Corona Virus: Impact on sports

02 Jun 2020 | By Sun International


Corona Virus: Impact on sports

The current global pandemic has severely affected every sphere of our lives and sports has not been immune to it’s devastating and far-reaching effects. As a result, global sporting events has just about come to a grinding halt with few exceptions.

Many of the leading sports bodies have postponed leagues, tournaments and events with intentions of returning to action as soon as things return to normal. We will strive to keep our audience updated on the official decisions taken by the governing bodies of the future of each sport.

As of 1 June, 2020

Soccer

England

The Premier League's planned restart on Jun 17 received a further boost on Saturday when the latest batch of novel coronavirus tests produced no positive results. "The Premier League can today confirm that on Thursday 28 May and Friday 29 May, 1,130 players and club staff were tested for COVID-19. Of these, zero have tested positive," the league said in a statement. In the three previous rounds of testing since players resumed training, there were 12 positives. Up to six Premier League games are set to take place at neutral venues at the request of local police forces. Those matches include; Manchester City v Liverpool; Manchester City v Newcastle; Manchester United v Sheffield United; Newcastle v Liverpool; Everton v Liverpool; and the game in which Liverpool could win the league.

The quarter-finals of the FA Cup, English club soccer’s top knockout cup competition, have been rescheduled for the weekend of 27th-28th June, with the semi-finals now set for 18th-19th July. The final will be held on 1st August.

England's second-tier Championship plans to resume play on June 20, the English Football League (EFL) said on Sunday. Clubs are set to return to full-contact training this week, with the government saying that competitive sport in England can resume from Monday behind closed doors provided strict conditions are met. "Whilst matches will, unfortunately, have to take place without supporters, we are working with our broadcast partners, EFL Championship Clubs and all relevant stakeholders to broadcast the remaining 108 games," EFL chairman Rick Parry said in a statement. The EFL said the Championship play-off final would be on or around July 30. It was also agreed to consider changing the regulations to allow the use of five substitutes in the remaining fixtures and an increase in the matchday squad from 18 to 20 players.

Ten individuals from eight Championship clubs tested positive for novel coronavirus in the latest round of tests, the English Football League (EFL) confirmed on Saturday. In a statement, the EFL said 1,058 players and staff from England's 24 second-tier clubs had been tested for the virus on Thursday and Friday. Championship clubs have unanimously agreed to try to complete the season while League Two clubs are in favour of curtailing the campaign. Clubs in League One (third tier) have so far failed to reach an agreement on how to end the season.

Japan

Japan’s top-flight J.League will resume on 4th July. Clubs will initially play nearby opponents in order to minimise travel, while other countermeasures will be put in place in order to reduce the risk of infections.

Brazil

Rio de Janeiro side Vasco da Gama said on Sunday that 16 players had tested positive for COVID-19, the news coming a day before the state's clubs are due to restart training after a two-month coronavirus shutdown. The club said the 16 players, out of 43 tested, would be isolated. Another three had already recovered from the disease. Players in Rio de Janeiro will be allowed to undergo physical tests and undertake individual training routines from Monday but contact training is not yet permitted. Other states have yet to rule on when their clubs can restart full training.

USA

The Major League Soccer Players Association (MLSPA) said its members voted on Sunday to approve a package of concessions for the 2020 season with cuts in salaries and bonuses across the player pool. Some teams resumed individual player workouts last month and the league last week gave clubs the green light to begin outdoor training sessions in small groups providing they do not conflict with health protocols. The MLSPA said players had also agreed to participate in a summer tournament in Florida. The Athletic has reported the June tournament would involve all 26 MLS teams.

The MLS expansion club in Charlotte will reveal its name in June, team president Tom Glick said. Charlotte and Austin FC will become the league’s 27th and 28th teams beginning with the 2021 season. Clubs in Sacramento and St. Louis will join in 2022.

