Coronavirus latest: Sport at a virtual standstill in UK; snooker and racing go on behind-closed-doors; Grand National off

Grassroots football is now suspended in the UK

The world of sport continues to react to the evolving coronavirus situation, with the Grand National cancelled - we have all the latest developments.



Please note: this story has now been archived - for the latest on individual sports, please head to the relevant section of the website


Portsmouth confirm another positive case

Portsmouth have confirmed a fifth member of their squad has tested positive for coronavirus.

The League One club say on-loan Rangers full-back Ross McCrorie is now self-isolating.

Previous tests showed that four other Pompey players - James Bolton, Andy Cannon, Haji Mnoga and Sean Raggett - had also contracted the virus.

A statement read: "All five players displayed mild or no symptoms, but are self-isolating in accordance with government guidelines."

The club say they are now waiting on the results of one more test, which is for a member of their backroom team.

A Rangers statement given to the PA news agency read: "On behalf of Rangers Football Club, we pass on our best wishes to our first-team player, Ross McCrorie.

"Although Ross is currently on loan to Portsmouth FC, we have been in regular contact with him since Portsmouth announced some of their other players had tested positive for coronavirus.

"Our medical lead, Doctor Mark Waller, and our sporting director, Ross Wilson, have this evening been in contact with Ross.

"Ross has not displayed any symptoms but is taking sensible precautions and self-isolating, in line with government guidelines and the advice of our medical team."


Brighton announce payment holiday

Brighton have announced a three-month payment holiday for some fans from their monthly direct debits.

After a meeting of the club's board on Tuesday, the Seagulls announced that all renewing season ticket holders and 1901 Club members will be able to suspend their direct debits for three months.

This will include the months of May, June and July, with members encouraged to meet their payment deadline for April.

The break in direct debits will impact the club's cash flow by around £3million, but more than 92 per cent of season ticket holders have renewed for the 2020-21 season.

Season ticket holders will also be given money off their season ticket for the 2020-21 campaign if the season does not go the distance.


Irish FA extends hiatus

The Football Association of Ireland has extended its suspension of all football until April 19.

The FAI initially imposed a 12-day ban on all football activity on March 12 in the wake of the virus.

The move came as all sporting events in Ireland were suspended following an announcement from the government.


Blues ask players to take pay cut

Birmingham have become the first Sky Bet Championship club to ask their players to take wage deferrals.

Squad members earning more than £6,000-a-week at St Andrew's have been asked to take a 50 per cent cut in their salary for the next four months, amid the coronavirus pandemic, the PA news agency understands.

The money will be paid back in stages when the season restarts, with English football postponed until April 30 at the earliest to try to combat the spread of the virus.

The Telegraph reported Birmingham sent an email to agents asking for their help in the matter: "Given the unprecedented circumstances we find ourselves in as a football club, as a business and as a country as a whole, we are reaching out to you in order to request your agreeance to a short-term deduction in wages in order to assist the club to continue to run on a day-to-day basis in the current climate."

Sky Bet Championship clubs discussed the prospect of wage deferrals last week as they look to stave off financial problems with Blues unlikely to be the only side taking such measures.


Irish sport cancelled - racing included

All sporting events in Ireland have been suspended following an announcement from the Irish Government.

Racing has been continuing to stage meetings behind closed doors since March 13, as countries around the world try to limit the spread of coronavirus.

However, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar announced on Tuesday that all sporting events, even those without spectators, would be cancelled.

Racing in Britain was suspended from last Wednesday, with no action anticipated before May 1 at the earliest.

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Olympics delayed until 2021

The Olympic and Paralympic Games have been postponed until summer 2021 at the latest due to the coronavirus pandemic.

A joint statement from the International Olympic Committee and the Tokyo 2020 organising committee confirmed the news, following a conference call on Tuesday.

The Games - which had been due to get under way on July 24 - will not now take place in 2020, but will happen no later than the summer of 2021.

"In the present circumstances and based on the information provided by the WHO (World Health Organisation) today, the IOC President and the Prime Minister of Japan have concluded that the Games of the XXXII Olympiad in Tokyo must be rescheduled to a date beyond 2020 but not later than summer 2021, to safeguard the health of the athletes, everybody involved in the Olympic Games and the international community," the statement read.

"The leaders agreed that the Olympic Games in Tokyo could stand as a beacon of hope to the world during these troubled times and that the Olympic flame could become the light at the end of the tunnel in which the world finds itself at present.

"Therefore, it was agreed that the Olympic flame will stay in Japan. It was also agreed that the Games will keep the name Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020."

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More darts delays

Three more nights of Premier League action have been postponed, the Professional Darts Corporation has said.

The events in Manchester, Berlin and Birmingham, originally scheduled for April 16, 23 and 30, will now take place on September 24, September 3 and July 30 respectively.


Football latest

The Football Association has told clubs at steps five and six of the non-league pyramid that their season "must end immediately" due to the coronavirus, according to the Essex Senior League.

While the professional game has been suspended due to the escalating Covid-19 situations, the FA has been going through consultation and scenario-planning with stakeholders across English football.

Matches have been suspended throughout non-league and the FA hosted a web seminar for step five and six leagues in the FA's National League System on Tuesday.

The PA news agency understands clubs were braced for the season to be brought to a premature conclusion and a statement from the Essex Senior League has confirmed that.

"Following on from the pre-arranged Webex meeting today with the FA and our colleagues in Step 5/6 leagues, The FA have confirmed that the season 2019/20 must end immediately," a statement posted on Twitter read.

"The consensus was there is no option of any football being played for the rest of this season due to the Coronavirus outbreak.

"Even if the FA were to extend, it wasn't going to be possible to complete remaining games, also subject to being allowed to socialise by May."


Greyhound racing on hold

All greyhound racing in the UK has been suspended following Boris Johnson's statement to the British public on Monday night.

Officials intend to seek guidance from the government but as of Tuesday March 24, there will be no racing until otherwise notified.

There's still Irish action though, and we've previewed it for you.


Tokyo 2020 set to be postponed

The International Olympic Committee has already decided to postpone the Tokyo Games due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to IOC member Dick Pound.

The IOC has given itself four weeks to determine the future of this summer's Olympics, which are due to get under way on July 24.

"On the basis of the information the IOC has, postponement has been decided," Pound told USA Today.

"The parameters going forward have not been determined, but the Games are not going to start on July 24, that much I know."

Click here for the full story.


F1 look to truncated season

Formula One boss Chase Carey is planning a revised season of 15 to 18 races when the sports resumes following the coronavirus pandemic.

The Azerbaijan Grand Prix, which had been due to take place on June 7, was postponed on Monday, the eighth race to be affected so far.

However, in a statement on the F1 website, Carey wrote: "While at present no one can be certain of exactly when the situation will improve, it will improve and when it does, we will be ready to go racing again.

"We are all committed to bringing our fans a 2020 Championship season.

"We recognise there is significant potential for additional postponements in currently scheduled events, nonetheless we and our partners fully expect the season to start at some point this summer, with a revised calendar of between 15-18 races."


Football latest - PL to meet; UEFA postpone finals

Premier League clubs will gather again on April 3 to discuss next steps amid the coronavirus pandemic.

It was announced last week that English professional football had been put on hold until April 30 at the earliest.

It is understood the April 3 date had already been pencilled in as one of the league's regular shareholders' meetings, but will be used as the latest of the competition's emergency gatherings to discuss contingencies following the Covid-19 outbreak.

Click here for more on that.

Meanwhile, UEFA has taken the decision to postpone the men's and women's Champions League finals and the Europa League final due to the ongoing health crisis in Europe.

Big news, if entirely predictable. Get the full story.

The Champions League finals have been postponed

Quins encourage pay cut

Harlequins have become the latest Gallagher Premiership club to ask players to take a 25 per cent pay cut to help them through the coronavirus pandemic.

The Twickenham Stoop outfit made the announcement on Monday, revealing "all staff, players and coaches" would be asked to accept a reduction of salary.

