The fixture will go ahead in Spain, where there are 999 cases and 16 deaths, although sporting events in Italy have been halted until April 3.

Italy is the European country most heavily affected by the virus, with 7,375 cases and 366 deaths.

A number of Serie A fixtures had been postponed even before Monday's decision to implement a four-week stoppage.

Arsenal head coach Mikel Arteta acknowledged it will be "very hard" for the Gunners to secure Champions League qualification via the Premier League after crashing out of the Europa League.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's stunning late miss in the final seconds saw Arsenal eliminated by Greek visitors Olympiacos, who sensationally prevailed 2-2 on away goals following Thursday's 2-1 extra-time victory.

Arsenal won the last-32 first-leg 1-0 but extra time was needed after Pape Abou Cisse's restored parity for Olympiacos across two legs at the Emirates Stadium.

Aubameyang looked to have settled the contest with seven minutes remaining in extra time but Youssef El-Arabi's silenced the London crowd before the former remarkably squandered a last-gasp opportunity.

Winning the Europa League would have gained Arsenal access to the Champions League, having not featured in Europe's premier club competition since 2016-17, but the Gunners now face an uphill battle as they sit ninth in the Premier League – seven points adrift of the top four.

"Very hard because looking at the table we're still far from the objectives that we all have, but we've been far all season from it and we have to keep fighting," Arteta, who replaced Unai Emery in December, told reporters post-match when asked about the difficulties of reaching the top four.

"The most important thing now is that the dressing room has to be strong and we have to keep going and react. First of all, I have to convince them about what happened in the game and why they are not through in the tie.

"If they continue to do that, there will be rewards like we have done in the last 10 games that we played."

Arteta added: "I just want to concentrate now on lifting those players and getting back the belief, and convince them that there is still a lot to play for, and move on.

"It's part of this sport that a big disappointment can happen and it happened. We have to learn and react as a team and as a club."

While it was a heartbreaking evening for Arsenal, it was a memorable outing for Pedro Martins and Olympiacos.

"It's a historic night for Olympiacos. We deserved this qualification, not only for these two games against Arsenal but also for our spirited performances in Europe throughout the season regardless of the results," Martins said.

"We were determined, we believed we could qualify and we made it. Tactical intelligence, effectiveness, inner strength, courage… they all weighed in this success."

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was left stunned after he missed a golden chance in the final seconds of Arsenal's dramatic Europa League defeat to Olympiacos.

Aubameyang, who had restored parity with a sublime overhead kick earlier in extra-time, sliced wide of a gaping goal moments after Youssef El-Arabi had prodded Olympiacos into a 2-1 lead in the 29th minute of extra-time at Emirates Stadium.

The miss ultimately proved the last action of the match, as Olympiacos – who had cancelled out Arsenal's 1-0 lead from the first leg early in the second half – progressed on away goals from a tie which finished 2-2 on aggregate.

And Aubameyang, who moved level with Jamie Vardy at the top of the Premier League scoring charts with a double against Everton on Sunday, offered no excuses for his error.

"I don't even know. I feel very, very bad," the striker told BT Sport as he attempted to explain the miss. "This can happen. I don't know how I missed this chance.

"I was tired and I had some cramps as well, but it is not an excuse. I have to score this goal, but it can happen."

Aubameyang added on Arsenal's exit from the competition: "What can I say? It's very, very hard, very tough. It was a tough game again.

"I think we missed putting some pace in the game – that cost us a little bit. Then the last minute goal was unlucky for us. That's it.

"We try to keep improving in the league and we'll try to win as many games as possible, and we'll see how many chances we have to qualify [for the Champions League]."

Arsenal coach Mikel Arteta conceded his side created their own issues in Thursday's encounter, but he is now focusing on the next step of rallying the Gunners.

"It hurts a lot. We had a lot of intentions in this competition. It was very important for us," he told BT Sport.

"Emotionally, it's been a very difficult game. We were in complete control. Again we conceded [from] a set-piece and it put the tie in a difficult position.

