Sports

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

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

CFL postpones start of regular season until beginning of July

(Illustration by Steve Tzemis/CBC)

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

CFL postpones start of regular season

The Canadian Football League is postponing the start of its 2020 season until the beginning of July due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The league announced the postponement in a release, noting some CFL cities have indicated they won't allow sporting events through the end of June.

CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie said the league will try to play a full season, though significant changes will have to be made with the 2020 campaign scheduled to finish with the Grey Cup game Nov. 22 in Regina.

The CFL season was scheduled to start June 11, but the city of Calgary has a public events ban in place until June 30 that includes NHL and CFL games.

The CFL had already postponed the start of its pre-season. Rookie camps were scheduled to open May 13 with training camps starting four days later.

Today's announcement means the 2020 season will have to be reduced in order to finish with the Grey Cup game Nov. 22 in Regina.

3rd Avalanche player, 8th in NHL tests positive

An eighth NHL player has tested positive for COVID-19.

The league announced Tuesday that a third player from the Colorado Avalanche has the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. The league says the player is in self-isolation and has not had close contact with teammates or Colorado staff members.

The five other NHL players who tested positive all play for the Ottawa Senators. The Avalanche and Senators played games in California in March before the season was paused.

World Athletics suspends Olympic qualification

World Athletics says it has suspended Olympic qualification because of the coronavirus pandemic and the postponement of the Tokyo Games to 2021.

The governing body of track says no performances between April 5 and Nov. 30 will count toward Olympic qualification, even if an athlete meets the standards.

The new period will run Dec. 1 through to either May 31 or June 29.

World Athletics made the decision because it fears competitions will resume much earlier in some parts of the world than others and that will leave some athletes with more opportunities to qualify than others.

Athletes who have already qualified will keep their places.

F1's Montreal Grand Prix postponed

The Canadian Grand Prix has been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Montreal-based Formula One race was scheduled to take place June 12-14.

Two weeks ago, CGP president Francois Dumontier said a decision on the race would be made between April 12 and May 1.

The first seven races on the F1 schedule have been either postponed or cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Montreal is the eighth race.

"The decision will be a common decision between Formula 1 and myself," Dumontier said on a conference call Tuesday. "At this point, we all hope the race can go on on June 14.

MLB, players eye May return in Arizona: report

Putting all 30 teams in the Phoenix area this season 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.

Falcons lineman providing meals to first responders

Atlanta Falcons defensive tackle Grady Jarrett is providing about 5,000 meals to first responders in his hometown of Conyers, Georgia, and Atlanta this month.

With the support of the Zaxby's restaurant chain, Jarrett is providing meals on Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday through April at five locations — three fire departments, a sheriff's office and a police department.

"I feel like it's the least l can do with them taking the risk going out there every day and being on the front lines and making sure the world is still operating, people are being taken care of," Jarrett said. "I feel that my family and I feeding them Zaxby's meals to just make sure that they have something to eat is just a small gesture to show that their work is appreciated."

Serena Williams-Wozniacki match postponed

Former No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki's farewell to tennis, an exhibition match against good friend Serena Williams, is being postponed because of the coronavirus outbreak.

The last tournament of the 29-year-old Wozniacki's professional career came in January at the Australian Open. The Dane won her Grand Slam title there in 2018.

She was supposed to face off against 23-time major champion Williams in Copenhagen on May 18 in a match dubbed "The Final One."

Wozniacki wrote Tuesday on Twitter that their exhibition will be rescheduled because "the safety and health of everyone is most important." She added in another post that tickets already purchased "will still be good, once we pick a new date."

Spain's federation opposes shorter soccer game interval

The Spanish soccer federation says it will not accept having teams play games less than 72 hours apart when competitions resume following the coronavirus pandemic.

The federation says it opposes an alleged agreement between Spain's players' association and the Spanish league to play matches 48 hours apart in order to get the disrupted season completed.

The federation says the players' health should be above everything else.

The Spanish league and the players' association say they never had such an agreement. The players' association also criticized the federation's stance that player contracts should be extended past the normal expiry date of June 30.

It was the latest spat involving the Spanish league, federation and players' association, who have often clashed on various soccer issues.

No games until at least June 1, league president says

The president of the Spanish soccer league says he is not contemplating returning to action before the end of May.

The country is expected to remain under lockdown until April 26.

Javier Tebas says other scenarios are also being studied. They include having the European competitions restarting only by the end of June and not conflicting with the domestic leagues.

Tebas says it is very likely the league will restart with games in empty stadiums and that matches in venues with reduced capacity will also eventually be an option.

The league president says it has been "impossible" to reach a deal with players on the salary reductions needed to reduce the financial impact of the crisis but he expects the majority of the clubs to reach agreements with players.

FIFA backs extending players' contracts

FIFA has recommended extending players' contracts which were due to end in June and said it will allow transfer windows to be moved to allow for extensions to the current European season caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, it said Tuesday.

The global soccer body also said it would encourage clubs and players "to work together to find agreements and solutions during the period when football is suspended" and the sport has to deal with an unprecedented loss of revenue.

The guidelines, reported by Reuters on Sunday, were endorsed by the FIFA Bureau, a reduced version of its decision-making Council, on Tuesday.

The coronavirus has brought football to a standstill around the world, with domestic leagues put on hold and major tournaments such as Euro 2020 and the Copa America, postponed until next year.

South Korean baseball hopes for practice in 2 weeks

South Korea's professional baseball league says it hopes to start practice games between teams on April 21 before possibly opening the season in early May.

The Korea Baseball Organization says the plans are contingent on the country's coronavirus caseload continuing to slow.

The KBO will advise players to wear face masks in locker rooms and require them to download smartphone apps to report their daily health status to league officials.

South Korea reported 47 new cases for the second consecutive day as infections continued to wane in the worst-hit city of Daegu. Those are the smallest daily jumps since Feb. 20. The country was reporting about 500 new cases per day in early March.

But there's still concern over infections linked to passengers arriving from overseas.

The KBO announced last month that it was postponing the start of its season but that it still hoped to maintain a 144-game regular-season schedule. It then said it could ban spectators from games when infection risks were high.

Italian and Catalan MotoGP races postponed

The Italian and Catalan MotoGP races have been postponed because of the coronavirus outbreak.

The motorcycling series has yet to start its season. Eight MotoGP races have now been called off because of the virus.

The Italian Grand Prix was scheduled for May 31 at the Mugello Circuit and would have been followed the next weekend by the race at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona.

Organizers say new dates for those races "cannot be confirmed until it becomes clearer when exactly it will be possible to hold the events."

With files from The Canadian Press and Reuters

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