Sports

Coronavirus: Here's what happened in the sports world on Monday

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

Golf's British Open cancelled, Masters to be played in mid-November

(Illustration by Steve Tzemis/CBC)

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

Silver doesn't expect NBA decisions until May earliest

NBA commissioner Adam Silver does not expect any decisions to be made until at least May about the possible resumption of the 2019-20 season, saying the coronavirus pandemic simply makes it too difficult to project what will happen next.

Silver spoke on Monday on the NBA's Twitter account as part of the league's new #NBATogether initiative, in a conversation hosted by Turner Sports' Ernie Johnson.

"Essentially, what I've told my folks over the last week is that we just should just accept that, at least for the month of April, we won't be in a position to make any decisions," Silver said. "And I don't think that necessarily means on May 1 we will be."

Golf's British Open cancelled, Masters moved to November

The British Open will not be played this year for the first time since 1945, golf officials announced Monday as they tried to reconfigure a major championship schedule that would end with the Masters being played two weeks before Thanksgiving.

Still to be determined is when, or even if, golf can resume depending on the spread of COVID-19 that has shut down sports worldwide.

The R&A announced that the British Open, scheduled for July 16-19 at Royal St. George's in England, will be pushed back until July 15-18 in 2021, leaving the 150th Open for St. Andrews in 2022.

The Masters, which was supposed to start Thursday, was rescheduled for Nov. 12-15. That would follow the PGA Championship on Aug. 6-9 at Harding Park in San Francisco and the U.S. Open, still at Winged Foot, for Sept. 17-20.

The Canadian Open, scheduled for June 11-14 at St. George's Golf and Country Club in Toronto, has yet to make an announcement concerning postponement or cancellation.

Other cancellations: The U.S. Senior Open at Newport Country Club and the U.S. Senior Women's Open at Brooklawn Country Club in Connecticut along with the Scandinavian Mixed tourney June 11-14 that will be played in 2021. Another European Tour event, the Trophee Hassan II in Morocco from June 4-7, was postponed.

NHL targets August return at empty arenas: report

The National Hockey League is plotting a late summer return with playoff games in empty venues to counteract the risks associated with the coronavirus pandemic.

A board of governors call to dissect options for resuming the season was scheduled for Monday.

Commissioner Gary Bettman and other NHL officials participated in a conference call with U.S. President Donald Trump over the weekend, where optimism about clearance for sports to resume in August was detailed. But NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said the league would defer to medical professionals when determining where and when it's safe to resume hockey.

The NHL asked teams to provide arena availability into the summer months when the regular season was paused.

MLB, union discussing playing all games in Arizona

Putting all 30 teams in the Phoenix area and playing in empty ballparks was among the ideas discussed Monday by Major League Baseball and the players' association.

The sides held a telephone call to talk about paths forward for a season delayed by the new coronavirus pandemic, people familiar with the discussion told The Associated Press. They spoke on condition of anonymity because no details were announced.

Ideas are still in the early stage, and the Arizona option would have many obstacles to overcome, the people said.

Half of the MLB clubs hold spring training in Arizona, the other half in Florida.

Arizona's advantage is 10 spring training ballparks plus the Arizona Diamondbacks' Chase Field all within about 50 miles. Florida's spring training ballparks are spread by as much as 220 miles.

"It allows for immediacy of a schedule, where you might be able to begin it and televise it, provide Major League Baseball to America," said Scott Boras, baseball's most prominent agent. "I think players are willing to do what's necessary because I think they understand the importance of baseball for their own livelihoods and for the interest of our country and providing a necessary product that gives all the people that are isolated enjoyment."

UFC 249 going ahead with new title fight

UFC 249 is going ahead with Justin Gaethje stepping in for lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov against Tony Ferguson for the interim 155-pound title.

UFC president Dana White tweeted the news Monday, saying the April 18 matchup is signed and will take place "somewhere on EARTH!!!!"

The unbeaten Nurmagomedov, back home in Russia, said he wouldn't break quarantine even if he was to able to get past COVID-19 travel restrictions.

