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Coronavirus sport news: Premier League ban extended to end of April due to Covid-19

The Premier League could today finalise provisional plans to play out the remaining 92 fixtures

Jack Rathborn
Thursday 19 March 2020 20:34 GMT
Coronavirus: What we know so far

Premier League clubs attempted to thrash out a plan to complete a season placed on ice by the coronavirus pandemic when they met via a conference call on Thursday. Covid-19 has forced leagues around Europe to be suspended, with England’s top tier now on hold until at least 30 April.

Uefa have postponed Euro 2020 for a year, giving the leagues valuable breathing room to finish the fixtures. Elsewhere, the Ryder Cup in golf looks to be on, still, with Padraig Harrington insisting the September tournament could run without fans.

Here are all the latest happenings from around the world on Thursday as sport contends with the pandemic.

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Premier League clubs attempted to thrash out a plan to complete a season placed on ice by the coronavirus pandemic when they met via a conference call on Thursday. Covid-19 has forced leagues around Europe to be suspended, with England’s top tier now on hold until at least 30 April.

Top-flight fixtures were originally suspended until April 4 at the earliest and the lay-off was extended on Thursday, despite Uefa’s decision to postpone the Euro 2020 finals for 12 months with an aim of creating room for manoeuvre.

The EFL has already announced a £50million short-term relief package to help out struggling lower league clubs during the shut-down, a move which was brought into sharp focus by Scottish Premiership side Hearts’ announcement that it has asked staff to take a 50 per cent pay cut.

In a statement on the club’s official website, Hearts owner Anne Budge said: “In order to try to prevent a staff redundancy programme and to protect as many jobs as possible, I am proposing to implement a club-wide salary reduction programme.

“Given the uncertainty of the whole situation with which we have been presented, we cannot say how long these measures will be in place.”


Premier League clubs to meet to decide on how to finish season

Premier League clubs will attempt to thrash out a plan to complete a season placed on ice by the coronavirus pandemic when they meet via a conference call on Thursday.

Top-flight fixtures have been suspended until April 4 at the earliest and while it seems certain that the lay-off will be extended, UEFA's decision to postpone the Euro 2020 finals for 12 months has created room for manoeuvre.

It is understood the focus will be firmly on concluding the 2019-20 campaign at some point rather than on what might happen should they be unable to restart, while talks with broadcast partners, whose financial input represents such a large proportion of revenue, are ongoing.

Jack Rathborn19 March 2020 07:31

All Covid-19 tests on Pakistan players negative

The Pakistan Cricket Board says all 128 COVID-19 tests carried on players, officials, broadcasters and team owners associated with the Pakistan Super League have come back negative.

"The PCB is pleased with the outcome of the results and happy that all these players and officials have rejoined their families without any health and safety doubts or concerns," PCB chief executive Wasim Khan said on Thursday.

The PCB postponed the PSL on Tuesday hours before the semifinals in the wake of coronavirus pandemic and carried out tests on all those associated with the twenty20 league in Pakistan.

Jack Rathborn19 March 2020 07:32

Diamond Princess critic says Tokyo Olympics should be halted

The Japanese doctor who created a media firestorm with videos criticising the quarantine of a coronavirus-stricken cruise ship said he now believes the Tokyo 2020 Olympics should not go on.

Kentaro Iwata, a professor of infectious disease at Kobe University, said on his blog on Thursday that it's not clear that the outbreak in Japan will have subsided by the planned start of the Games in July. Also, the flood of foreign visitors could exacerbate the spread of the disease, known as COVID-19.

Japanese government officials have said the Olympics will go ahead as scheduled and will not be held behind closed doors.

"The Olympics are not just a mass gathering, but a mass gathering from all over the world, while COVID is a global pandemic," Iwata wrote. "These two things don't go together."

Iwata boarded the quarantined Diamond Princess cruise ship in February and his YouTube videos decrying the conditions there garnered more than a million views.

Iwata said that bureaucrats, and not infectious disease professionals, were running the quarantine, and that basic protocols on zoning and the use of protective gear were not followed.

Japan has recorded more than 1,600 cases of the virus, including about 700 from the Diamond Princess. Thirty nine people have died, including seven from the liner.