Chief executive Laurie Dalrymple said in a statement: "Today, we have made the difficult decision to ask all our staff, players and coaches to support the club through a 25 per cent reduction of salary. We will look after our lowest earners and those facing financial difficulty.

"This move hasn't been taken lightly, but in order to protect jobs, the future of Harlequins and the excellent and committed people that reside within. Even with this important contribution, we will need all of our stakeholders to come together to help secure the club's future.

"In the coming days the focus of our club will switch to supporting our local communities, doing our best to support those who need our help."


Premier League Darts amendments

The Premier League nights planned for Belfast and Sheffield during April have been postponed due to the ongoing global situation.

March's planned Premier League nights in Newcastle and Rotterdam were postponed recently, and with further restrictions now in place worldwide, the first two events scheduled in April will also now be staged later in 2020.

In line with the rescheduling of other nights to extend the Unibet Premier League season during 2020, the visit to The FlyDSA Arena in Sheffield - originally on Thursday April 9 - has been rescheduled for Thursday July 2.

Details of the revised date for the visit to The SSE Arena in Belfast, which was originally planned for Thursday April 2, will be confirmed in due course.


Darts star to national hero

Darts player Keegan Brown has put his day job on the backburner as the NHS employee takes on extra shifts to help out during the coronavirus crisis.

The 27-year-old, ranked the 30th best player in the world, has swapped the oche for a hospital in the Isle of Wight in a bid to ease the strain on the NHS during the pandemic.

"I work in the blood-science lab as an assistant. But I have taken on extra hours to help support the service," Brown told The Sun. "I'm still trying to make time to practise - but feel like I am needed more at work for now.

"Currently I'm still working in the lab but my daily tasks are more varied due to the situation of Covid-19 and with us unfortunately being the only hospital on the island. Everyone is very determined and committed to play their part now. And I could not be prouder to be part of such a team.

"In some ways, yes, it's much busier but in other areas it's as normal. I'm not doing longer hours as such, just more days. This may change as circumstances change."


Azerbaijan Grand Prix cancelled

The Azerbaijan Grand Prix has become the latest race to be pulled from Formula One's coronavirus-hit schedule.

F1 bosses had earmarked the June 7 race as a potential start date for the new season after the opening seven grands prix were called off.

But the event - which takes place on the streets of Azerbaijan's capital Baku - has now been postponed because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

"Baku City Circuit (BCC) has today taken the decision to postpone the Formula One Azerbaijan Grand Prix 2020 due to take place on June 7," read a statement from race organisers.

"BCC's primary concern throughout has been the health and wellbeing of the Azerbaijani people as well as all visiting F1 fans, staff and championship participants."


Dubai World Cup card cancelled

The prestigious Dubai World Cup meeting, scheduled to take place at Meydan on Saturday, has been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

It had been expected to take place behind closed doors, with appropriate measures in place.

However, despite many of the participants taking part in routine exercise on the Meydan track as normal on Sunday morning, it was announced in the early afternoon the card had been postponed.

A statement issued by the government of Dubai's media office read: "To safeguard the health of all participants, the higher organising committee of the Dubai World Cup 2020 has decided to postpone the 25th edition of the global tournament to next year."


Fellaini tests positive

Marouane Fellaini: The Belgian midfielder tested positive for COVID-19 in China

Former Man Utd & Everton midfielder Marouane Fellaini has tested positive for COVID-19 after he returned to China.

Fellaini is the first player from the Chinese Super League to have tested positive for the virus, but he is not displaying any of the symptoms of the illness.

Read the full story


NRL to play on

The National Rugby League has vowed to continue with their season amid the coronavirus pandemic until the Australian government advises them not to.

The NRL began its season behind closed doors last week and ARL chairman Peter V'landys stated the intention is to proceed with the competition until they are encouraged to shut down matches.

Australian Rules football had earlier this morning announced that their season would be suspended initially until the end of May due to the pandemic.


Former Real president dies

Former Real Madrid president Lorenzo Sanz has died of coronavirus aged 76, LaLiga has announced.

Sanz, Real's president from 1995 to 2000, had been admitted to hospital with a fever and tested positive for the virus.

LaLiga said in a brief statement: "From LaLiga we want to send our deepest condolences for the recent death of Lorenzo Sanz, with whom many of us have shared work and friendship.

"We share in the pain of this loss, especially for Real Madrid, the club of which he was president for years. Rest in peace."


Maldini and son test positive

AC Milan announced technical director Paolo Maldini and his son Daniel, who is in the youth team, had tested positive but were "both well" having self-isolated for two weeks.

A statement from the Serie A side read: "AC Milan confirms that Paolo Maldini, the club's technical director, became aware of contact with a person who subsequently tested positive for Coronavirus and began to display symptoms of the virus himself.

"He was administered with a swab test yesterday, the result of which was positive. His son Daniel, a forward in AC Milan's youth team who had previously been training with the first team, also tested positive.

"Paolo and Daniel are both well and have already completed two weeks at home without contact with others. They will now remain in quarantine until clinically recovered, as per the medical protocols outlined by the health authorities."

Paolo Maldini won seven Serie A titles and five European Cups with Milan between 1984 and 2009. Daniel, 18, made his senior debut against Hellas Verona last month.


Dybala tests postitive

Juventus forward Paulo Dybala has revealed he has tested positive for Covid-19.

The Argentina forward announced on Twitter that he and his partner Oriana Sabatini had both tested positive. He is the third Juve player affected after defender Daniele Rugani and midfielder Blaise Matuidi.

Dybala wrote: "Hi everyone, I just wanted just to inform you that we have received the results for the Covid-19 test and both Oriana and I have tested positive. Luckily we are in perfect conditions. Thanks for your messages."

Singer and model Sabatini is the niece of former tennis star Gabriela Sabatini.


Roberts offers up flat

Wales rugby international Jamie Roberts has put up a frontline doctor in his Cardiff flat as part of the ongoing battle against the coronavirus pandemic.

The 33-year-old centre has remained in South Africa with professional Rugby side Stormers and usually rents out the apartment in south Wales as a holiday let.

Roberts told BBC Sport: "I managed to get an A&E doctor in there as of Friday, someone who's working on the front line with the NHS in Cardiff.

"I had a few cancellations on Airbnb. I've got a flat I stay in when I'm back in Cardiff.

"There's going to be a lot of NHS workers out there who won't want to be going from hospital to family and putting their families at risk so they're going to need accommodation.

"So I guess anyone out there who has property which is empty; I'm sure there are plenty with Airbnb cancellations.

"So I guess it's about encouraging people to try and do the same as well. The NHS needs all the help it can get in these times."

US Track and Field: Postpone Olympics

US Track and Field has become the most high-profile sporting body to call for this summer's Tokyo Olympics to be postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

In an email, USATF urged the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee to make representations about delaying the 2020 Games, as the "right and responsible thing to do" in the circumstances.

The intervention by USATF follows a statement from USA Swimming on Friday, asking the USOPC to advocate for a one-year postponement due to the tightening coronavirus lockdown.

USATF chief executive Max Siegel wrote: "The right and responsible thing to do is prioritise everyone's health and safety, and appropriately recognise the toll this difficult situation has, and continues to take, on our athletes and their Olympic Games preparations.

"We are all experiencing unfathomable disruptions, and everyone's lives are being impacted accordingly.

"For those reasons, USATF is respectfully requesting that the (USOPC) advocate to the IOC for the postponement of the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo."

An increasing number of athletes are beginning to speak out over their fears for Tokyo 2020, particularly in relation to social distancing programmes which are making their training programmes impossible to pursue.

British discus thrower Jade Lally told BBC Sport: "I don't think it should go ahead as planned. I don't think July 24 should be the start. It's too soon.

"I think the IOC are being very insensitive, and I don't know if blase is maybe the right word, but they're not thinking about things.

"They can't tell us to train as normal, because nobody can train as normal. Literally nobody on the planet is training as they normally would.

