The Latest on the effects of the coronavirus outbreak on sports around the world:
The Atlanta Hawks and State Farm are funding support for a new project to provide 4,000 meals each week to approximately 1,000 healthcare workers treating coronavirus patients at Atlanta hospitals.
The project also will allow two Atlanta restaurants to rehire employees who had been laid off due to the pandemic.
The project will deliver meals to six Emory Healthcare hospitals five times each week.
The meals are being prepared by restaurants Forza Storico and Miller Union. Each restaurant, like many in Atlanta, had temporarily closed and laid off employees due to the coronavirus.
The Hawks say the meal program, which began Friday, will continue four weeks and is expected to be expanded to possibly involve more restaurants.
English soccer should be braced for “difficult decisions” to try and ease the financial effects from the season suspended because of the coronavirus crisis.
The Premier League released a statement after talks with the English Football League and Professional Footballers’ Association, saying they also “agreed to work together to arrive at shared solutions.”
Last week, restarting the season was pushed back to April 30, and will resume “only when it is safe and conditions allow.”
“Further meetings will take place next week with a view to formulating a joint plan to deal with the difficult circumstances facing the leagues, their clubs, players, staff and fans.”
Clubs are already feeling the pinch: Second-tier Championship club Birmingham was the first to ask some players to defer 50% of their salaries, while at Championship leader Leeds, the players, coaching staff and senior management volunteered to defer their salaries to try and put off redundancies at their club.
ESPN NBA broadcaster Doris Burke, a Curt Gowdy Award recipient by the Basketball Hall of Fame for excellence in her field, has revealed that she tested positive for the coronavirus.
Burke made the announcement Friday on an ESPN podcast hosted by NBA reporter Adrian Wojnarowski.
Burke says she started feeling extreme fatigue on March 11, the day the NBA was shut down once it was learned that Utah center Rudy Gobert tested positive. Burke was assigned the Denver-Dallas game on that date for ESPN and fought through her symptoms to work that night.
She said she had a three-day period of such deep fatigue that she couldn’t remain out of bed for more than five minutes at a time. She was eventually tested and received the results on Wednesday — eight days after being swabbed.
By then, she was feeling better and said on the podcast that she was appreciative of the health-care workers who saw her. “I’m so incredibly thankful to be feeling well,” Burke said.
Lakers superstar Anthony Davis is getting involved with a pair of community initiatives to help Los Angeles-area hospital employees and Staples Center workers.
Davis says he is teaming up with Lineage Logistics to match up to $250,000 in donations to an organization providing free meals to health care workers during the coronavirus pandemic. The initiative is a partnership with the World Food Kitchen, led by famed chef José Andrés.
Davis and Lineage also announced an initiative to offer jobs with Lineage to Staples Center employees in the upcoming weeks and months while no sports are being played in the Lakers’ home arena, which they share with the Los Angeles Clippers and the NHL’s Kings. Lineage operates refrigerated warehouses in the Los Angeles area and around the world.
Davis is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent this summer after his first season with the Lakers, but the Anthony Davis Family Foundation is already involved in numerous charitable ventures in the Los Angeles area. The seven-time NBA All-Star is widely expected to re-sign with the Lakers.
The mountain bike world championships in Albstadt, Germany, from June 25-28 have been postponed because of the coronavirus outbreak.
Officials of the city, German federation and cycling governing body UCI will talk next week to try and set new dates.
The UCI reiterated world championships have priority in a revised calendar.
The worlds follow the postponement or cancellation of 11 World Cups in the cross-country, downhill and eliminator disciplines.
Boston Celtics coach Brad Stevens says guard Marcus Smart is doing well and remains in good spirits following his positive test for coronavirus last week.
Smart announced his diagnosis on March 19, seven days after Utah Jazz All-Stars Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell tested positive for COVID-19. Boston played the Utah Jazz on March 6.
Celtics players and staff were also tested as a precaution and those tests have all come back negative.
Stevens said he and team officials have been checking in with Smart and the rest of the team regularly via conference calls.
“I’m proud of how he kind of took the initiative to tell people that he had it and that he felt good and that he got online, just continued to ask people to practice social distancing and self-isolation right now,” Stevens said. “It’s just, you know, it’s a really unique, unsettling time for everyone.”
