Coronavirus: Here's what happened in the sports world on Friday
World Athletics to lead panel of Olympic sports to advise on safely organizing mass gathering events
The latest on how the coronavirus outbreak is affecting sports around the globe:
- NBA players to receive sizable salary reduction
- Track body to lead panel on sports' safe return
- MLS extends suspension of play until at least June 8
- Canadian Open golf cancelled
- U.S. Open says 'unlikely' to play without fans
NBA player salaries cut by 25 per cent
NBA players will see 25 per cent of their paychecks taken out starting May 15, the first direct hit to their salaries because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Players will be paid in full on May 1. The cutback in salary has been expected for some time in response to the NBA's shutdown that started March 11, and has no end in sight. The regular season would have ended Wednesday, and 259 games have yet to be played — but none have been officially called off yet.
"Through this agreement, and in order to provide players with a more gradual salary reduction schedule, partial reductions of 25 per cent will begin with the players' twice-a-month payment due on May 15," the NBA said in a news release
Track body to lead panel on sports' safe return
The governing body of track and field is leading a panel of Olympic sports to advise on safely organizing mass gathering events amid the coronavirus pandemic.
World Athletics says the Outbreak Prevention Taskforce includes the International Institute for Race Medicine and officials from cycling, rowing, skiing, triathlon and the International Paralympic Committee.
They will get input from a member of the World Health Organization's coronavirus mass gatherings expert group.
The panel has its first meeting next week and plans to work with advisers from industry, sponsors and the media. Aims include guidance on risk assessment and how sports can "plan a return to normal activities in the aftermath of the COVID-19 outbreak or similar future situations."
MLS extends suspension of play
Major League Soccer has extended its suspension of play to at least June 8 due to the global pandemic.
The league initially announced a 30-day suspension of play on March 12 — two weeks into the regular season — due to the COVID-19 outbreak. A week later, citing Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, it extended its season hiatus with a target return date of May 10.
Earlier this week, it said a return in mid-May was extremely unlikely.
On Friday, it said the latest decision to extend the moratorium on matches was based "on the most recent government guidance."
The league says it continues to explore scheduling options for fitting in the entire season, including pushing back the MLS Cup "into December or later." This year's MLS Cup had been scheduled for Nov 7.
The league also said it is in discussion with its players about wages, due to the financial impact the shutdown is having on the league.
Monahan: No PGA Tour event without testing
If the PGA Tour resumes action as planned in mid-June, everyone involved in the event will need to have tested negative for COVID-19.
That was the message Friday from tour commissioner Jay Monahan, speaking on NBC Sports Network's "Lunch Talk Live."
Earlier this week, the PGA Tour announced its intention to restart play June 11-14 with the Charles Schwab Challenge in Fort Worth, Texas.
Monahan said of the preparations for that event and the ones to follow, "We are going to need to be able to test players, caddies and other constituents before we return, but we need to do so in a way that's not going to take away from the critical need that we're currently facing. And we feel confident based on the advice that we're getting from medical experts that we'll be in that position.
Japan baseball delayed again, no date set for resumption
Nippon Professional Baseball's season openers will not take place in May due to the new coronavirus pandemic, with no firm date set for the start.
Representatives of the 12 teams decided Friday to also scrap interleague play. The removal of 18 interleague games from each team's calendar would make for a 125-game regular season.
Although no specific date had been set to start the season, the representatives agreed in an online meeting to not start before the end of May. The interleague games between the Central and Pacific leagues have started in May since the format was established in 2005.
German, French golf tournaments scrapped
The BMW International Open in Germany and the Open de France golf tournaments have been cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic and the Scottish Open has been postponed.
The BMW International Open was to be played in Munich from June 25-28 and the Open de France was scheduled to take place a week later.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has banned large public gatherings in the country through August 31 and the French government has done the same until mid-July.
The Scottish Open was scheduled to be played from July 9-12. Discussions on a rescheduled date are ongoing.
With files from The Canadian Press, The Associated Press and Field Level Media