"For the IOC to say just carry on as normal isn't fair. It creates more doubt for us as athletes."


Ireland and Bangladesh meetings postponed

Ireland and Bangladesh have agreed to postpone the upcoming one-day international and Twenty20 series due to be played in May.

A three-match ODI series - to be played in Belfast - was set to be followed by four IT20s pencilled in at a variety of grounds in England.

However, in line with advice from both Irish and UK governments around international travel, sporting events and mass gatherings, it was agreed to postpone the tour due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Warren Deutrom, chief executive of Cricket Ireland, said: "Once the scale of the COVID-19 pandemic was understood, and the advice of both Governments and partner boards was sought, it became increasingly unlikely that this series could proceed as scheduled."

The IT20 series between Ireland and Bangladesh was scheduled to be played between May 22-29 at grounds in London, Chelmsford, Bristol and Birmingham.

Hamilton self-isolating

Lewis Hamilton: F1 champ is self isolating

Lewis Hamilton has revealed he has been in self-isolation but is showing no symptoms of the coronavirus after attending an event with Idris Elba and Sophie Trudeau.

Actor Elba and Trudeau, wife of the Canadian prime minister, have both since tested positive for Covid-19.

Hamilton met the pair at an event in London on March 4 before flying out to Melbourne for the first race of the Formula One season, which was called off last Friday morning.

And the six-time world champion has revealed since then he has kept himself distanced from other people.

"There's been some speculation about my health, after I was at an event where two people later tested positive for coronavirus," Hamilton wrote on his Instagram story.

"I wanted to let you know that I'm doing well, feeling healthy and working out twice a day. I have zero symptoms, and it's now been 17 days since I saw Sophie and Idris. I have been in touch with Idris and happy to hear he is OK.

"I did speak to my doctor and double checked if I needed to take a test but the truth is, there is a limited amount of tests available and there are people who need it more than I do, especially when I wasn't showing any symptoms at all.

"So what I've done is keep myself isolated this past week, actually since practice was cancelled last Friday and kept my distance from people."

Pompey players test positive

Portsmouth have confirmed that three players have tested positive for coronavirus.

James Bolton, Andy Cannon and Sean Raggett all have the virus after the Sky Bet League One club received a second batch of test results on Friday night.

Pompey's players were tested following their FA Cup clash against Arsenal after several of the Gunners squad had been in contact with Olympiacos owner Evangelos Marinakis on the night of their Europa League tie.

Marinakis confirmed he had the virus on March 10.

Portsmouth are still awaiting more results, but the players are self-isolating.

Pompey's chief executive Mark Catlin told the club's website: "I received the news last night and immediately spoke to (manager) Kenny (Jackett) and head physio Bobby Bacic. Kenny and I then spoke to all three players.

"Football is not immune from this virus and I can assure you that it only really hits home when those that you know contract it.

"All three players were in good spirits and perfectly calm - showing mild or no symptoms - and are looking forward to overcoming it as quickly as possible.

"We once again urge everyone to follow the current government guidelines."

Manchester clubs join forces

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Pep Guardiola

Manchester United and Manchester City have donated a combined £100,000 to help food banks in Greater Manchester.

The city rivals have joined forces to help meet increased demand from vulnerable people as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

City and United fans' groups usually collect supplies outside Old Trafford and the Etihad before home games, but this has been interrupted by the suspension of football.

In a joint statement, Manchester City and Manchester United said: "We are proud of the role our supporters play in helping local food banks and recognise the increased strain likely to be placed on these charities by the impact of coronavirus.

"At a time of challenge for our community, we are pleased to come together with our fans to help vulnerable members of society in a City United."

Each club is giving £50,000 to the Trussell Trust, which supports a network of over 1,200 food bank centres, including 19 in the Greater Manchester area which will be the beneficiaries of the donation.

ECB suspends county season

There will be no professional cricket played in England and Wales until May 28, the ECB has announced.

The governing body approved a seven-week delay to the start of the 2020 season following discussions with the First-Class Counties, the MCC and the Professional Cricketers' Association.

ECB chief executive Tom Harrison, said: "During this period of deep uncertainty it is the ECB's first priority to protect the wellbeing of everyone within the cricket family, from players to fans and colleagues across the game.

"The decision to delay the start of the season has been essential, given the circumstances the nation faces.

"I am reassured by the collaborative effort from across the game that together we will make the very best of whatever length of season we are able to safely schedule in the coming months."

Sissoko in regular contact with isolated family

Tottenham midfielder Moussa Sissoko has revealed how he is keeping in daily contact with family on lockdown in France.

The French government has ordered strict measures in order to stop the spread of coronavirus, meaning some of Sissoko's relatives are unable to leave the house.

He has been training as normal this week, though Spurs have since opted to stop working at Hotspur Way in wake of the extended suspension to the Premier League.

It will be a common problem for foreign players in this country during the crisis and Sissoko is trying his best.

"Every day I'm on the phone with them," he told Spurs TV. "At the moment they're not going anywhere because in France, they can't move, they are not allowed to go out, only to buy some food.

"It's a very sad situation, all the world is affected. We need to be sensible and try to follow protocols.

"Hopefully in a few weeks or a few months everything will be OK and everyone can go back to normal life and try to enjoy life."

Euro 2020 name unchanged

Crucible showpiece postponed

Snooker's Betfred World Championship has been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The tournament was scheduled to be played from April 18 to May 4, with the World Snooker Tour announcing its intention to instead stage it at the Crucible in July or August.

The news follows this week's Tour Championship being moved to July, having initially been switched behind closed doors.

Lower league rugby union season ends

All league rugby beneath the Gallagher Premiership has been brought to an end for the 2019-20 season, the Rugby Football Union has announced.

The decision is in response to the Covid-19 pandemic with Twickenham keen to "assist with long-term planning and provide clarity to the game at a time of continuous change".

The RFU is in active discussion with the Premiership, which has been suspended for five weeks.

Monaco Grand Prix off the calendar

The Monaco Grand Prix has been pulled from Formula One's coronavirus-hit schedule in another blow to the sport's bosses.

The prestigious race has been an ever-present on the calendar since 1955 - but after its original date of May 24 was scrubbed off, race organisers confirmed their event would play no part in a rejigged calendar.

Their cancellation came just hours after it was confirmed that Prince Albert of Monaco had tested positive for the deadly virus.

In a statement, the Automobile Club of Monaco said: "The current situation concerning the worldwide pandemic and its unknown path of evolution, the lack of understanding as to the impact on the world championship, the uncertainty with regards to the participation of the teams... the multi-border restrictions for accessing the Principality of Monaco, the pressure on all implicated businesses, their dedicated staff who are unable to undertake the necessary installations, the availability of the indispensable workforce and volunteers (more than 1500) required for the success of the event means that the situation is no longer tenable."

The news that one of world sport's grandest events will not feature at all in 2020 encapsulated another dramatic and sobering afternoon for F1's owners Liberty Media, who had been hopeful of finding a new date for the Monte Carlo race.

Seven of the sport's opening 22 grands prix have now been called off - meaning the earliest the season can start is in Azerbaijan on June 7. But whether that is actually feasible is up for debate given the fast-moving nature of the coronavirus pandemic.

Southgate's message

England boss Gareth Southgate has urged fans to work together to combat the coronavirus.

The Three Lions had been due to play Italy next Friday and Denmark four days later before the suspension of sporting action brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Southgate said in an open letter to supporters on the official England Twitter account:

Jovic explains quarantine breach reports

Real Madrid's Luka Jovic

Real Madrid striker Luka Jovic has moved to explain his actions after allegedly breaking the coronavirus quarantine imposed by Serbian authorities during a trip to his homeland...

Click here to read the full story

Gallagher Premiership clubs to ask players to consider pay cut

Premiership Rugby clubs are poised to ask players to take a 25 per cent pay cut while the league is suspended due to the coronavirus outbreak.

More than half the top-flight English clubs are preparing to put the proposal to their players, the PA news agency understands.