— Kyle Hightower reporting from Boston
The LPGA Tour now has two majors that have been rescheduled because of the new coronavirus.
With the Olympics postponed until 2021, the Evian Championship in France will be two weeks later on Aug. 6-9. That was supposed to be the week of women’s golf in the Olympics.
Moving back the Evian will create a little room on the LPGA schedule when golf resumes. It also makes travel more practical for the players. The new date for the Evian Championship is one week before the Ladies Scottish Open east of Edinburgh, and two weeks before the Women’s British Open at Royal Troon.
The LPGA previously rescheduled the ANA Inspiration in Rancho Mirage, California, from April 2-5 until Sept. 10-13.
At Augusta National, kids who qualified for this year’s Drive, Chip and Putt will get to compete on the Sunday before next year’s Masters. They will compete in the same age division for which they qualified. That means there won’t be any qualifying for new participants until next year.
Oilers captain Connor McDavid says he elected to stay put in Edmonton rather than risk traveling home to suburban Toronto.
McDavid says he didn’t want to take the chance of going through crowded airports and contract the new coronavirus in fear of potentially spreading it to his parents and grandparents. He says the NHL being on hiatus also allows him to break in the new home he built, which also includes a gym.
McDavid spoke on a league-hosted video conference call featuring Pacific Division players on Friday.
With the season on hold, players have been told to self-isolate until at least April 4. To date, three NHL players have tested positive for the virus: two with Ottawa and the third with Colorado.
Good news for all those who have already qualified for the Tokyo Olympics: You’re in for 2021.
Olympic officials have confirmed that the 6,200 or so athletes who had already punched their ticket for Tokyo will keep their spots for the rescheduled games next year.
It resolves one of the key questions for marathoners, open-water swimmers and hundreds of other athletes whose qualifying process came early in the 2020 sports calendar, before the coronavirus started shutting down sports across the globe.
Still to be determined is how the Isports that make up the Olympics will allocate all the spots at the rescheduled games. Typically, the individual sports determine their qualifying procedures for Olympic events.
World Athletics president Seb Coe confirmed that all sports have agreed to the IOC’s proposal that all athletes currently qualified for the Olympics will remain qualified for next year.
In track, he said that accounts for about half the places. He said the important next step is to develop a fair process for the rest of the athletes, most of whom have seen their qualifying events postponed.
The National Professional Soccer League has canceled its 2020 summer season because of the new coronavirus outbreak.
Considered a fourth-tier circuit in the U.S., the NPSL is affiliated with the United States Adult Soccer Association. The NPSL started play in 2003 and had planned to expand from 91 to 94 teams this season.
The league was to have entered 14 teams in the U.S. Open Cup, which was suspended because of the pandemic.
The NPSL summer season had been set to start in May and end in early August. The league said Friday that many of its venues would be unavailable after that because they are on college and school campuses.
Global players’ union FIFPro has called on soccer clubs to stop firing players or cutting their salaries before talks.
FIFPro says it’s “extremely concerned” that clubs in several countries “have begun to immediately lay off players or unilaterally reduce their salaries” because of the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Netherlands-based union says many players worldwide earn at or below average domestic income “and would be severely affected by salary decreases.”
One club in Switzerland, Sion, terminated the contracts of nine players including former Arsenal pair Johan Djourou and Alexandre Song, who declined to accept reduced wages in a federal unemployment insurance program.
FIFPro, which represents 65,000 men’s and women’s players, urges “clubs with short-term financial difficulties to meet with national player unions to negotiate fair and proportionate arrangements.”
The International Ski Federation (FIS) has postponed its presidential election at a biennial congress for at least three months due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Hosts for some world championships, including Alpine skiing in 2025, were also due to be voted on at May 17-23 meetings in Thailand.
FIS says it hopes to reschedule “in the autumn (fall) of this year,” possibly at a different location.
Candidates to succeed 22-year incumbent Gian Franco Kasper as president, and for seats on the FIS ruling council, must be declared 30 days before the rescheduled elections.
