World Sports News in Brief

Arteta feared infecting Arsenal team during coronavirus scare

Friday, 2020-03-27 09:20:11
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Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta. (Photo: Action Images via Reuters)
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Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta feared who he might have infected when he tested positive for coronavirus, but said on Thursday he has completed his recovery and is ready to return to work with the Premier League side.

Arsenal announced Arteta’s positive test a fortnight ago on March 12, which ultimately led to the halt in the season as his side prepared to face Manchester City. Arteta said he coped with the symptoms and revealed his wife and children’s nanny had also contracted the virus.

* Australia's soccer federation has laid off 70% of its staff as it battles to remain solvent during a national shutdown to contain the coronavirus.

* Barcelona are taking measures to cut the wages of their players and staff to reduce the economic effects of the coronavirus crisis, the La Liga club said on Thursday. All professional players at Barcelona, including six-times world player of the year Lionel Messi, as well as non-playing staff, will face a compulsory wage reduction during the period of lockdown, the club's directors decided at a board meeting held via video conference.

* Ticket sales for the 2021 Rugby League World Cup in England have been delayed to September as organisers said they will make more than 20,000 available free to healthcare workers on the frontline of the fight against the coronavirus outbreak. With the sports calendar set to be jam packed next year as events are moved from 2020 due to the pandemic, organisers will give themselves until September to release the match schedule for the tournament, which had been due to be released next month.

* All English soccer below the three divisions of the fifth tier National League will end immediately due to the coronavirus pandemic with all results from the season expunged, the FA said on Thursday. The top three National League divisions, the Women's Super League and women's championship remain in talks about how best to conclude their seasons.

* Michel Hidalgo, who coached current world champions France to their first major soccer title at the 1984 European Championship, has died at the age of 87. The French Football Federation confirmed the news on its website on Thursday.

* World Cup winners Kaka and Fabio Cannavaro will be among the former players to take control of FIFA's Twitter account over the next few weeks as the global soccer body seeks to reach out to fans stuck at home because of the coronavirus pandemic. Like most of the global sporting calendar, soccer has ground to a halt as countries battle to contain the virus and FIFA said in a statement that it would launch a series of live chats with former players at 1800 GMT on Thursday.

* Rafael Nadal has issued a rallying cry and called on Spanish athletes to help raise 11 million euros (9.96 million pounds) to help fight the coronavirus pandemic. Nadal said he spoke with NBA's Pau Gasol about what they could do to help and came up with the initiative to support the Red Cross in procuring protective equipment and infrastructure to assist vulnerable families in Spain affected by the virus.

* Brazilian Pietro Fittipaldi and Swiss racer Louis Deletraz have been appointed official test and reserve drivers for the Haas Formula One team. Both have tested and carried out simulator work for the US-owned team in the past. With the Formula One season yet to start due to the coronavirus pandemic, the pair are also expected to represent Haas in the next edition of the esports virtual grand prix series.

* It is too soon to decide whether the Tour de France can go ahead amid the coronavirus pandemic, but if it does it may be without roadside spectators in order to minimise infection risk, the French sports minister said. Following the postponement of the Euro 2020 soccer Championship and the Tokyo Olympic Games, the Tour de France - which takes place in June and July - is one of the last major global sporting events that has not yet been cancelled or postponed.

* Leeds United's players, coaching staff and senior management have voluntarily deferred their wages to ensure the club's 272 members of full-time and casual staff are paid in the coming months, the English second-tier club said on Thursday.

* McLaren now have all their employees home from Australia after a period in quarantine following a positive test at the cancelled season-opener in Melbourne, the British-based Formula One team said on Thursday. Sixteen members of the team spent two weeks in quarantine, 14 due to close contact with a colleague who had tested positive while an additional employee also developed symptoms but subsequently tested negative.

* Veteran Indian tennis player Leander Paes is contemplating extending his career by another year to bid for an eighth Olympic appearance following the postponement of the Tokyo Games to 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic. Paes, who will turn 47 in June, announced late last year that 2020 would be his "farewell year" as a professional before he hangs up his racket.

* Italian soccer boss Gabriele Gravina is refusing to write off the Serie A season due to the coronavirus outbreak, saying the league could extend into July and August if necessary. There are 12 match days still to play, plus several outstanding matches, and Gravina estimated the league could be completed in 45 to 60 days.

* The Spanish motorcycle Grand Prix in Jerez was postponed due to the coronavirus on Thursday, pushing the start of the MotoGP season back until at least mid-May with further delays looking likely. The race at the southern Spanish circuit was scheduled for May 3, followed by rounds in France and Italy on May 17 and 31. It is the fifth round to be called off.

* The International Cricket Council said on Thursday that all qualifying events for the 2021 Twenty20 World Cup and 50-overs version in 2023 that were scheduled to be held before June 30 have been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

* Footballers in Brazil were told to take a three-week paid holiday due to the coronavirus pandemic on Thursday, with professional clubs asking them to return on April 20. All four divisions in Brazil’s national championships are due to start in early May. The state championships that began in January were suspended earlier this month.

* The US Open originally scheduled to be played June 18-21 at Winged Foot in Mamaroneck, New York has been postponed over coronavirus concerns, the New York Post reported on Thursday. The event will instead take place "later in the summer" but the location will not change, the newspaper said, citing sources with knowledge of the USGA's plans.