World Sports News in Brief

No training until May 25, English Football League tells clubs

Clubs in the second to fourth tiers of English soccer should not return to training before May 25 amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the English Football League (EFL) said on Wednesday (May 13).

Coronavirus impact on the Premier League - Carrow Road, Norwich, Britain - March 14, 2020 General view of Carrow Road as the Premier League is suspended due to the number of coronavirus cases around the world. (Photo: Action Images via Reuters)
Coronavirus impact on the Premier League - Carrow Road, Norwich, Britain - March 14, 2020 General view of Carrow Road as the Premier League is suspended due to the number of coronavirus cases around the world. (Photo: Action Images via Reuters)

The body, which governs the Championship, League One and League Two, met on Wednesday to address financial and operational matters resulting from COVID-19, adding that “the consequences of the pandemic will not be rectified simply by a return to play behind closed doors.”

* Six-times Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton is the richest sportsperson in the United Kingdom with a net worth of 224 million pounds, according to The Sunday Times newspaper's Rich List. Hamilton, who signed a new contract with Mercedes in 2018 worth up to 40 million pounds a year, saw his net worth rise by 37 million pounds over the last year.

* Knife-carrying burglars broke into Tottenham midfielder Dele Alli's home in London early on Wednesday, the England playmaker escaping serious injury after being hit in a scuffle with the robbers.

* Austria’s Bundesliga, the country’s professional soccer league, will resume on June 2 and hold matches every three days to clear the backlog built up during the coronavirus shutdown, the league’s Chief Executive Christian Ebenbauer said on Wednesday. The government on Tuesday gave the green light for the league to resume without spectators and after a meeting of clubs on Wednesday Ebenbauer said it would restart four days after the Austrian Cup final on May 29.

* The IndyCar season-opener on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida which was postponed due to the novel coronavirus outbreak will now be the series finale, CEO Mark Miles said on Wednesday. Traditionally the first event on the IndyCar calendar, the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg had originally been set to run on March 15 until the COVID-19 pandemic shuttered North American sport. The outbreak forced an overhaul of the IndyCar schedule which will now start on June 6 at Texas Motor Speedway and end on Oct. 25 in St. Petersburg.

* Seven times world champion Michael Schumacher has been named the most influential person in Formula One history after a vote by fans on the sport's official website. The result was revealed on Wednesday, the 70th anniversary of the first world championship grand prix at Silverstone in 1950. Ferrari great Schumacher, who has not been seen in public since he suffered serious head injuries in a ski accident in 2013, beat former commercial supremo Bernie Ecclestone with 61% of the vote in a head-to-head final.

* The English Football Association's appeal against world soccer body FIFA in relation to a 2019 Chelsea transfer ban and fine will be heard by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) on June 26. The FA was fined 510,000 Swiss Francs (428,695 pounds), later reduced to 350,000, last year for a breach of the rules involving the international transfer and first registration of minors. Premier League Chelsea were handed a two-window ban at the time but the CAS halved that on appeal in December and also reduced their fine.

* The World Triathlon Series (WTS) and Mixed Relay World Championships in Hamburg, which were postponed last month due to the COVID-19 pandemic, have been rescheduled for September, event organisers said in a statement on Wednesday. The two events were due to take place on July 11 and 12 but were postponed due to Germany's lockdown restrictions to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus. They will now take place on the weekend of Sept. 5-6.

* Spaniard Carlos Sainz is on pole position to be Charles Leclerc's team mate at Ferrari next year, with Australian Daniel Ricciardo set to replace him at McLaren according to Formula One sources. One source told Reuters there could be an announcement by the end of the week, with reports in Spain and Italy saying talks between McLaren's Sainz and Ferrari were at an advanced stage.

* Elite athletes should adhere to government guidelines on social distancing unless an exception has been made when they restart training, Britain said in guidance for how sports can resume after the coronavirus lockdown. The guidance said that sports should outline how there will be regular screening for COVID-19 symptoms before athletes enter their training environments.

* Multiple Olympic champion Mo Farah says the postponement of the Tokyo Games to 2021 could work to his advantage as the Briton will now have around 20 months to train for the defence of his 10,000m title having switched his focus back to the track. The 37-year-old retired from track athletics in 2017 to focus on road marathons but announced in November last year that he was returning for one more tilt at 10,000m gold.

* German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said on Wednesday that he wants the country's top two football leagues to restart after the lockdown, but team members have to follow the same rules as the rest of the population. Germany's Bundesliga this weekend becomes the first "big league" to restart after the COVID-19 lockdown. Seehofer said he supported the resumption of the third league, but with a time delay.

* Six players at Serbian second division side Novi Pazar have contracted the novel coronavirus and have been quarantined, the club's general secretary Fikret Medjedovic said on Wednesday. Serbia's first and second division are due to resume on May 30 in a shortened format with four more rounds of matches to be played in each tier.

* Belgian football is anticipating a stormy end to the season on Friday when key decisions about the campaign are finally decided in the boardroom. While play for the rest of the season has been cancelled in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, decisions must still be made over whether to declare a champion, promotion and relegation as well as places in next season’s European club competitions. Belgium was the first country in Europe to end the campaign but that decision made by the Pro League board - which at the time saw runaway leaders Club Brugge hailed as champions - has yet to be ratified by the clubs, some six weeks on.

* World number one Ko Jin-young will take on No. 3 Park Sung-hyun in a skins match on May 24 with the two Korean golfers set to donate their winnings to charity, Yonhap news reported on Wednesday. The match at the Sky 72 Golf & Resort in Incheon will have 100 million won (US$81,582) up for grabs, though the event will be held without fans due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

* A 28-year-old sumo wrestler infected with the novel coronavirus has died, becoming the first sumo wrestler to die from the deadly virus, public broadcaster NHK reported on Wednesday, citing the Japan Sumo Association. The wrestler, who was hospitalised last month, died on Wednesday in a Tokyo hospital due to multiple organ failure related to the coronavirus, NHK said.