The three candidates for Alpine worlds in 2025 are: Saalbach, Austria; Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany; Crans-Montana, Switzerland.
Atlético Madrid has followed Barcelona’s lead and announced it will reduce its players’ and coaches’ salaries during the stoppage of competition due to the coronavirus crisis.
A day after Barcelona had done the same, Atlético said Friday that it will reduce its payroll temporarily “to ensure the future” of the club.
Neither Barcelona nor Atlético are saying how much they would slash salaries. The moves will not impact their players’ contracts.
Top-ranked tennis player Novak Djokovic, his wife and their foundation are donating 1 million euros (about $1.1 million) to help buy ventilators and other medical equipment for hospitals in Serbia.
Djokovic says his foundation’s staff “will be monitoring everything” to get the equipment in place.
His wife, Jelena, is the global director of the Novak Djokovic Foundation. She says ventilators needed to help COVID-19 patients range in price from 10,000 to 50,000 euros ($11,000 to $55,000).
The 32-year-old Djokovic won the Australian Open in January for his 17th Grand Slam title. Among men, only Roger Federer, with 20, and Rafael Nadal, with 19, have won more.
Jae Crowder of the Miami Heat has donated $15,000 to Boston-based custom slide sandal company ISlide.
That money will go entirely to the company’s affected workers.
Crowder is an ISlide investor and says he felt compelled to give because he knows workers there are in need.
Crowder says “to see the potential negative business impact from this outbreak compelled me to help in any way I could.”
Turkish basketball team Fenerbahce says one of its players and three members of the technical and administrative personnel have tested positive for the coronavirus.
Fenerbahce says none of the four have been hospitalized. They were being isolated and monitored at home.
The player and three staff members were not named.
The Evian Masters women’s golf tournament has been moved to August because of the coronavirus outbreak.
The event originally scheduled for July 23-26 will now be held on Aug. 6-9 at the Evian Resort Golf Club.
Evian is one of the five majors on the women’s circuit.
The decision was made by the LPGA Tour, the Ladies European Tour and Evian organizers.
LPGA Commissioner Mike Whan says “this adjustment makes for easier travel for players and assists us as we look to reschedule previously postponed events.”
The women’s British Open is scheduled to be held two weeks after Evian.
The Russian anti-doping agency is suspending all tests for 10 days in response to measures implemented by the government to fight the coronavirus.
The move comes after President Vladimir Putin told Russians except those working in essential sectors to stay home next week.
RUSADA deputy CEO Margarita Pahnotskaya tells The Associated Press the testing suspension covers a longer period because of the risk of staff being stranded away from home. Tests stopped Friday and will resume on April 6.
Pakhnotskaya says the World Anti-Doping Agency has been notified.
She says “we studied all the consequences and agreed we should follow the order. And it was agreed with WADA. I wrote them a letter yesterday.”
The Diamond League has postponed three more track meets because of the coronavirus outbreak.
The events in Stockholm on May 24, Naples and Rome on May 28, and Rabat, Morocco, on May 31 have all been postponed with no new dates set.
The first six events of the year have been called off and only the Shanghai meet has been given a new date. The Prefontaine Classic in Eugene, Oregon, on June 7 is now the first scheduled event on the calendar.
The Diamond League says “the meeting organizers, the Wanda Diamond League and World Athletics remain committed to delivering a structured extensive season in 2020.”
Spanish soccer club Barcelona says it will reduce the salaries of its players amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Barcelona says its executive board has decided to temporarily suspend player contracts. That produces a “proportional reduction of the remuneration provided for in the respective contracts.”
The players’ contracts will remain intact during the job suspension.
Employers in Spain are allowed to reduce labor costs while guaranteeing that workers will return to their jobs once conditions improve.
The club says it has not decided by how much the salaries will be lowered.
A Russia-based basketball league with teams in five countries has abandoned its season without declaring a champion because of the coronavirus outbreak.
VTB United League CEO Ilona Korstin says it’s not appropriate to continue the season “in the current situation when borders are closed, teams can’t train at basketball arenas and clubs have to allow foreign players to go home.”
Korstin says the league will start preparing for the 2020-21 season.
Russian club BC Khimki was leading the league with an 18-1 record when it was suspended.
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