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Coronavirus impact on sporting world—Champions League matches, IPL 2020 postponed

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The Coronavirus has started to take its toll on the entire planet, with the World Health Organization (WHO) officially declaring it a global pandemic. Here, FOX Sports Asia brings you all the LIVE updates regarding the major developments happening in the world of sports due to COVID-19.


Update – 8:20 pm SGT, March 13: Bayern Munich midfielder Thiago Alcantara accused the German Football League (DFL) of being “irresponsible and imprudent” for allowing this weekend’s Bundesliga matches to go ahead amid the coronavirus outbreak.

All LaLiga, Ligue 1, Premier League and Serie A matches have been postponed with immediate effect due to the continued spread of COVID-19, while Bayern’s Champions League last-16 second leg with Chelsea next week has been called off by UEFA.

But the DFL announced on Friday all nine Bundesliga games will still be played behind closed doors this weekend, before a proposed two-week hiatus comes into effect from March 17.


Update – 7:35 pm SGT, March 13: Pakistan Super League (PSL) has rescheduled the tournament amidst Coronavirus outbreak threat.

The cash-rich T20 League, which was originally scheduled to conclude on March 22, will now end on March 18.


Update – 7:35 pm SGT, March 13: The German football league has proposed the suspension of the Bundesliga and 2. Bundesliga from March 17 until April 2 amid the coronavirus outbreak.

The continued spread of COVID-19 has wreaked havoc on the football and sporting calendar, with the top two leagues in Germany among many to be affected.

This weekend’s Bundesliga and 2. Bundesliga fixtures, including Bayern Munich’s trip to Hertha Berlin on Saturday, will largely go ahead as planned behind closed doors.


Update – 7:30 pm SGT, March 13: All Premier League and English Football League matches have been postponed up to and including April 3 amid the coronavirus crisis.

Confirmation came after meetings involving league officials and club representatives on Friday.

Synchronised Premier League and EFL announcements, released at 11:00 GMT, followed the news of Arsenal head coach Mikel Arteta and Chelsea teenager Callum Hudson-Odoi testing positive for the COVID-19 virus.

The UK Government said on Thursday it was not yet necessary to postpone major sporting fixtures, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson declaring there was “no medical reason at the moment to ban such events”.

However, the Premier League has taken the view that the time is right to call off games until the threat has subsided.


Update – 7:00 pm SGT, March 13: Fixtures in Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 have been suspended “until further notice” due to coronavirus, the Ligue de Football Professionnel has announced.

It was agreed earlier this week that all games would be played behind closed doors until April 15 but that has now been upgraded to postponements – and follows French government advice.

An LFP statement read: “Following the announcements from the president of the republic in order to respond to the health crisis linked to COVID-19, the LFP board of directors unanimously decided on Friday, March 13 to immediately suspend Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 until further notice.

“As the president pointed out on Thursday, collective interest must be placed above everything. The urgency today is to curb the epidemic, protect the most vulnerable and avoid displacement.”


Update – 6:35 pm SGT, March 13: UEFA have postponed Champions League and Europa League fixtures next week due to Coronavirus outbreak threat.


Update – 6:30 pm SGT, March 13: England and Sri Lanka Test series have been postponed due to COVID-19 threat.


Update – 6:15 pm SGT, March 13: Pakistan Super League (PSL) is set to continue as per schedule but according to the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB)’s press release, majority of the foreign players are set to fly back home and will not take part in any further matches.


Update – 5:20 pm SGT, March 13: Indian Premier League (IPL) has been postponed till April 15 amidst Coronavirus outbreak.


Update – 4:20 pm SGT, March 13: The ASEAN Basketball League (ABL) has announced an indefinite suspension of competitions due to the continued spread of COVID-19 in the region.


Update – 4:00 pm SGT, March 13: British media outlet BBC Sport are reporting that Chelsea have issued a statement regarding winger Callum Hudson-Odoi who has been tested positive for Coronavirus.

The club stated that the winger is doing well and is eager to return to the training ground as soon as possible.


Update – 3:50 pm SGT, March 13: Juventus correspondent of Goal.com Romeo Agresti, on his official Twitter account, has termed the rumour regarding Paulo Dybala being tested positive for Coronavirus as ‘FAKE NEWS’.