Club chiefs fear only radical moves will keep finances in check, with the league currently shut down until April 24.

Wage reductions are understood to require agreement from the players, but club bosses will argue they must take drastic action to stabilise financial futures.

English governing body the Rugby Football Union (RFU) is yet to outline any detailed stance amid the pandemic, having pledged in a recent statement to "provide detailed updates on the impact to the season in the coming weeks".

Now though the clubs have appeared to make the first move in a bid to cope during the league shut-out.

Northampton Saints chief executive Mark Darbon earlier this week admitted financial concerns are at the forefront of top clubs' minds amid the coronavirus uncertainty.

"It is one of the things that is right at the top of our minds," said Darbon.

"But there is a shared ambition to get our competition completed - so the number of games we might play or lose will have an impact.

"We make between £300,000 and £400,000 out of each game and have four home games left.

"It's a huge concern and we are a loss-making club so a significant hit is a real challenge.

"But we are in a decent position, have a strong balance sheet and own our stadium - so we are confident that we can get through this."

New Zealand clashes postponed

The mid-season Test between New Zealand and Tonga in Auckland has fallen victim to the COVID-19 international pandemic.

The New Zealand Rugby League announced on Friday that the Oceania Cup matches scheduled for June 20 between the Kiwis and the Tonga Invitational XIII as well as Samoa's clash with Cook Islands have been postponed.

Greg Peters, chief executive of New Zealand Rugby League, says the league is in discussions with the Asia Pacific Rugby League Confederation about a possible re-arrangement for the end of the year.

Peters said: "With the recent announcement on mass gatherings and the unpredictability of this pandemic, the safety and well-being of our players, staff and supporters remain a priority.

"We are also very conscious of the current demand on some of our players due to the travel restrictions in place which we will be taking into full consideration going forward.

"Even if restrictions were to be lifted before the event date, it still is not feasible to undertake the work required now to deliver matches in June amid the current uncertainty.

"The best-case scenario is our calendar is postponed, depending on what the NRL season looks like the back end of the year, but of course, we cannot guarantee anything at this stage.

"We are in unfamiliar and unknown territory; collectively, we are all feeling the widespread impact of this pandemic but rest assured, we will be exploring every possible option."

Neville fears for smaller clubs

Gary Neville: Now co-owner of Salford

Former Manchester United full-back and Salford co-owner Gary Neville fears football clubs could go out of business due to the economic damage caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Earlier this week, Scottish Premier League club Hearts announced that they were asking players and non-playing staff to take a 50 per cent pay cut, something Neville believes could become commonplace.

Speaking on The Debate on Sky Sports, Neville said: "It is unsurprising to me that clubs will be looking at their staff with a more social approach.

"A 50 per cent reduction in pay is something that will become the norm unless the government puts a package in place of support that gives people comfort. That needs to unfold quite quickly.

"It (coronavirus) is something that is completely unexpected. There will be clubs all over this country, if they don't get support quickly will have to make those decisions and may even go to the wall."

Neville believes clubs all the way through the professional football pyramid, including in the Premier League, would be hit financially if the season resumes behind closed doors.

"If the Premier League were able to deliver it safely, get the broadcast revenue and so on, and wash that down towards the clubs that require it towards financial rescue, that might be something that the EFL may look at," Neville added.

"But it will cause huge problems for some EFL clubs and National League clubs to not have the revenue from the remaining fixtures and other revenue streams that would exist from playing football this season.

"There will be clubs who have transfer fees due, there will be clubs who have fees due in instalments due from other years. We, as Salford City, will pay other clubs for our loan players, but we are not the standard example of a League Two club.

"There are clubs who just haven't got the money to be able to pay it. Not just in the Football League but some clubs in the Premier League at this moment in time will be very worried, who need that revenue, who have spent that television money and need the 30,000 fans on a matchday."

Cambridge CEO worried over financial strain over crisis period

Cambridge chief executive officer Ian Mather is concerned the relief fund on offer from the English Football League may not be enough for the Sky Bet League Two club.

On Wednesday the EFL announced a £50million short-term package to help cash-strapped clubs during the coronavirus crisis, but Mather believes the money will not be a "complete answer", and the U's could have to reduce staff numbers.

"These are unprecedented times for all of us in so many different ways," Mather told Cambridge's website.

"Events continue to move quickly and the picture is changing constantly. One of the most concerning features of the situation for everyone is that there is no clarity as to when it will end.

"We need to manage this on the basis that we have no football, or other commercial activity, until some point in the summer and quite possibly, sometime after that."

On the financial package, Mather said: "This is welcome news but the amount we can access is relatively small and it is far from a complete answer to the financial problem we are facing.

"We are looking at ways of reducing our cost base and this will include making some extremely difficult decisions when it comes to our staff."

Mather added that the club are considering selling season tickets for 2020-21 earlier than previously, and stressed the importance of supporters during the ongoing crisis.

Football season extended indefinitely

The suspension of English football has been extended until April 30 at the earliest, but a joint statement from the FA Premier League and EFL insist they are committed to finishing the current season.

The Premier League met on Thursday to discuss how to go about dealing with the impact of the coronavirus stoppage, and they've acted in conjunction with the FA, EFL and women's game to release their initial thoughts.

All English football will remain suspended until the end of April, but crucially their joint statement revealed that the current 2019/20 season will be "extended indefinitely" as they look at ways of completing competitions.

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Darts duo set for one more showdown?

Darts greats Phil Taylor and Raymond Van Barneveld could be set for one more tungsten tussle as they look to provide live sport during the coronavirus crisis without leaving their homes.

The pair, with 21 world titles between them, built up a famous rivalry during their glittering careers.

Taylor dominated their battles, winning 61 of 83 matches, before retiring after losing in the World Championship final to Rob Cross in 2018, 12 months before the Dutchman also hung up his darts.

But with the coronavirus pandemic affecting sport across the world, Taylor and Van Barneveld are keen to dust off their arrows and provide live action in a charity fundraiser.

Their sponsors Target Darts want to stream the match live on Facebook, with the duo using an electronic dartboard that allows players to compete against each other all over the world.

"Everyone is craving some live sport at these difficult times," 59-year-old Taylor told the Sun.

"And maybe we can lighten the mood of the UK public and also make money for worthwhile charities.

"I always love playing Barney, we have had some incredible battles down the years, and though we wouldn't be in the same room, it would still be competitive as ever."

Van Barneveld is also up for the challenge, replying on Twitter with "Game on".

Price using time to practice

Gerwyn Price (Picture: Lawrence Lustig/PDC)

Darts player Gerwyn Price believes a break in the busy schedule could actually benefit his game in the long run.

Thursday night's Premier League action in Newcastle was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

World number three Price told Sky Sports: "I am still practising on the board and doing what I can do.

"I am actually doing more now. That is my practice because we play every day of the week and when I am at home I like to have some down time with the family.

"Over the last couple of days all I seem to be doing is practising. It might be a blessing in disguise because I might start hitting some doubles!"

Liverpool's injured players allowed to Melwood

Liverpool are allowing players still undergoing rehabilitation from injuries to re-enter the training ground from Thursday.

Melwood was voluntarily closed after the full squad trained for the last time on Friday, but the PA news agency understands the likes of goalkeeper Alisson Becker (hip), Xherdan Shaqiri (calf), Nathaniel Clyne (knee) and Yasser Larouci (thigh) are being allowed to return for limited periods.

However, they will do so at staggered intervals to minimise the contact they have with each other.

All the Premier League leaders' fully-fit players remain at home training on their own until further notice.

Spurs training as normal

Tottenham are continuing to train as normal, despite the league shutting down.

Jose Mourinho's men are due in at Hotspur Way on Thursday and Friday, before taking the weekend off.

The club will continue to follow Premier League guidance on whether to send their players home.

Dagenham chief believes National League needs government bailout

The Vanarama National League will require a government bailout to survive the coronavirus outbreak, according to Dagenham managing director Steve Thompson.

