Coronavirus: Here's what's happening in the sports world on Tuesday

Stay up to date on the latest on how the coronavirus outbreak is affecting sports around the globe.

NHL to remain on pause through April

(Illustration by Steve Tzemis/CBC)

The latest on how the coronavirus outbreak is affecting sports around the globe:

MLB cuts senior staff pay, keeps paying employees: report

Nearly three weeks after what should have been the start of Major League Baseball's regular season, commissioner Rob Manfred reportedly assured all full-time employees on Tuesday they would be paid at least through the end of May.

In a memo to MLB staff obtained by ESPN's Jeff Passan, Manfred also announced a 35 per cent pay cut for senior staff to help the league make its planned distributions to teams through May.

"As part of our effort to protect the organization, my senior staff and I have decided to reduce our compensation by an average of 35% for 2020 to help the organization weather this terrible storm," Manfred reportedly wrote in the memo.

"As a result of these developments, I am pleased to be in a position to ensure that all employees that received regular pay checks in April will continue to be paid through May 31," he wrote. "I am deeply grateful to the owners for supporting my decision to continue to support all of our employees in an environment where the owners and the clubs are facing their own very difficult financial issues."

NHL extends self-quarantine period through April

The NHL will remain on pause through at least the end of the month.

The league on Tuesday announced it was extending its self-quarantine recommendation for players, coaches and staff through April 30. The announcement marks the third time the NHL has pushed back its timetable since suspending play on March 12 because of the new coronavirus.

The most recent self-quarantine recommendation was supposed to run through Wednesday. The recommendation means team facilities will remain closed to players.

Players and staff were previously given the opportunity to self-isolate at their off-season homes.

There is no timetable of when play might resume and whether the NHL will be able to complete the regular season or start the playoffs, which could stretch into September.

Tour de France calls off June start

After weeks of holding out hope the Tour de France would be able to go ahead as planned despite the coronavirus pandemic, the world's most famous cycling race was finally added to the list of sporting events called off.

It may still happen this year, but it's clear the three-week race won't be starting on June 27 in the Riviera city of Nice as scheduled.

French President Emmanuel Macron effectively made that decision in his speech to the nation on Monday when he announced that all public events with large crowds have been cancelled until at least mid-July.

"Given that it's now impossible that the Tour starts at its planned date, we are consulting with the [International Cycling Union] to try and find new dates," race organizers said Tuesday.

The last time the Tour was not held was in 1946, with the nation still emerging from World War II. It was also stopped during WWI.

While cycling's biggest event could be scrapped altogether, organizers are discussing potential later dates.

PGA Championship could be held without fans

Even if no fans are present, the PGA of America plans to go ahead with the PGA Championship this summer.

The event, originally scheduled for May 14-17 at TPC Harding Park, previously was postponed until Aug. 6-9 at the same San Francisco course. Whether or not galleries will be there to cheer the golfers remains an uncertainty due to the coronavirus pandemic.

"The plan is to do it as normally as possible — with fans, obviously — and have a fairly normal PGA Championship at Harding Park," PGA of America CEO Seth Waugh said Tuesday in an interview on SiriusXM PGA Tour Radio. "If the safest and/or the only way is to do it without fans, we're fully prepared to do that. We believe that having it as a television event is worth doing regardless of whether there's fans there or not.

Resumption of MLS in mid-May 'extremely unlikely'

Major League Soccer says its hopes of returning in mid-May are "extremely unlikely."

In a statement Tuesday, the league said guidance from federal and local public health officials is making it unlikely the league will be able to restart in about a month.

MLS says the goal remains to play as many games as possible, but it's becoming increasingly difficult to potentially play an entire season even if there are enough dates available.

MLS currently has a training moratorium for players through April 24.

Predators raise nearly $3M US for area relief

The Nashville Predators have raised $2.7 million US to help both with tornado and COVID-19 relief.

The NHL team started raising money after tornadoes hit Nashville and Middle Tennessee in early March. Then the franchise included help for the coronavirus pandemic once the NHL stopped play along with the cancellation of the Southeastern Conference men's basketball tournament in Nashville.

Sean Henry, the Predators' president and chief executive officer, said Tuesday that commitment to the community is a cornerstone of the franchise and the Predators are trying to help rebuild and provide help for a return to normalcy as quickly and safely as possible.

That includes Predators' owners, players, coaches and management creating a $1 million fund to pay event staff for cancelled concerts and postponed NHL games. The Predators also donated $100,000 to the Mayor's Relief Fund, hosted blood drives and have been delivering meals to Nashville police precincts and Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

Canadian U15, U17 basketball championships cancelled

The 2020 Canadian under-15 and U17 basketball championships have been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The women's tournaments were scheduled to be held in Charlottetown while the men's events were set to go in Kingston, Ont., Aug. 2-9.