Update – 3:40 pm SGT, March 13: English media outlet Daily Mail are quoting El Nacional that Italian Serie A giants Juventus’ star forward Paulo Dybala has been tested positive for Coronavirus.


Update – 3:30 pm SGT, March 13: As per Press Trust of India, Delhi government are set to ban sports activities in wake of coronavirus threat.


Update – 11:30 am SGT, March 13: Australia pace-bowler Kane Richardson will miss the first ODI against New Zealand today after he got tested for COVID-19. He had reported a mild sore throat to Australia’s medical team yesterday.

As a precaution, Richardson has been quarantined and the results of the test are expected to arrive later this afternoon.

The three-match ODI series between Australia and New Zealand begins today. Sydney and Hobart are the venues, and all three games will be held behind closed doors due to fears of a potential Coronavirus outbreak.


Update – 10:45 am SGT, March 13: The PGA Tour has decided to cancel The Players Championship and upcoming tournaments.

The Players Championship, Valspar Championship, WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship and Texas Open have all been cancelled, the organisation said in a statement.

“We did everything possible to create a safe environment for our players in order to continue the event throughout the weekend, and we were endeavouring to give our fans a much-needed respite from the current climate,” the statement explained, before concluding:

“But at this point – and as the situation continues to rapidly change – the right thing to do for our players and our fans is to pause.”

It means the next tournament on the PGA Tour schedule is the Masters, due to start on April 9.


Update – 10:00 am SGT, March 13: Chelsea have confirmed that Callum Hudson-Odoi has tested positive for Coronavirus and that as a result, manager Frank Lampard, the coaching staff and senior squad have all been instructed to self-isolate.

“Chelsea men’s team player Callum Hudson-Odoi had a positive test result for Coronavirus returned this evening,” the club’s official statement read.

“Chelsea personnel who had recent close contact with the player in the men’s team building will now self-isolate in line with Government health guidelines. These will include initially the full men’s team squad, coaching staff and a number of backroom staff.”

An emergency meeting to discuss the Premier League’s future is set to take place on March 13, after Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta also tested positive for COVID-19.

Hudson-Odoi’s own diagnosis and the self-isolation of the Chelsea first-team squad and their coaches will now also be a key talking point as the league continues to consider how to respond.


Update – 9:30 am SGT, March 13: Brighton and Hove Albion have announced their Premier League fixture against Arsenal has been postponed after their manager Mikel Arteta tested positive for coronavirus.

Paul Barber, the Chief Executive of Brighton and Hove Albion said: “First and foremost, our thoughts are with Mikel Arteta and we wish him a speedy recovery.”

“It’s absolutely essential the health and wellbeing of individuals takes priority and with that in mind, Saturday’s match has been postponed.”

“We apologise to all fans for any inconvenience but trust everyone will understand that we are all facing an unprecedented situation.”

“The Premier League has announced this evening that they will convene an emergency meeting of all clubs tomorrow morning [Friday], and we will update supporters on future fixtures as and when we are in a position to do so.”


Update – 9:00 am SGT, March 13: NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has made it clear that the suspension of the competition is expected to continue for at least another 30 days.

It can hence be expected that the NBA will resume only in April.


Update – 7:30 am SGT, March 13: This weekend’s Australian Grand Prix (Australian GP), which was supposed to open the 2020 Formula 1 season in Melbourne, has been cancelled.

The news follows the McLaren racing team’s withdrawal from the race on Thursday after one of their team members tested positive for the Coronavirus (COVID-19).

The official statement issued jointly by F1, governing body the FIA and the Australian Grand Prix Corporation read:

“Following the confirmation that a member of the McLaren Racing Team has tested positive for COVID-19 and the team’s decision to withdraw from the Australian Grand Prix, Formula 1 and the FIA, with the full support of the Australian Grand Prix Corporation (AGPC) have taken the decision that all Formula 1 activity for the Australian GP are cancelled.”


Update – 6:30 am SGT, March 13: Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has tested positive for COVID-19 and the club’s entire squad are expected to self-isolate, the Gunners have confirmed.