Clubs are being hit hard financially by the suspension of the leagues and the National League is not in a position to offer a relief package to its members, as the English Football League announced it will do on Wednesday.

Thompson says clubs in the National League, National League North and National League South will need a total of £15million to £20m to survive and revealed talks are ongoing with the Football Association.

"It is going to require government help," he told the PA news agency. "The biggest worry is that so many non-league clubs, not just in the National League... they are integral parts of their community, the fabric of their community. It worries me if these clubs are lost, what will happen going forward.

"A case is being made through the FA. We need to be in line with the Premier League, the EFL and the FA.

"There needs to be a concentrated effort. I don't think we can expect a bailout from the Premier League or FA, so it needs to be government led.

"I think the government realises that when we do eventually get through this, non-league clubs and League One and League Two clubs are going to be part of the fightback for our communities.

"I think that is recognised, exactly how that support can be given I don't know.

"The National League are trying to get figures together, this can't be set in stone but the sort of figures I am hearing at the moment will be £15million to £20million."

Premier League clubs to meet

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.

Full story here

Birmingham boss sent family back to Spain for safety

Birmingham manager Pep Clotet has spoken of his emotional stress at being separated from his family during the coronavirus pandemic.

Thinking it would be safer than the UK, Clotet sent his wife Vanessa, three-year-old son Max and one-year-old daughter Helena back to his native Spain last week.

However, within a day of arriving their home town of Igualada, near Barcelona, was in lockdown, also trapping Clotet's father Ramon, 71, and mother Maria, 68.

"I am so worried," Clotet told the Daily Mirror. "At the moment, everything is OK with the family. We are all still alive. In Spain we have been more aware than people were in England. It hit us earlier but it is still on an upward curve.

"But we know what is coming. I don't think people in England do. In Spain they were getting another 2,000 cases a week.

"We felt they were controlling things better in Spain and where we live there is better, so we decided they should go back. It was safer so I rushed them to the airport, but as soon as they got to Igualada there was a major outbreak and the police closed it.

"We have a small farm there, as well as a house, so they could be pretty isolated. My parents are locked down in the house and my brother calls every few hours. It is incredibly worrying.

"I am caught between two worlds. I feel I cannot do my job properly. I keep thinking, 'Maybe I should go back?' But I cannot go back because I am working."

Clotet said no players or staff have tested positive for the coronavirus at Birmingham, but does not feel that football will resume any time soon.

Pinsent criticises choice to continue with Tokyo Olympics

Four-time Olympic champion Sir Matthew Pinsent believes it is "folly" for the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to insist the Tokyo Games will go ahead.

IOC chairman Thomas Bach said on Tuesday that starting on schedule on July 24 remains the organisation's goal, despite much of the sporting calendar being shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic.

"I think it's the IOC saying we must try and get through if we can, which I have a degree of sympathy with, it just runs counter to what every health authority and government is saying around the world," Pinsent told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

"We've seen lockdowns across Europe and across Asia at different timescales but this is coming and the idea that the Olympics are going to carry on regardless I think is folly.

"On a global front we have other priorities and I think the Olympics should at the very least be saying we should postpone or indeed just cancel at this stage and we'll talk about postponement later on.

"I just don't think there's much of a choice at this stage. For much of the European countries as well Asian countries, organised sport in any meaningful way has ceased and that's from government advice.

"I don't see there's any way forward for an Olympic athlete to train effectively even as an individual but particularly in a team environment."


EFL vow to complete season

The EFL have announced that their "primary objective" is to finish the current season once football is cleared to resume, while annoucing a £50m relief package to help clubs struggling financially.

Ahead of the Premier League meeting on Thursday, the EFL board met on Wednesday and announced their latest plans with dealing with the fallout of the coronavirus crisis.

After gathering several reports, the EFL announced that they would be focused on finishing the 2019/20 season to ensure the integrity of the league was intact, and says it is in the best interests of all of their clubs to finish off the current campaign.

An EFL statement read: "The primary objective, in order to protect competition integrity, is to deliver a successful conclusion to the 2019/20 season, subject to the over-riding priority around health and well-being. Plans continue to be developed on the agreed principle that it is in the best interests of the EFL and Clubs to complete the current season at the appropriate time.

"The EFL is continuing regular dialogue with the Government and relevant health authorities and, as and when more information is known regarding the scale and extent of the coronavirus outbreak in this country, a decision will be taken on the resumption of the League’s fixtures."

Read the full story


Neville offers hotels to NHS


Abramovich pledges NHS help

Chelsea will open the Millennium Hotel at Stamford Bridge to NHS staff to help the medical response to the coronavirus outbreak.

Blues owner Roman Abramovich has pledged to cover the costs of accommodation for an initial two-month period - with the west London club prepared to give over the whole hotel if required.

"Chelsea Football Club is joining the medical response to the coronavirus outbreak in London with the news the National Health Service (NHS) has accepted the Club's offer to make the Millennium Hotel at Stamford Bridge available for NHS staff," read a club statement.

"The initiative came from club owner Roman Abramovich and, after contact with the NHS was made by Chairman Bruce Buck, it was decided the best way Chelsea can assist the NHS is to provide accommodation for NHS staff. Mr Abramovich will be covering the costs of providing the accommodation.

"Many of the medical staff will be working long shifts and may not be able to travel home or would otherwise have to make long commutes."


Clay-court tennis schedule postponed

Both the men's and women's Spring clay-court tennis programmes have been postponed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

The ATP and WTA issued a joint statement on Wednesday evening confirming they have suspended tournaments, including combined events in Madrid and Rome, until June 7.

The statement said: "After careful consideration and due to the continuing outbreak of COVID-19, all ATP and WTA tournaments in the Spring clay-court swing will not be held as scheduled.

"This includes the combined ATP/WTA tournaments in Madrid and Rome, along with the WTA events in Strasbourg and Rabat and ATP events in Munich, Estoril, Geneva and Lyon."

Tournaments planned for June 8 and after currently remain unaffected as the governing bodies continue to monitor the situation.


Leeds Rhinos players self-isolating

Leeds have confirmed eight members of the first-team squad and backroom team are self-isolating after displaying symptoms of possible coronavirus.

The Rugby Football League has announced that all matches, from the top flight to community clubs, are suspended until April 3 because of the pandemic.

The expectation, though, is that the shutdown will last months rather than weeks.

Saturday's scheduled Super League fixture in Perpignan between Catalans Dragons and Leeds was postponed following confirmation an unnamed Rhinos' players was put into self-isolation. Tests later were returned negative for the virus.

RFL chief executive Ralph Rimmer, meanwhile, has suggested the Rhinos may face a sanction for not fulfilling their last Super League fixture.

"We spoke with Leeds at some length this week on that particular issue," Rimmer said on BBC Radio Five Live.

"We've applied all the guidelines that the government asked us to observe, and Leeds took a unilateral decision not to travel to that fixture. That will follow due process now."


Ryder Cup in doubt

Following the news that the US PGA has been postponed, The Telegraph report that the Ryder Cup will be put back to 2021.

Meanwhile, the PGA Tour have cancelled all tournaments through to mid-May, adding the RBC Heritage, Zurich Classic, Wells Fargo Championship and AT&T Byron Nelson to those already lost.


US PGA postponed

The earliest possible date for a men's major golf tournament this year is now June, after May's PGA Championship was postponed indefinitely.

Organisers of the event, to be held in California, are hoping to rescheduled for an unspecified summer date - though that, like everything at the moment, remains in some doubt.

Golf is on almost total lockdown, with a minor ladies' event the only one of significance now taking place this week.

The Masters has already been postponed with organisers reportedly aiming for an autumn switch. Meanwhile, the USGA continue to prepare for a June US Open, though several of their other events are off and this one will likely join them.

That leaves the Open Championship, scheduled for July. The R&A are yet to comment.


Hudson-Odoi making 'great progress'

Callum Hudson-Odoi scores for Chelsea against Burnley

Chelsea coach Frank Lampard says Callum Hudson-Odoi is progressing well after his coronavirus diagnosis.

