World Sports News in Brief

FIFA studying coronavirus impact on schedules, player contracts

Tuesday, 2020-03-17 09:23:54
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Soccer Football - Premier League - Coronavirus impact on the Premier League - Goodison Park, Liverpool, Britain - March 16, 2020 General view of Goodison Park as the Premier League is suspended due to the number of coronavirus cases growing around the world. (Photo: Action Images via Reuters)
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World soccer governing body FIFA said on Monday that it was looking into the potential impact postponed fixtures would have on player contracts after the coronavirus outbreak suspended leagues across Europe and the rest of the world.

The big five leagues in Europe – in England, Spain, Germany, Italy and France – have all been suspended, as have the Champions League and Europa League, adding to a potential fixture pile-up should the competitions resume later this year.

* La Liga side Valencia have said more than a third of their playing and backroom staff have tested positive for the coronavirus but that all cases were currently asymptomatic. Valencia travelled to Milan last month for a Champions League match against Atalanta, which was played in front of a packed San Siro stadium, before restrictions were placed on sports events in Italy - the worst-hit country in Europe.

* Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Tuesday that Group of Seven leaders had agreed to support a "complete" Olympic Games, although he sidestepped a question on whether they had discussed a delay in light of the coronavirus pandemic.

* New South Wales have been named Australia's Sheffield Shield champions for the first time in six years after the competition's final was called off due to the coronavirus, governing body Cricket Australia (CA) said on Tuesday. CA had already cancelled the last round of Australia's domestic first class season, leaving NSW top of the standings.

* Flamengo coach Jorge Jesus has tested positive for coronavirus and is under quarantine in Rio de Janeiro while doctors perform a second confirmatory test, he and his club said on Monday. Jesus, who last year led Flamengo to the Serie A league title and Copa Libertadores trophy, said he was under the care of the club's medical team.

* Romania's football federation said on Monday it will ask UEFA to postpone the Euro 2020 tournament over the coronavirus outbreak during an emergency video-conference call organised by European soccer's governing body on Tuesday. The Romanian capital Bucharest is one of the 12 host cities for the tournament which is scheduled for June 12 to July 12.

* England’s fifth-tier National League, the last nationwide competition still playing football in the country, said on Friday that it was suspending play. The National League, which also has a lower tier of Northern and Southern divisions, had played at the weekend despite the Premier League and the three divisions of the Football League having suspended their fixtures.

* The English Rugby Football League and the Super League have suspended all fixtures until April 3 due to the spread of coronavirus, they announced in a joint statement on Monday.

* Germany's Bundesliga and second division will pause at least until April 2 and possibly beyond due to the coronavirus, DFL CEO Christian Seifert said on Monday. Germany's top two divisions did not play this weekend after matches were suspended due to the outbreak of the virus and Seifert said any decision on the season would be taken in the week of March 30.

* Cricket South Africa on Monday suspended all forms of the game in the country for 60 days after the government banned gatherings larger than 100 people in response to the threat of the coronavirus outbreak.

* The Tokyo 2020 Olympics flame handover ceremony in Athens this week will be a scaled-down event with only a few Tokyo Games officials and torch bearers inside the stadium to protect everyone from the coronavirus, the Hellenic Olympic Committee said on Monday.

* The Women's Tennis Association has suspended play until May 2 as the coronavirus pandemic continued its unprecedented shutdown of world sport on Monday. WTA said tournaments in Stuttgart, Istanbul and Prague will "not be held as scheduled".

* A McLaren Formula One employee who tested positive for the coronavirus in Australia is showing no signs of symptoms while 14 other staff in quarantine in Melbourne are doing well, the team said on Monday. McLaren had already pulled out of the season-opening Australian Grand Prix as a result of the test before last weekend's scheduled race was cancelled.

* The newly-built Japoma Stadium in the Cameroon city of Douala will stage the final of this season’s African Champions League on May 29, the Confederation of African Football confirmed on Monday. It is the first year that the final will be played over a single leg and on neutral territory, as the venue beat two other bids to stage the match, the Mohammed V Stadium in Casablanca, Morocco and the Stade Olympique de Radès in Tunisia.

* No changes are planned to the Olympic golf qualifying system, the International Golf Federation which runs the event said after the sport shut down due to the coronavirus.

* FIFA is urging all football associations to publicise the World Health Organisation's preventive measures against the spread of the coronavirus, Gianni Infantino, president of world soccer's governing body, said in a letter to its members on Monday. Ahead of Tuesday's meeting of European soccer's governing body UEFA, which will see calls for this year's European Championship to be postponed, Infantino also called for unity in dealing with the impact of the pandemic on the game.

* Manchester United's January recruit Bruno Fernandes beat the likes of Marcos Alonso and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to be named the Premier League's player of the month for February after an exceptional first month with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side. Portuguese midfielder Fernandes joined United for an initial fee of EUR55 million (US$61.2 million) and he has thrived as a playmaker in the middle of the park, winning over the fans to also be named the club's player of the month.