The UFC was been forced to postpone cards originally slated for March 21 in London, March 28 in Columbus, Ohio, and April 11 in Portland. The UFC initially planned to shift them to the UFC Apex facility in Las Vegas behind closed doors due to local authorities' restrictions on crowds.

But it was forced to look elsewhere after the Nevada State Athletic Commission voted to suspend all combat sports events in the state.

The mixed martial arts promotion last held a Fight Night card March 14 in Brazil but without spectators.

NFL postpones start of off-season workouts

The NFL is delaying the start of its off-season workout program while formulating a plan with the NFL Players Association on how to proceed during the coronavirus pandemic.

At least for the time being, NFL coaches won't be allowed to communicate with players via videoconferencing.

Normally, Monday would have signalled the start of the nine-week off-season workout program for the five NFL teams with new head coaches — Carolina, Dallas, Washington, Cleveland and the New York Giants — to begin participating in conditioning drills and light workouts. However, due to COVID-19, players are not allowed to be at team facilities while social distancing standards remain in place throughout the country.

It was expected that those teams would begin meeting Monday via videoconferencing. But the NFL informed teams on Friday they will be notified once the league and NFLPA determine the scope and earliest possible date when they may begin their off-season workout programs.

Tennis players going virtual from home for Madrid Open

The 2020 Madrid Open, one of more than 30 professional tournaments cancelled or postponed because of the novel coronavirus, is going to be contested April 27-30 by tennis players holding controllers instead of rackets.

The clay-court tournament on Monday announced its plan to go virtual, saying it will involve "the world's biggest tennis stars squaring off from their own homes."

There will be 150,000 euros (about $160,000 US) in prize money each for the men's and women's events, with the winners deciding how much they want to donate to tennis players who are having a hard time financially without any tournaments to enter. An additional 50,000 euros (about $55,000) will be given to reduce the social impact of the pandemic.

The list of players who will "compete" will be released later. The Madrid Open was supposed to be played May 1-10, but the entire European clay circuit was abandoned by the ATP and WTA.

NFL planning telethon during draft to aid relief effort

The NFL is planning a telethon to aid coronavirus relief efforts during the draft from April 23-25, according to two people familiar with the league's plans.

The people tell The Associated Press that the league hopes its massive reach will raise awareness and funds in battling the pandemic. They spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the telethon has not been announced publicly.

Since the NFL's business year began on March 18, the league has conducted free agency even as team facilities have been shut down and travel has been barred.

Infected doctor with French soccer club takes own life

A doctor at French soccer club Reims has killed himself after getting infected with the coronavirus.

Reims Mayor Arnaud Robinet told Le Parisien newspaper Bernard Gonzalez "is a collateral victim of COVID-19 because he had tested positive and was in isolation for 14 days. I know he had left a note to explain his decision."

Officials at the club say Gonzalez died Sunday. He was 60. Gonzalez had worked at the club for 23 years.

Reims remembered Gonzalez as a man with the "soul of an artist" who was in love with the six-time champions.

Serie A players reject salary cut

The Italian soccer players' association rejected a proposal from Serie A clubs on Monday to reduce salaries by a third if the season does not resume as "unmanageable."

The guideline austerity measure was agreed on by 19 of the 20 clubs, the Italian league announced, with Juventus not included because it already finalized a deal with its players to relieve financial pressure on the defending champion amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The reduction would be equal to four months of salary but would be reduced to only two months if the season is completed.

The league added "it remains understood that the clubs will define the agreements directly with their members."

The players' association responded with a statement calling the league's behaviour "incomprehensible at a time like this."

Dutch soccer players contribute to help clubs

Dutch national team players, the country's national soccer association and the sport's main sponsor will contribute to an 11 million euro ($12 million US) fund to support clubs in the Netherlands during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Dutch soccer association says players on the men's and women's national teams are contributing to the fund to help amateur clubs that have been closed across the country.

The country's 3,000 soccer clubs have 1.2 million players but have seen income such as bar proceeds dry up amid the health crisis.

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