The club said in a statement released on Thursday that its London Colney training centre has been closed as a result of the diagnosis.

“Arsenal personnel who had recent close contact with Mikel will now self-isolate in line with government health guidelines,” a statement from the Gunners read.

“We expect this to be a significant number of people from Colney, including the full first-team squad and coaching staff, as well as a smaller number of people from our Hale End Academy which we have also temporarily closed as a precaution.”

“We expect those who did not have close contact with Mikel to return to work in the coming days. In the meantime, our Colney and Hale End training centres will undergo a deep clean and our other club sites are operating as normal.”

“This is really disappointing but I took the test after feeling poorly,” Arteta said, before adding:

“I will be at work as soon as I’m allowed.”


Update – 6:30 am SGT, March 13: A Manchester City player is self-isolating as a precaution after a member of their family fell ill and was tested for Coronavirus. The player in question was not named by the club, but according to multiple media reports, it is first-team left-back Benjamin Mendy.

A club spokesperson said: “The club is aware that a family member of a senior men’s team player is in the hospital with symptoms of respiratory illness.”

“He has undergone tests at the hospital, one of which is for COVID-19. Until the results are known, the player in question is self-isolating as a precaution.”


Update – 6:30 am SGT, March 13: FIFA has confirmed this month’s South American qualifiers for the 2022 World Cup have been postponed due to the Coronavirus outbreak.

CONMEBOL had requested the postponement of games including Brazil v Bolivia and Argentina v Ecuador due to the pandemic, which has claimed nearly 5,000 lives worldwide.

In a statement released on Thursday, FIFA indicated a decision has not yet been made over when the two rounds of qualifiers, which were set for March 23-31, will be played.

“FIFA will continue to assess the situation in relation to COVID-19 and will decide whether further changes to the schedule of South American FIFA World Cup 2022 qualifiers are required, always with the aim of protecting the health and safety of all individuals involved,”” the body said.

CONMEBOL has also confirmed a temporary suspension of the Libertadores due to the COVID-19 pandemic.


Update – 3:00 am SGT, March 13: The remaining two ODIs between India and South Africa will also be played behind closed doors, the International Cricket Council announced.


Update – 3:00 am SGT, March 13: In rugby union, the Pro14 has been indefinitely suspended.

A statement said: “Resumption of the 2019-20 season will now become a matter of constant review. To this point, Pro14 Rugby has ensured that it has the latest information and guidance made available by the local and national authorities via our participating unions in the UK, Ireland, Italy and South Africa.”


Update – 3:00 am SGT, March 13: The next two NASCAR events at Atlanta Motor Speedway and Homestead-Miami Speedway over the next two weekends will be undertaken behind closed doors.


Update – 3:00 am SGT, March 13: Elsewhere in the USA, the NHL season has been paused.

Commissioner Gary Bettman said: “Following last night’s news that an NBA player has tested positive for coronavirus – and given that our leagues share so many facilities and locker rooms and it now seems likely that some member of the NHL community would test positive at some point – it is no longer appropriate to try to continue to play games at this time.”


Update – 3:00 am SGT, March 13: Leicester City boss Brendan Rodgers revealed three of his players have shown symptoms of coronavirus and have been isolated from their team-mates. Stats Perform understands all players put into isolation have only displayed mild symptoms, meaning they have not met the threshold to be tested for the virus.


Update – 3:00 am SGT, March 13: Bundesliga side Hannover confirmed the second case of coronavirus in their squad, with Jannes Horn following Timo Hubers in testing positive. All players from the German team will be under home quarantine for the next 14 days, with the club asking for their upcoming 2.Bundesliga games against Dynamo Dresden and Osnabruck to be called off.


Update – 3:00 am SGT, March 13: UEFA will hold a videoconference with European football stakeholders on Tuesday to discuss the response to the outbreak. The talks will include all domestic and European competitions, including Euro 2020.


Update – 3:00 am SGT, March 13: The PGA Tour will continue as scheduled, though fans will be barred from attending events starting from Friday at the Players Championship until the Texas Open, which finishes on April 5.