The England winger tested positive for the virus on Friday, leading to self-isolation for him and those who had close contact with him and the closure of the club's training ground.

But Lampard told the club's website on Tuesday evening: "I'm happy to say that in Callum's case, he has made great progress and almost feels his usual self, which is obviously the news we all want to hear."

Chelsea also announced that Cobham has reopened after a deep clean following Hudson-Odoi's diagnosis.

A statement on the club's website read: "The training ground at Cobham is back operating as a place of work although club personnel who had recent close contact with Callum Hudson-Odoi continue to self-isolate in line with Government health guidelines.

"It was announced in the early hours of Friday morning that Hudson-Odoi had tested positive for coronavirus. Consequently, as well as the self-isolation, the building at Cobham underwent a deep-cleaning procedure and with that completed, it has reopened for those working there who are not self-isolating.

"For the players currently at home, there is of course the need to stay fit and ready for when training and matches do resume.

"To aid that, all members of the men's first-team squad have been sent an exercise bicycle for indoor use and nutritional plans, which they can use with tailored fitness programmes to keep up their levels of physical condition."


Johnson-Thompson: Advice to continue preparations is impossible

Katarina Johnson-Thompson has questioned advice that athletes should continue their preparations for Tokyo 2020 "as best they can" as the International Olympic Committee came under fire for insisting it remains "fully committed" to delivering the Games this summer despite the coronavirus outbreak.

The IOC insisted it was planning ahead as normal after holding consultations with sporting federations, the first in a series of talks which will continue with national Olympic committees, athletes' representatives, the International Paralympic Committee and others in the coming days.

"The IOC remains fully committed to the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, and with more than four months to go before the Games there is no need for any drastic decisions at this stage; and any speculation at this moment would be counter-productive," it said in a statement.

"The IOC encourages all athletes to continue to prepare for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 as best they can."

But that brought a critical response from a number of athletes, while Canada's ex-Olympian Hayley Wickenheiser, now a member of the athletes' commission, said the IOC must acknowledge uncertainty over the Games.

Johnson-Thompson questioned how the IOC's advice could be squared with the reality many athletes find themselves facing with several countries on lockdown, facilities closed, and competitions cancelled or postponed.

The 27-year-old Team GB heptathlete posted a message on social media, saying she was heading back to the UK from France, where she had been left unable to train due to the closure of facilities, with a planned race and training camp in the United States having already been cancelled.


UKAD to scale back drug testing

UK Anti-Doping has been forced to take the "difficult decision" to scale back drug testing in the wake of the coronavirus crisis.

UKAD chief executive Nicole Sapstead said there would be a "significant reduction" in testing in order to ensure the well-being of athletes and its own staff.

Sapstead said in a statement: "With the cancellation of sporting events and recent UK Government advice concerning the control of the virus, we have reviewed our operational activity and are announcing a significant reduction in our testing programme.

"This is a difficult decision and one that has not been taken lightly. Our priority is the health and welfare of athletes, and our own staff and doping control officers.

"As an organisation our ongoing responsibility remains to protect clean sport, but we must give precedence to health and welfare and act responsibly in line with government advice during this unprecedented time.

"We will continue to process intelligence and will act on that information. If anyone has information that could be of interest to UKAD and its investigations on any matter, please do contact us as usual."

UKAD said that, where testing did take place, all available precautions would be used to protect the athlete and the coping control officer (DCO).

The DCO will wear personal protective equipment and maintain a 6ft distance from the athlete, while DCO selection will be in line with Government advice and consider recent travel history and high-risk criteria.


Hull KR owner predicts big losses

Most Super League clubs stand to lose around £1million through the shutdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic, Hull KR owner Neil Hudgell believes.

The Rugby Football League has announced that all matches, from the top flight to community clubs, are suspended until April 3 but the expectation is that the shutdown will last months rather than weeks.

Hudgell believes not playing the Hull derby on Good Friday could cost the club up to £150,000 and Hull KR also stand to lose a series of lucrative concerts scheduled for their Hull College Craven Park home, including Westlife and Little Mix on the weekend of July 10-12.

"I budgeted for this year on a very cautious basis," Hudgell said. "What has happened here has clearly thrown a monumental spanner in the works.

"Whether you play poorly and get 7,000 or play well and get 9,000, you are getting income. If you're not playing games you get zero income.

"As a direct illustration of that we will lose up to £150,000 cash flow for not playing Hull FC on Good Friday. That is just one example in itself. Each club has particular circumstances.

"Given the suggestions this virus won't peak until June, I think we are being over optimistic to suggest we will be back and functioning in early April, although no decisions have been made. For us in our cash flow, we have three concerts which with the best will in the world, don't look like happening.

"The best-case scenario is those concerts still happen but nobody is going to buy tickets until the position becomes clearer. The reality is they will be postponed or not happen. The deals we have with those three concerts will net us at least £250,000 for those three events so you can image the size of that hole."


Juve midfielder tests positive

Juventus and France midfielder Blaise Matuidi has tested positive for coronavirus.

A statement on the club's website read: "The player, as of Wednesday 11 March, has been in voluntary home isolation.

"He will continue to be monitored and will follow the same regime. He is well and is asymptomatic."

Matuidi is the second Juve player to test positive for the virus after defender Daniele Rugani.


Wimbledon latest

Wimbledon organisers are "continuing to plan" for the tournament, which is scheduled to run from June 29 to July 12, but acknowledge it remains "a continuously evolving situation".

Richard Lewis, chief executive of the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, said: "At the heart of our decision-making is our commitment to the health and safety of our members, staff, and the public, and we are grateful to the government and public health authorities for their advice and support.

"While we continue to plan for The Championships at this time, it remains a continuously evolving situation and we will act responsibly, in the best interests of wider society.

"We thank all of our members, staff, players, partners, contractors and the public for their patience and trust as we continue to navigate this unprecedented global challenge."


European Tour event postponed

A sixth regular European Tour event has been postponed due to the coronavirus.

The Estrella Damm N.A. Andalucia Masters, which had been scheduled to take place from April 30-May 3 at Valderrama, has been called off due to travel restrictions in Spain.

European Tour chief executive Keith Pelley said: "We are all taking a day-by-day approach at the moment and we continue to assess the impact of Coronavirus on all our events, but following discussions with all parties involved it was clear that postponing the Estrella Damm N.A. Andalucia Masters hosted by the Sergio Garcia Foundation at this point is the correct course of action.

"Public health and well-being remains the absolute priority for all of us."

The Tour are looking into staging the tournament at a later date. The next full-field regular event is scheduled for May 21-24 in Denmark.


Tour de Yorkshire cancelled

The Tour de Yorkshire has been postponed along with major one-day races Paris-Roubaix and Liege-Bastogne-Liege as the coronavirus outbreak continued to rip up cycling's spring calendar.

The sixth edition of the Tour de Yorkshire was due to be staged from April 30 to May 3, but a joint statement from Welcome To Yorkshire and the Amaury Sports Organisation (ASO) said alternative dates would be sought.

The announcement came less than an hour after ASO had announced that Paris-Roubaix and Liege-Bastogne-Liege, two of the five Monuments which make up the biggest one-day races on the calendar, would be postponed along with La Fleche Wallone, with all three races having been scheduled for April.

"Following consultation with stakeholders and sponsors Welcome to Yorkshire held in depth and constructive discussions with both ASO and British Cycling (both TDY race partners) with all parties in agreement that this is the right and responsible course of action," a Tour de Yorkshire statement said.

"The sixth edition of the annual cycle race was scheduled to take place between 30th April and 3rd May 2020 but the developing situation with regards to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) means continuing with the event as planned simply became untenable."

Joshua-Pulev could be delayed

Anthony Joshua celebrates after beating Andy Ruiz Jr

Promoter Eddie Hearn has admitted Anthony Joshua's next world heavyweight title defence against Kubrat Pulev could be pushed back a month to July.