Dates for the 2021 U15 tournaments will be announced later this year. The U17 championships will be part of the Niagara 2021 Canada Summer Games.

"As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve, we have made the difficult, yet necessary, decision to cancel this summer's national championships to ensure the safety of all involved and our communities," Canada Basketball president and chief executive officer Glen Grunwald said in a statement.

PGA of America starts relief fund with $5M US donation

The PGA of America established the Golf Emergency Relief Fund on Monday by donating $5 million US and pledging to match up to an additional $2.5 million given by other groups in hopes of providing support for the golf industry during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The PGA's contribution included every member of its executive team voluntarily reducing his or her compensation, along with the board of directors pledging personal donations.

The fund is being administered by E4E Relief, an independent third-party public charity.

"There's pain everywhere," said Seth Waugh, the CEO of the PGA of America. "It's how to get to the other side. The government is doing extraordinary things. The Fed actions last week were stunning. The loan programs are very clever to keep people employed. The bad news is it may not be enough depending on how long this lasts."

Online tributes to mark Jackie Robinson Day

Forced from the field by the coronavirus, Major League Baseball is moving its annual celebration of Jackie Robinson online.

The Jackie Robinson Foundation is launching a virtual learning hub to coincide with the 73rd anniversary Wednesday of Robinson breaking the major league colour barrier.

CC Sabathia and Harold Reynolds are among the former major leaguers reading excerpts from the book by Robinson's daughter, Sharon. She will appear in video vignettes and there are virtual and printable educational activities.

Robinson broke baseball's colour barrier on April 15, 1947, for the Brooklyn Dodgers and his No. 42 was retired throughout the major leagues in 1997 by then-Commissioner Bud Selig. An annual Jackie Robinson Day started in 2004. Since 2009, all players, managers, coaches have worn his No. 42 to mark the day.

Birthday boy Maddux vows to donate to virus victims

Baseball Hall of Famer Greg Maddux spent his 54th birthday live tweeting as MLB Network replayed some of the best performances of his brilliant career. He also was raising money for coronavirus victims.

Maddux vowed to match up to $54,000 US in donations for virus victims as part of his birthday celebration.

One of the game's most notorious pranksters, Maddux took the occasion to poke fun at some of his former Atlanta Braves teammates, including John Smoltz.

"Who's watching 1995 World Series Game 1 on MLBNetwork," Maddux wrote during a showing of his two-hit masterpiece. "Solid dugout shot when we could see Smoltzy with some hair." Maddux also discussed a disputed call in the pre-instant replay era, which brought longtime Braves manager Bobby Cox out of the dugout to argue with the umpires.

UEFA to host calls with European soccer leaders

UEFA says it will host another round of calls next week for European soccer leaders to address the shutdown amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The UEFA executive committee is set to join by video link on April 23. It will follow separate days of calls with UEFA's 55 member federations and club soccer officials.

UEFA is giving priority to completing national league and cup competitions. One contingency plan is for games to continue into July and August and decide entries for the Champions League and Europa League next season.

This season's Champions League and Europa League could resume once domestic titles are decided.

Lin pledges up to $1 million US to combat virus

Former NBA star Jeremy Lin pledged up to $1 million US to coronavirus relief efforts and said he had been pained by the treatment meted out to some of Asian-Americans in the United States.

Writing on The Players' Tribune website, the former New York Knicks guard who sparked what became known as "Linsanity" in the 2012-13 NBA season, said he would be donating $500,000 and would also match donations up to an additional $500,000.

"One simple way to be the light is to support organizations doing crucial work during the crisis," Lin said in his pledge.

Asian soccer postpones matches in May, June

The Asian Football Confederation says it has postponed "all matches and competitions scheduled to take place in May and Jun until further notice."

Most of the 32 Asian Champions League teams played two group games in February before the coronavirus outbreak caused a shutdown.

The AFC says it "will explore all possible options in order to complete" those groups.

Saudi Ladies International moved to October

The first women's professional golf tournament in Saudi Arabia has found new dates in October.

The inaugural Saudi Ladies International on the Ladies European Tour was to be played last month but was postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The $1 million US event will now be played from Oct. 8-11 at Royal Greens Golf and Country Club at King Abdullah Economic City.

German soccer league delays resumption meeting

The German soccer league has delayed a meeting of clubs that was expected to set out a timetable for resuming games in empty stadiums.

Clubs from the top two divisions were to meet Friday but that has been delayed until April 23.

The league had hoped to resume play next month but Germany's federal political system could allow numerous state and federal officials to obstruct games if they disagree.

Senior British Open postponed

The Senior British Open golf tournament has been postponed because of the coronavirus outbreak.

The event was scheduled to take place at Sunningdale from July 23-26.

R&A official Johnnie Cole-Hamilton says organizers are looking at alternative options to host the tournament "later in the year if at all possible."

With files from The Canadian Press, Reuters and Field Level Media

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