The virus has spread around the world, with more than 218,000 confirmed cases and 8,900 deaths. 

Jack Rathborn19 March 2020 07:33

Tokyo governor: beating coronavirus essential for safe Olympics

Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike said on Thursday that beating the coronavirus is essential to host a safe and secure Tokyo Olympics, but that it was still too early to discuss the timing of a decision on whether the Games should go ahead as scheduled.

The breadth and scale of the spreading coronavirus around the world have forced the cancellation of numerous sporting events, raising concerns about whether the Olympics will be able to open on July 24 as planned.

Koike said that she's currently not thinking about cancelling the Olympics or holding them without spectators, two options that have been raised, and added that she's in close contact with the International Olympic Committee and central government about the situation.

Jack Rathborn19 March 2020 07:34

Windies offer solution to cricket schedule hit by coronavirus

With the coronavirus threat looming large on England's home test series against West Indies in June, the Caribbean cricket board has offered to host the matches, according to a report.

Several Caribbean nations have reported positive COVID-19 cases but the situation is worse in Britain which has reported more than 100 deaths from the respiratory disease.

Cricket West Indies (CWI) CEO Jonny Grave has spoken to his English counterpart and offered to host the three-test series, ESPNcricinfo reported.

"I've spoken to Tom Harrison a couple of times in the last few days and assured him that we will be as flexible, supportive and helpful as possible," Grave told the cricket website.

"To that end, yes, we have offered to host the series here in the Caribbean if that is deemed helpful. The ECB would retain all commercial and broadcast rights."


Jack Rathborn19 March 2020 07:37

How are professional athletes spending their time in self-isolation? 

Well, many footballers are keeping sharp by practicing drills, such as Paul Pogba, who revealed his support for compatriot and friend Blaise Matuidi, wearing his Juventus shirt during a clip on Instagram. Chelsea's Christian Pulisic is practicing juggling the ball in his back garden too.

While South African golfer Erik van Rooyen has decided to take his focus away from golf and instead practice electric guitar.

Jack Rathborn19 March 2020 07:46

Abramovich to pay for NHS staff to sleep in Chelsea hotel to aid outbreak

Jack Rathborn19 March 2020 08:09

Formula One bosses will talk with the sport's team principals on Thursday in an attempt to thrash out a revised calendar.

The PA news agency understands that FIA president Jean Todt and F1 bosses' Chase Carey and Ross Brawn will all be on the conference call as the sport's major stakeholders look to reach an agreement on the best route forward.

The summit follows a World Motor Sport Council vote on Wednesday which approved a revised shutdown period - which had been reserved for August - to enable the possibility for the sport to go racing throughout the summer.

Jack Rathborn19 March 2020 08:10

Olympic flame to arrive in Japan with Tokyo Games in serious doubt over coronavirus

The Olympic flame from Greece is set to arrive in Japan even as the opening of the Tokyo Games in four months is in doubt with more voices suggesting the event should be postponed or canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The flame touches down Friday aboard a white aircraft painted with the inscription “2020 Tokyo Olympic Torch Relay” along its side, and “Hope Lights Our Way” stenciled near the tail section.

Everything about the arrival ceremony at the Matsushima air base in northern Japan will be subdued. The flame is to be greeted by a few dignitaries, saluted by a flyover from an aerial acrobatic team — if weather permits — and then used to ignite a cauldron.

The burning vessel will be displayed in three northern prefectures before the official relay begins on March 26 from Fukushima prefecture, which was devastated nine years ago by an earthquake, tsunami and the meltdown of three nuclear reactors.

Jack Rathborn19 March 2020 08:43

Lord Coe has conceded the coronavirus pandemic means some athletes will now be at a disadvantage at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics but insists the Games can go ahead as planned.

World Athletics’s president held talks with the International Olympic Committee in an effort to ensure the event goes ahead as planned on 24 July, yet there is now the concession that some athletes in countries hit hard by Covid-19 will not have a level playing field against their fellow competitors.

Great Britain’s heptathlon world champion Katarina Johnson-Thompson has spoken out against the IOC and their advice to athletes to prepare “as best they can” despite major restrictions to training schedules.

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Jack Rathborn19 March 2020 09:10

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