"It is a massive disappointment. But at the same time, I'm very proud of the players. I think the effort that they put in tonight has been incredible, how patient they are.

"It would have been an incredible lift if we had managed to win the game and go through the tie. We have to swallow that and we have to react as a team. They have my backing, completely, for the way they have played. But it's painful."

Arsenal crashed out of the Europa League as Youssef El-Arabi's late strike in extra-time secured a stunning 2-1 victory for Olympiacos, who progressed to the last 16 courtesy of the away goals rule.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who remarkably missed a golden chance in the final seconds after El Arabi's winner, had seemed to settle the contest in Arsenal's favour with seven minutes of extra-time remaining with a stunning acrobatic effort.

But Olympiacos, who cancelled out Arsenal's 1-0 lead from the first leg thanks to Pape Abou Cisse's header in the second half, chose to write their own script as El-Arabi bundled in Giorgos Masouras' cross at the Emirates Stadium.

Yet the drama was not finished there – Aubameyang somehow slicing wide of a gaping goal from point-blank range as Olympiacos held onto a famous triumph in a last-16 tie that finished 2-2 on aggregate.

Alexandre Lacazette has dismissed suggestions he could leave Arsenal if they do not qualify for next season's Champions League.

The 28-year-old has two years remaining on his current deal, but newspaper reports this week claim he has a clause in his contract allowing him to leave the Gunners if they fail to make it into European football's premier competition for the 2020-21 campaign.

Arsenal are ninth in the Premier League, seven points behind Chelsea in fourth, while they could qualify for the Champions League if they win this season's Europa League.

Lacazette, who could line up against Olympiacos in the Europa League last-32 second leg on Thursday after scoring the only goal of the first leg, has rubbished reports of the clause, insisting his future remains in north London.

"I didn't know about this [the clause]," he told a media conference. "I don't know. I have a contract with the club so there is no reason for me to leave if everybody is happy with me at the club."

Lacazette's strike partner Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is another Gunners player who has been linked with a move away from the club.

The former Borussia Dortmund frontman is 30 and has been linked with other clubs, including Inter and Barcelona, as he approaches the final year of his contract.

The Gunners see him as a big part of their future, though, with Lacazette also keen for him to remain at the Emirates Stadium.

"It's really important," he added. "He is one of the best or maybe the best this season for Arsenal. Obviously, I hope he's going to stay long for the club."

The Gabon international took his tally for the season to 19 goals in all competitions with a brace against Everton at the weekend, but Lacazette is keen for people to start recognising his wider contribution to the side.

"I think people should talk more about Auba and what he's doing in the game," he said.

"He's more than a goalscorer. He's working a lot for the team defensively, making space for the strikers. I just think if we start to win trophies, people will talk more about what he's doing for the team."

Alexandre Lacazette believes Arsenal prospect Bukayo Saka has a claim to being the Premier League's best young player after breaking into the Gunners' first-team.

Saka, 18, has been a revelation for Arsenal this term, playing 26 times across all competitions having enjoyed an eye-catching pre-season.

Predominantly a winger, Saka has been used at full-back recently and taken to the new role with impressive ease, remaining a useful outlet despite operating from slightly further back.

The England youth international has less than 18 months left on his Arsenal contract and Mikel Arteta has previously spoken of his desire to tie his most promising youngsters down to long-term deals.

And Lacazette spoke glowingly of the teenager – who became the youngest player to assist in consecutive Premier League appearances since Francis Jeffers in 1999 when he teed up Eddie Nketiah's equaliser in the 3-2 win over Everton on Sunday – ahead of Thursday's Europa League last-32 second leg against Olympiacos, with the Gunners 1-0 up from their first meeting in Piraeus.

"He's really good," Lacazette told reporters in a news conference. "I think he is maybe the best young player in the league.

"He needs to improve in a few things, but we can see the quality he has, and he's humble - this is the best thing, I think, for him.

"He is really humble, he wants to work and accepts criticism because he wants to improve."