Joshua is scheduled to face the Bulgarian at Tottenham's new stadium on June 20, but that date could now be required by the club for a potential extension of the Premier League campaign.

Hearn, whose Matchroom organisation earlier confirmed the postponement of all boxing events in March and April, once again dismissed the prospect of any of his major bouts being staged behind closed doors.

Referring to the June 20 date, Hearn told Sky Sports News: "At the moment it's still in place.

"Obviously with the news of the Euros being cancelled (Euro 2020 has been postponed until next year) and the possible extension of the Premier League season, Spurs may need that stadium in June.

"We do have an option to run that fight in July as well at the same stadium. Everything now is really a case-by-case situation and a day-by-day situation of trying to think on your feet.

"June 20 is a long time away, it's still in our plans and we have been speaking to Tottenham to make sure we're all on the same page and that we know we have the same strategy moving forward."

Prior to Joshua's bout with Pulev, Dillian Whyte is scheduled to meet Alexander Povetkin on May 2 and Dereck Chisora is set to face Oleksandr Usyk on May 23 - both bouts which Hearn says are "subject to change".


French Open put back to September

Novak Djokovic in action at Roland Garros

The French Open has been postponed and will now take place from September 20 to October 4 due to the coronavirus pandemic, organisers have announced.


Barnet make 'heart-breaking' decision to make non-playing staff redundant

Non-league Barnet have put all non-playing staff on notice of redundancy as a result of the coronavirus.

Having controversially allowed matches to be played over the weekend, the National League announced on Monday that all three of its divisions would be suspended until early April due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Barnet's trip to Yeovil was among the games that did not go ahead due to the ongoing issues and the side 11th in the National League standings have moved to cut costs.

Approximately 60 non-playing staff are being made redundant in "difficult decisions" that Bees chairman Tony Kleanthous believes were important to make sure the club "continues to survive and remains financially stable".

"I have to be open and honest with the staff and it's been a difficult past few days having to deliver the bad news but it's something that had to be done," Kleanthous said.

"I have not had time to think about plans for next season yet, but we will have to find a way to move forward based upon our current crowd attendance because existing National League rules limit any signings we can make or players' salaries we can commit to going forward.

"The knock-on effects are of course heart-breaking for me personally as I am fully aware of how this will impact my phenomenal team of hard-working support staff across the group."

Barnet were relegated from League Two in 2018, meaning parachute funding from the professional game for the academy will soon cease.

A club statement read: "Over the past few days, we have taken emergency measures to preserve the club and ensure it remains sustainable.

"Since relegation, we have seen a general drop in crowd attendances of 50 per cent, whilst general costs have increased resulting in operational losses of approximately £100,000 per month.

"The club budgeted for this cost in the hope of promotion but of course, at the end of April, all of our parachute funding will cease and we need to therefore make savings accordingly."


Copa America also put back

Copa America 2020 has been posted until the summer of 2021, CONMEBOL has announced.

The 47th edition of the tournament will now take place between June 11 to July 11, 2021 - running at the same time as Euro 2021, which has also been put back 12 months due to the coronavirus pandemic.

CONMEBOL president Alejandro Dominguez said: "It is an extraordinary measure for an unexpected situation, and therefore responds to the fundamental need to avoid an exponential evolution of the virus; already present in all the countries of the member associations of the confederation.

"CONMEBOL has not been easy to make this decision, but we must safeguard at all times the health of our athletes and of all the agents who are part of the great family of South American football."


All UK horse racing suspended

The British Horseracing Authority have confirmed that all race meetings are to be cancelled in the UK until the end of April amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The meetings at Wetherby and Taunton on Tuesday took place behind closed doors but on on Monday evening the Randox Health Grand National Festival at Aintree was cancelled and the governing body confirmed the whole sport was being brought to a halt less than 24 hours later.

At this stage meetings in Ireland continue behind closed doors.

Full story


Euro 2020 moved to next summer

UEFA have confirmed the decision to postpone the European Championship until 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

European football stakeholders convened on Tuesday to discuss the impact and fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Euro 2020 has been chief among the topics and the widely-expected delay to the tournament was announced by football's governing body in Norway.

In a post on Twitter, the NFF said: "UEFA has decided that the European Championship is postponed to 2021. It will be played from 11 June to 11 July next year. More information coming."

Full story


Hales in isolation

England batsman Alex Hales has revealed he is in self-isolation after developing coronavirus symptoms.

The 31-year-old returned home early from the Pakistan Super League on Saturday, and began feeling ill on Sunday.

Hales is awaiting a test to confirm whether he has the virus.


More darts cancellations

The forthcoming PDC Unicorn Development Tour events on March 21-22 and the Players Championship weekend on March 28-29 are to be postponed.

Three nights of the Unibet Premier League and a trio of PDC European Tour events have already been postponed due to the ongoing worldwide situation.

With restrictions being implemented in the UK alongside further worldwide measures, the PDC has opted to postpone the next two weekends of non-televised events.

This means that the year's second Development Tour weekend, which was set to feature four tournaments in Wigan, as well as the new Players Championship double-header in Milton Keynes have now been postponed.


WST postpone Tour Championship

WST (World Snooker Tour) and ITV Sport have taken the decision to postpone this week's Coral Tour Championship in Llandudno as a precaution against the spread of coronavirus.

The event was due to run from Tuesday to Sunday, televised by ITV4.


Pakistan Super League postponed

The Pakistan Super League has announced the competition has been postponed, on the day the semi-finals were due to take place.

The matches between Multan Sultans and Peshawar Zalmi, and Karachi Kings against Lahore Qalandars, will be rescheduled.

A number of English players, including Alex Hales, Tom Banton and James Vince, would likely have been involved in the semi-finals but they had already left the country due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Moeen Ali, Ravi Bopara and Chris Jordan were among those expected to feature in Lahore on Tuesday.

The final was scheduled to be played on Wednesday.


NFL delay off-season start

The NFL have made dramatic changes to their off-season plans due to the impact of coronavirus, including banning access to all team facilities for two weeks.

Teams with new head coaches were scheduled to begin their offseason programme on April 6, while April 20 was the date for the rest of the league's teams to begin training. However the governing body have ruled those activities will not commence as planned.

Full story


Kentucky Derby postponed until September

The Kentucky Derby, the first jewel of American horse racing’s Triple Crown, has been postponed from May until September 5.

It will be the first time since World War II, the Derby will not take place on the first Saturday in May.

Full story


UFC postpone next three fight nights

The UFC has postponed its next three events owing to the coronavirus.

Despite White House advice issued last week to limit mass gatherings to 50 people, organisers had planned to move ahead with UFC Fight Night events on March 21, March 28 and April 11.

However, at a press briefing on Monday President Donald Trump said the US government would be taking further measures to curb the spread of Covid-19, including restricting gatherings to just 10 people.

UFC president Dana White told ESPN the new restrictions made it impossible for the company to run its events as scheduled.

"We are ready to go live on ESPN on Saturday night from Firelake Arena ... in Oklahoma City," White said.

"We have the card, we have the fighters, we have everything but obviously, the president just spoke to the country (and) now they're saying there should be no more than 10 in a room, and that's just impossible.

"We have no choice now but to postpone these fights."

Despite the three postponed events, White said the UFC's next pay-per-view event, UFC 249, was still scheduled to take place on April 18.


Grand National cancelled

Aintree's Grand National meeting has been abandoned due to the ongoing coronavirus epidemic.

The news broke on Monday evening, three hours after prime minister Boris Johnson had advised against public gatherings - including in pubs and restaurants, as well as sporting events.

"The Randox Health Grand National Festival was just three weeks away and it’s very clear to us it will not be possible for the event to take place. Public health must come first," said Sandy Dudgeon, Senior Steward of The Jockey Club.

"We were working on a plan to stage the Grand National behind closed doors given its importance to the racing industry and beyond, but following the new Government measures confirmed this evening to help to tackle the coronavirus outbreak, this is not a viable option.