Update – 3:00 am SGT, March 13: A six-week suspension was implemented by the ATP Tour, which it said came in the wake of the World Health Organization declaring the spread of COVID-19 constituted a pandemic and 30-day travel restrictions imposed by the United States.

ATP chairman Andrea Gaudenzi said: “This is not a decision that was taken lightly and it represents a great loss for our tournaments, players, and fans worldwide. However, we believe this is the responsible action needed at this time in order to protect the health and safety of our players, staff, the wider tennis community and general public health in the face of this global pandemic.”

The WTA Tour was yet to follow suit, but the Miami Open has been scratched from its schedule after a state of emergency was declared in Miami-Dade County.


Update – 3:00 am SGT, March 13: NBA side Utah Jazz announced a second positive test for COVID-19. Donovan Mitchell confirmed he was the latest individual with the infection.


Update – 12:00 am SGT, March 13: La Liga, Eredivisie, MLS and the Portuguese Primeira Liga have been put on hiatus, while the UEFA Champions League games between Manchester City and Real Madrid, and Juventus and Lyon have officially been postponed.


Update – March 12: The outbreak of COVID-19 has resulted in the ATP Tour being suspended for six weeks, while the PGA Tour will be played behind closed doors until April 5.


Update – March 12: Pakistan Super League (PSL) – the country’s cash-rich T20 league – will be played behind the closed doors in Karachi to reduce the threat of Coronavirus outbreak in the city.


Update – March 12: UK government is still undecided whether to ban sporting events in the country amidst Coronavirus spread risk, as per Sky Sports.


Update – March 12: British media outlet BBC Sport are reporting that Australian Grand Prix has been called off.


Update – March 12: Sampdoria forward Manolo Gabbiadini has tested positive for Coronavirus, the Italian club have confirmed.


Update – March 12: Manchester City’s clash with Real Madrid and Juventus’ game against Lyon – both in the round-of-16 in the Champions League – have been postponed due to the COVID-19 outbreak.


Update – March 12: McLaren have withdrawn from this weekend’s season-opening Formula One Australian Grand Prix after a team member tested positive for COVID-19.


Update – March 12: The final of the 2019-20 Indian Super League (ISL) between ATK FC and Chennaiyin FC will be played behind closed doors due to the Coronavirus outbreak.


Update – March 12: The Indian Premier League (IPL 2020) could be played behind closed doors in the wake of the Coronavirus outbreak, as per ESPNCricinfo.


Update – March 12: LaLiga has been suspended for the next two matchdays after Real Madrid established a self-imposed quarantine following a positive Coronavirus test by one of their basketball players.


Update – March 12: Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has claimed that the club will accept any decision taken with respect to the COVID-19 outbreak, as per The Sun.


Update – March 12: As per a Times Sport report, UK government are taking extra measures to contain the COVID-19 outbreak and by Thursday, an official announcement is expected regarding the Premier League matches to be held behind closed doors.


Update – March 12: Juventus defender Daniele Rugani said he is “fine” as the Italy international allayed fears after contracting Coronavirus.


Update – March 12: CONMEBOL has asked FIFA to postpone the start of its 2022 World Cup qualifying, scheduled for this month, due to Coronavirus fears.


Update – March 12: The National Basketball Association (NBA) has suspended season games will be suspended until further notice after Utah Jazz player Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19.


Update – March 12: Italian Serie A giants Inter Milan have suspended all competitive activities after it was confirmed that their league rivals Juventus’ defender Daniele Rugani has been tested positive for Coronavirus.


Update – March 12: English Premier League outfit Manchester City have offered refunds to fans uneasy over attending matches because of the outbreak of COVID-19.


Update – March 12: The International Tennis Federation has confirmed the postponement of the Fed Cup finals and play-offs, which were due to be held in April.


Update – March 12: Juventus centre-back Daniele Rugani has tested positive for COVID-19, the club have confirmed late on Wednesday night.


Update – March 12: The Copa del Rey final between Real Sociedad and Athletic Bilbao has been postponed due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) has confirmed on Wednesday.

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Liga

Coronavirus: LaLiga Fest raises €625k as Pique talks of ‘invincible’ unity

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LaLiga stars and musicians came together for LaLiga Fest on Saturday, where a huge sum was raised to buy medical equipment.