Tennis

Dominic Thiem, Nick Kyrgios, Kiki Bertens, and Elina Svitolina are among the men’s and women’s pros set to compete in grass and hard-court events in Berlin in July. Six men and six women will compete on grass from July 13-15 at Steffi Graf Stadium before moving to a hard court in a hangar at Tempelhof Airport from July 17-19, according to Agence France-Presse. “I am curious to see where I stand with my tennis,” said Germany’s Alexander Zverev, who will join Austria’s Thiem and Australia’s Kyrgios in the field. The Netherlands’ Bertens and Ukraine’s Svitolina will be joined by Germany’s Julia Goerges and Andrea Petkovic. The remaining players will be announced at a later date. The tournament has a prize pool of $220,000, split evenly among the men’s and women’s events.

F1

Austria's health ministry on Saturday gave the green light to two Formula One motor races on July 8 and 12 - the delayed season-openers - to be held without spectators.

Golf

The Mackenzie Tour-PGA Tour Canada said on Friday it had decided to cancel its 2020 season. The tour for up-and-coming players, which is owned and operated by the PGA Tour, had planned to hold a record 13 events this year across Canada. “With growing uncertainty surrounding the border and the 14-day quarantine regulations, among other factors, we’ve weighed all of our options and concluded that it is not feasible to play this summer,” Scott Pritchard, the Mackenzie Tour’s executive director, said in a news release.

NBA

Commissioner Adam Silver has informed the league’s Board of Governors that he hopes to restart the season on July 31, the Athletic reported on Friday. The Athletic said the NBA discussed four competition scenarios, ranging from all 30 teams completing a reduced 72-game regular season to having the top 16 teams go directly to the playoffs. It is unclear where the games would be played or whether spectators would be allowed to attend.

MLB

The MLBPA delivered a proposal to restart the season to the league on Sunday afternoon suggesting a longer, 114-game regular season that would begin in late June and run until Oct. 31. The union’s proposal also included the potential for salary deferrals in the case of a canceled postseason, Yahoo Sports confirmed. Players expressed extreme disappointment with a Tuesday proposal from MLB that sought to play a 78- to an 82-game season with players taking pay cuts on a sliding scale that went beyond prorating their salaries. The union proposal instead seeks prorated salaries, as it contends was agreed upon in a March deal between the two parties.

The union proposal also includes these stipulations:

Deferrals of $100 million should the postseason get canceled. That would reportedly apply to contracts of $10 million or more.

Opt-outs for any players who do not wish to play amid the coronavirus pandemic, with “high-risk” players receiving their salaries while others would continue to receive service time.

A $100 million advance to players during the “spring training” that would lead up to the shortened season.

Two years of postseason expansion.

According to MLB Network’s Jon Heyman, ownership reaction to this proposal echoed the union’s negative reaction to earlier ideas, with a source calling it a “non-starter.”

There has been “no evidence of progress” in the discussions between MLB and the MLBPA as the two sides negotiate the economic provisions of a potential 2020 season, reports Jon Heyman of MLB Network. As such, there’s no reason to believe the parties will reach an agreement ahead of the “soft” June 1 deadline. That said, Heyman adds that there’s still hope to begin the season on the weekend of July 4 as intended, though for that to become a reality the two sides will need to come to an agreement in the next ten or so days. Heyman cites June 5-9 as the target dates for a deal.

MotoGP

Japan will not have a MotoGP round for the first time since 1986 after organisers on Monday cancelled the Oct. 18 race at Motegi due to the COVID-19 pandemic that will keep the series in Europe until mid-November. The race is a home one for champions Honda as well as manufacturers Yamaha and Suzuki. It is the sixth on the 2020 calendar to be cancelled.

Rugby

World Rugby has rejected a proposal for an unofficial World Cup event next year aimed at boosting the game’s finances after the coronavirus stoppage. Former Rugby Football Union CEO Francis Baron had put forward a plan for a six-week 16-team invitational tournament in the UK and Ireland which he said could raise up to 250 million pounds shared among all unions involved. “World Rugby does not intend to pursue such a proposal,” the governing body said in a statement on Wednesday.

The French Top 14 rugby union season is to be abandoned after the league’s organisers (LNR) and the club presidents reached an agreement to call off the campaign, the LNR said on Thursday. The LNR has yet to decide whether any club will be named champions.

Cricket

Australia (CA) has asked the International Cricket Council (ICC) to postpone this year's men's Twenty20 World Cup for 12 months, according to an email leaked to the Times of India.