"I know this is hugely disappointing news for the many people who work in our sport and the many millions who were looking forward to this year’s event, but very sadly these are exceptional times and this is the responsible thing to do."

Full story


Valencia confirm positive tests

Valencia have confirmed "around 35 per cent" of their players and backroom staff have tested positive for coronavirus.

The LaLiga club played the second leg of their Champions League tie against Italian side Atalanta last Tuesday having lost the first leg in Milan on February 19.

A statement on Valencia's official website said: "Several further tests for the Covid-19 coronavirus amongst Valencia CF coaching staff and players have come back positive.

"All cases are asymptomatic and those involved are currently isolated at home, receiving medical assessment and carrying out their scheduled training plan.

"Despite the strict measures adopted by the club after their UEFA Champions League game against Atalanta on February 19 in Milan - an area confirmed as 'high risk' by the Italian authorities days afterwards - which included maintaining a distance between the squad and club employees/the general public, these latest results show that the exposure inherent to such matches has caused a positive test rate of around 35 per cent."


No fans at snooker event

Following Monday's advice from the UK Government, the World Snooker Tour announced that there will be no access for fans at this week’s Coral Tour Championship.


Premier League Darts scheduled

The Unibet Premier League night at the Utilita Arena in Newcastle planned for Thursday March 19 has been postponed and will be rescheduled for Thursday October 1.

The decision to postpone Thursday's planned event was taken following the UK Government's restriction on "non-essential social contact" and decision to remove emergency service support for mass gatherings.

Thursday's event in Newcastle becomes the third Premier League night of the 2020 season to be postponed, following last week's announcement moving the Rotterdam double-header to September 9-10.

Full story


PFA Awards cancelled

The Professional Footballers' Association's annual awards ceremony has been postponed, the players' union has announced.

The 2020 PFA Awards will not take place as scheduled on Sunday, April 26 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

In a statement on its official website, the PFA said: "This crisis extends far beyond the world of football and we must take steps in accordance with the welfare of the wider general public.

"The current situation does not lend itself to mass gatherings of this nature and given the uncertainty of when the current season might end and the potential threats to the health of our members and guests the event is not feasible at this time.

"We hope that by making this early decision it provides clarity moving forward and we hope to be in a position to reschedule the event later in the year."


Grassroots football called off

The Football Association has advised that "all grassroots football in England is postponed for the foreseeable future".

Professional football in England was suspended on Friday before the National League followed suit on Monday after the Government announced it would no longer be supporting mass gatherings with emergency workers and avoid social contact where possible.

An FA statement read: "Following the Government's announcement today, for people to avoid social contact and gatherings where possible, we are now advising that all grassroots football in England is postponed for the foreseeable future.

"Throughout this period, we have taken Government advice with the priority being the health and well-being of all. We will continue to work closely with the grassroots game during this time.

"We are in regular communication with the Government and the situation within English football at all levels remains under regular review. Further updates will follow as needed."

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Gallagher Premiership suspend for a month

The Gallagher Premiership has been postponed for five weeks due to the coronavirus outbreak, Premiership Rugby has announced.

The Heineken Champions Cup and Challenge Cup quarter-finals, which were due to take place from April 3-5, have also been postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak.

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The Boat Race cancelled

The Boat Race, scheduled to take place on March 29, has been cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak, organisers have announced.

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NI Premier League suspended

Northern Premier League officials bowed to the seemingly inevitable on Monday and announced a suspension of their fixtures with immediate effect.

The move came just hours after Whitby Town manager Chris Hardy slammed non-league's failure to show strong leadership on the coronavirus crisis as a "farcical" situation that "could ruin leagues and reputations".

The NPL had pressed ahead with the majority of fixtures at the weekend and 17 games were scheduled to take place on Tuesday - including Whitby's trip to FC United of Manchester - before the move came to suspend.

The NPL said in a statement: "The Northern Premier League has today decided, reluctantly, to suspend all fixtures until further notice in light of the escalating Covid-19 outbreak.

"The League would like to congratulate the players, officials, volunteers and fans of clubs able to stage games at the weekend and notes the excellent attendances at those fixtures.

"Whilst the primary responsibility of the League is to the financial sustainability of its member clubs, the number of clubs reporting players or officials in self-isolation has now reached a point at which continuing to play games would severely undermine the integrity of the competition."


Boxing qualifiers called off

The Olympic boxing qualifier in London has been cancelled with immediate effect, officials have announced.

The tournament, which began on Saturday, was moved behind closed doors on Monday, but the escalating crisis forced its abandonment.

A statement read: "In light of significant recent changes in the Coronavirus situation and growing concerns relating to the welfare of athletes, officials, staff and volunteers, the IOC's Boxing Task Force (BTF) has taken the decision to cancel the rest of the Road to Tokyo Boxing Qualifier from Tuesday 17 March 2020.

"The decision has been made in conjunction with the Local Organising Committee (LOC) of the Boxing Road to Tokyo Qualifying event amid the increasing global travel restrictions and quarantine measures which are impacting on the travel plans of athletes, teams and officials and affecting their ability to return home."


More calls for Olympics to be postponed

Britain's Guy Learmonth has called on the International Olympic Committee to postpone the Olympics due to the coronavirus pandemic in order to give athletes "some clarity, transparency and flexibility".

Learmonth, who captained the GB team at the European Indoor Championships last year and hopes to compete in the 800 metres in Tokyo, favours delaying the Games until at least October or possibly even until 2021 or 2022.

The 27-year-old told the Guardian: "We have no idea how bad this is going to get, and what we have seen so far might be the tip of the iceberg.

"Of course the IOC and the whole world wants a successful Olympics. But for that to happen I strongly believe the event needs to be postponed, unless the authorities can guarantee it will be business as usual, which I don't believe they can.

"Purely from an athlete's point of view here, we need some clarity, transparency and flexibility. Because the press conference that I saw from the Japanese prime minister didn't exactly fill me full of confidence that these Games are going to go ahead whatsoever.

"We have to be realistic. If the British government are saying the peak is going to hit us around May or June there might not even be any Olympic trials. The Australians have already had theirs cancelled and I fear that this is going to be happening a lot throughout Europe as the weeks and months go by.

"I'd be happy if they postponed until at least October, or maybe later to 2021 or 2022. At least that would give the athletes time to now plan, train, and more importantly, time for this virus to settle down."

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Saturday the country is hopeful of hosting the Olympics this summer "without a hitch".


Australian rugby shut down until May

Club rugby around the entirety of Australia has been shut down until at least the first week of May because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The nationwide postponement covers matches, training and face-to-face education courses.

A statement from Rugby Australia said: "Following a meeting of the National Development Panel, Rugby Australia along with the State and Territory Member Unions have unanimously agreed to postpone all community Rugby until the first week of May, effective immediately."


Pakistan v Bangladesh called off

Pakistan have announced the third leg of Bangladesh's visit, comprising of one Test and one one-day international, next month will be put back to a later date.

Bangladesh were due to arrive in Karachi to play an ODI on April 1 followed by the second Test which would have ran from April 5-9, having lost the opener in Rawalpindi last month by an innings.

However, the Pakistan Cricket Board said the countries "will now work together to identify a future opportunity to complete the ICC World Test Championship commitment".


New Zealand cricket postponed

New Zealand Cricket has announced the cancellation of the last two rounds of its domestic first-class competition after taking advice from medical experts.

Wellington Firebirds, who finished the truncated season 26 points ahead of Central Stags, have therefore been awarded the 2019-20 Plunket Shield.

"The strong consensus within NZC is that extra measures need to be taken to safeguard both the health and well-being of the New Zealand cricket family and the wider public interest," NZC chief executive David White said.

"The medical advice we're receiving is that we need to take a lead on this matter.

"We're informed the risk is very real; the pace of change is great - and we have a duty of care to not only our staff and players but our communities as well."


Racing to go behind closed doors

Racing in Britain is set to move behind closed doors later in the week, initially until the end of March, the British Horseracing Authority has announced.

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