LaLiga Fest raised more than €625,000 on Saturday as Barcelona stalwart Gerard Pique spoke of the need for unity amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Where Saturday nights would normally consist of fixtures in Spain’s top flight, the live action was restricted to performances on an internet stream.

A host of LaLiga stars – including Pique – addressed supporters, while musicians performed at the online festival.

Fans were encouraged to donate to the Banco Santander Foundation, where the money would be used to buy medical equipment to combat COVID-19.

There have been over 72,000 confirmed cases of the virus in Spain, with close to 6,000 deaths.

The total raised ticked past €625,000 as the festival ended, although donations would continue to be welcomed until Sunday afternoon.

Barca’s Pique was the most high-profile star to address those watching, as he claimed players and supporters alike could be “invincible together”.

“Without training, at home and trying to stay in shape, it is not easy,” the World Cup winner said. “We will get through it between all of us.

 

“It is a difficult situation, but doing something like what LaLiga is doing makes us feel proud of the players and the fans.

“It is something unique that means any LaLiga fan is able to contribute their grain of sand. I am very happy to be able to participate in such an initiative.

“There is rivalry when we are on the field of play, but when people need us, we are united.

“There will be a cost, it is difficult, we will have difficult times. Others will suffer it in person, but we have to make it through together. We are all invincible together.”

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Coronavirus: Ex-Barcelona goalkeeper Rustu Recber hospitalised with COVID-19

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Rustu Recber returned a positive coronavirus test and has been hospitalised in Turkey.

Turkey great Rustu Recber has been hospitalised after testing positive for coronavirus, his wife Isil has revealed.

Goalkeeper Rustu spent much of his club career at Fenerbahce, including a loan stint with the Turkish Super Lig giants during a three-year stay at Barcelona.

A star of the 2002 World Cup, Rustu played just seven times for Barca – all within the 2003-04 season – but retired aged 39 in 2012 with 120 international caps to his name.

The 46-year-old’s wife Isil posted on her Instagram page on Saturday to inform fans of her husband’s diagnosis.

“I would like to give you more positive news while sharing the truth in the most transparent way, but I’m sorry to say that my husband Rustu is hospitalised with the diagnosis of COVID-19,” she wrote.

 

“We are shocked by the rapid symptoms that developed suddenly when everything was normal. These are critical and difficult times.

“May Allah give emergency relief to all patients, including my dear husband.

“My only request is that people can be a little more conscientious and respectful in the process. In the tests we have done, my daughter and son were negative and only my husband was positive.

“For this reason, we are at home while he’s in hospital, and we are not allowed to see him. In fact, this is the most difficult part, not being able to be with him.

“Allah is great and is entrusted to him and the Turkish doctors. I hope this will pass.”

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Messi is Argentina’s ‘leader and protector’, says Tagliafico

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Argentina international Nicolas Tagliafico lauded Lionel Messi’s impact on the national team.

Lionel Messi is the “leader and protector” of Argentina, according to international team-mate Nicolas Tagliafico.

Messi, 32, has faced criticism for his performances for the national team as his wait for a first senior trophy at international level goes on.

But Ajax defender Tagliafico, a 25-time Argentina international, said the Barcelona star was key for his nation.

“Messi was released from the pressure to get results [at the 2019 Copa America, where Argentina finished third],” he told Ole.

“He more than anyone gets angry when he loses, but Messi became more aware that he has to enjoy the national team.

“I don’t know until when he will play, but it is not that he will have too many cups with the national team. He is at a stage where he wants to enjoy everything, training, games.

“He is the leader and protector of the team. That facet came out that we might not always see.”

The Copa America was due to be played again this year, but has been pushed back to 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Tagliafico said it was crucial for Argentina, who are unbeaten in seven games, to develop a strong foundation.

“We must find a very solid structure, not only for Leo, but also for the future, for what is to come,” he said.

“To be able to find a structure to grow. It is good to build a solid foundation and don’t build a base and then take it apart.

“If we can help Leo and Leo can help us, we will do much better. Everything is going to multiply. You have to create a structure and from there start to grow.”

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