When asked what makes Saka the league's best young player, Lacazette replied: "Why is Saka the best? It's simple, his quality. He has a good left foot and, because he's humble, it's there for him to improve."

Mikel Arteta is not getting carried away by Arsenal's upturn in form, despite a three-match winning run in all competitions that could soon see his previously struggling side competing for a Champions League place.

Arsenal had been enduring a dismal season and, even with improvement under Arteta, the new head coach had tasted victory only once in the Premier League heading into the clash with Newcastle United on February 16.

But the Gunners thrashed Newcastle 4-0, before winning 1-0 away at Olympiacos in the Europa League and edging Everton in a 3-2 league thriller.

Arteta's men are now just four points behind Manchester United in fifth, which could yet prove enough to qualify for the Champions League if Manchester City's European ban is upheld by the Court of Arbitration for Sport following their appeal on Wednesday.

The Arsenal head coach quickly dismissed the suggestion his focus could turn away from the Europa League solely towards domestic action, though.

"The team selection is based on training, the load of the players and what we want to do against the opponent," Arteta told a news conference of the possibility of resting players in the second leg against Olympiacos on Thursday.

"We have three different routes to get into Europe [including the FA Cup]. We have to try to maximise the three of them, and we go game by game.

"It's the only thing we can try to do at the moment. The objective is still so far behind [away].

"We need to win a lot of games. We need to put a really consistent run together. We have just won two games [in the league], which is not enough."

However, Arteta, who was awaiting further news of Sead Kolasinac's shoulder injury, has seen plenty of positives on and off the field since his December appointment.

"A lot of things have happened in two months in many different areas of the club," he said on Wednesday. "I think the team is progressing well. I think the club is looking in a better place.

"I think we are getting much more unity in the sections of the club and, as well, a great energy back from the fans each time we're playing at the Emirates and away from the Emirates.

"So, there are a lot of positive things but still a lot of things to do, things to improve, individually, collectively and as a club. We are in that process at the moment."

Mikel Arteta hailed Arsenal's heart and commitment, revealing three of his side played through the pain barrier in Thursday's 1-0 Europa League win away to Olympiacos.

Alexandre Lacazette's 81st-minute strike earned the Gunners the advantage in their last-32 tie ahead of next week's return at Emirates Stadium.

It was a gritty Arsenal performance, with defenders Shkodran Mustafi and Sokratis Papastathopoulos both needing late treatment at Georgios Karaiskakis Stadium.

Arsenal are now unbeaten in their past nine games in all competitions, with Arteta happy impressed by his team's mentality in Greece.

"We go day by day and game by game because in this process there are a lot of things that I want to improve, a lot of things I see that doesn't allow us to dominate a game more and better to create more situations," Arteta told BT Sport.

"At the same time, they're playing with a massive heart and the attitude and commitment - the way they were tracking back, we have three players with cramps and injuries and they still carried on, so credit to them."

Arsenal have a foot in the last 16 after impressive young winger Bukayo Saka recorded his fifth assist in this season's Europa League – more than any other player – to set up Lacazette late on, despite the 18-year-old playing out of position at left-back again.

While Arteta was satisfied with Arsenal's second away victory since he succeeded Unai Emery, the Spaniard felt the margin of their win could have been more comprehensive.

"It's a really good result, to win away in Europe is very difficult. To come to a ground like this, credit to the lads," Arteta said.

"We suffered in the first 10 minutes, we gave a lot of simple balls away when we had the chance to open them up and generate the overloads, in these situations we gave the ball away.

"So, we could not generate any continuity in our play. After that, we started to have more control in the game and create the situations that we wanted and created some good opportunities.

"In the second half, apart from the set pieces, we controlled the game much better defensively. We controlled the game in the opponents' half much better, and we have chances to score more.

"I think we could have put the tie in a much better position, it's still good but we had clear chances with top players and we expect to put the ball in the net."

Arsenal goalkeeper Bernd Leno applauded Bukayo Saka for his decisive assist in Thursday's 1-0 Europa League win at Olympiacos, lauding the "outstanding" 18-year-old as Mikel Arteta commended his "courage".

Saka is enjoying a breakout season with the Gunners, making his 25th appearance of the campaign as Arsenal took charge of their Europa League last-32 tie.

The teenager, who has been playing out of position at left-back recently, laid on the crucial pass from which Alexandre Lacazette netted the winning goal in Piraeus.

That was his ninth assist of the season across all competitions and his fifth in the Europa League, the most of anyone in the competition.

Saka's performances recently have attracted a lot of praise, and Leno was similarly impressed with him on Thursday.

"Bukayo is an outstanding player and hopefully he stays very long at Arsenal," Leno told BT Sport.

"He's very important and I think today his cross was very good for Laca [Lacazette] to score. We are happy we now have the advantage, the away goal, and at home we want to beat them again and go to the next round."

What makes Saka's rapid progression even more impressive is the fact he has been asked to take up a more defensive position than before, and Arteta believes he has reacted promisingly to the alteration.

"We try to put him in a position where we can surround him with the right players and in the right areas, as he's not a full-back," Arteta added to BT Sport.

"He's responding well and he has a lot of courage to make decisions in the final third, the most opportunities we created was on his side again and I'm very pleased with his performances."

Backup goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez featured between the posts for Arsenal during the Europa League group stage, but Leno was chosen on Thursday in a move that suggests the German will be first-choice in both Europe and the Premier League.

Leno is grateful for Arteta's faith.

"I want to play all the games," he said. "I, and we, take this competition seriously because it's another chance for a trophy and to qualify for the Champions League.

"So, I want to play all these games and I'm happy the manager made the decision I play the Premier League games and Europa League games as well."

Alexandre Lacazette scored a late winner to secure Arsenal a 1-0 win at Olympiacos and hand the Gunners a significant advantage in their Europa League last-32 tie.

Mikel Arteta's men looked to be heading for an underwhelming goalless draw in Piraeus, but Lacazette struck nine minutes from time to get Arsenal a potentially vital away goal ahead of the return leg in London.

The Gunners had little difficulty taking control and should have netted early on when Lacazette was guilty of a dreadful miss, and the visitors failed to craft a better opportunity until late on.

Olympiacos generally appeared happy to hold on for a stalemate, but that approach backfired when Lacazette turned in Bukayo Saka's pass, putting Arsenal in complete control of the tie.

After surviving an early scare when Bernd Leno denied Mathieu Valbuena, Lacazette missed a glorious chance for the Gunners, somehow shooting wide from about eight yards having been teed up by Gabriel Martinelli.

Leno had to be alert again a few moments later, making a reaction save after Giorgos Masouras' cross was deflected goalwards by David Luiz.

A second opportunity came Lacazette's way just before the break, but Ousseynou Ba crucially got a touch to divert his fierce volley over the crossbar.

The contest became a cagier affair after the break, with Arsenal controlling possession but doing little to hurt an Olympiacos side seemingly content to absorb pressure.

But Arsenal finally produced some spark in attack through Saka in the 81st minute, the 18-year-old talent driving at the defence and feeding Lacazette, who tapped in from close range.

Sokratis Papastathopoulos almost doubled Arsenal's advantage when his late header came back off the crossbar.

Mesut Ozil was a notable absentee as Arsenal headed to Greece on Wednesday ahead of their Europa League clash with Olympiacos.

The German playmaker stayed at home "due to personal reasons", Arsenal said.

Arsenal did not provide further information, but reports said Ozil's wife, Amine Gulse, was close to giving birth.

Head coach Mikel Arteta will have limited options in the centre of the park for the first leg of the last-16 tie.

For Arteta, the fixture is his first European game in charge of the team since succeeding previous first-team boss Unai Emery.

Ozil's fellow midfielder Lucas Torreira also did not travel, with the Uruguayan unwell but being assessed with a view to him taking a later flight to Athens should his health show a "significant improvement".

The unavailability of Ozil means the World Cup winner has missed all four of Arsenal's Europa League away games this season.

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