Coronavirus: Here's what's happening in the sports world on Friday
NHL to allow team facilities to reopen, voluntary player workouts beginning Monday
The latest on how the coronavirus outbreak is affecting sports around the globe:
- NHL to allow limited, voluntary workouts starting Monday
- Former Olympic minister says March is possible deadline for Tokyo decision
- MLB players holding firm on prorated pay
- PGA Tour to allow fans at Memorial Tournament in July
- P.E.I. on verge of resuming soccer, aiming to serve as host city for CPL
- Asian qualifying tournament for World Cup set to resume in October
- IndyCar set to kick off season with strict guidelines
- Serie A to allow 5 substitutions in matches
- National Rugby League set to allow fans back
- Chelsea declared champion of curtailed Women's Super League season
NHL to allow voluntary player workouts
The National Hockey League is allowing team facilities to reopen and players to take part in voluntary on- and off-ice workouts beginning Monday.
The league announced its move to "Phase 2" of a potential return Thursday night. Earlier in the day, it unveiled the final details of the 24-team playoff format that will be used if play resumes and the Pittsburgh Penguins announced one of their players tested positive for the coronavirus.
During this stage, players can skate or work out in groups of up to six at a time. Unlike training camps, which could begin sometime in July, these workouts are not mandatory for players, who can choose to skate in their current city even if they don't play there.
Possible March deadline for decision on Olympics
Next spring has been set as a possible deadline by a local lawmaker for deciding if the postponed Tokyo Olympics can go ahead.
That's the judgment of former Japanese Olympic minister Toshikai Endo. Japanese television NHK quoted him at a meeting of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party.
The Tokyo Olympics are to open on July 23, 2021. They were postponed this year because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Endo is the latest powerful politician to speak out this week about the games, bracing the Japanese public for possible changes and costs.
Tokyo Governor Yurkio Koike said Thursday the games were likely to be downsized and undergo many changes.
MLB players reaffirm stance for full prorated pay
Major League Baseball is no closer to framing an agreement for starting the season.
Players have reaffirmed their stance for full prorated pay, leaving a huge gap with teams that could scuttle plans to start the coronavirus-delayed season around the Fourth of July and may leave owners focusing on a schedule as short as 50 games.
More than 100 players, including the union's executive board, held a two-hour digital meeting with officials of the Major League Baseball Players Association on Thursday, a day after the union's offer was rejected by Major League Baseball.
Management on Sunday pitched an 82-game schedule that included a sliding scale for prorated salaries, with the richer players receiving a reduced share. The union countered on Tuesday with a 114-game schedule with prorated salaries and no adjusted scale.
PGA Tour to allow fans at Memorial Tournament
The state of Ohio has given the OK to fan attendance at next month's Memorial Tournament, officials said Friday.
"It's official, thanks to State approval & support from the @PGATOUR, patrons will be permitted to attend the 45th edition of #theMemorial," the tournament posted on its Twitter feed.
Tournament organizers said more details are forthcoming on the health and safety protocols that will be put in place during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
The Memorial, founded and hosted by Jack Nicklaus, was originally scheduled to take place June 4-7 at the Murfield Village Golf Club in Dublin, Ohio, but was moved to July 16-19.
P.E.I. aiming to serve as host city for CPL
It looks like Prince Edward Island will lead the way in Canada's return to soccer, with the Canadian Premier League possibly looking to finally kick off its season in Charlottetown.
The Canadian Soccer Association announced Friday that the sport can resume in P.E.I. and B.C., providing clubs compete the final phase of its "Return to Soccer Guidelines" which includes completing a "self-assessment tool."
The P.E.I. government confirmed last month it had been approached by HFX Wanderers FC about having the CPL resume its season in the province.
On Friday, the city of Charlottetown pronounced itself "a leading contender to serve as host city for this year's modified Canadian Premier League season."
Asian qualifying tournament for World Cup set to resume
The Asian qualifying tournament for the World Cup is set to resume in October after the coronavirus pandemic forced games in March and June to be postponed.
The Asian Football Confederation says it agreed with FIFA to schedule two dates in October and two in November to complete the current groups.
The AFC says the planned schedule must comply with "government travel and medical restrictions" in the 40 countries taking part.
Twelve teams will advance to a further group stage next year.
Four Asian teams will advance directly to the World Cup in Qatar. A fifth team will enter an intercontinental playoff round.
IndyCar set to kick off season with strict guidelines
IndyCar drivers eager to get back behind the wheel will face a test unlike any other on Saturday when, with limited practice, they kick off a season delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic on one of the series' trickiest tracks and with no fans in attendance.
The Genesys 300 at the daunting Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth will air as a primetime show in a sports-starved world and mark the first time drivers have been in their cars since pre-season testing in February.
Adding to the challenge, drivers will take part in practice, qualifying and the 300-mile race on the same day with a cockpit-protecting wraparound windscreen for the first time and in the intense Texas heat.
The one-day event will be run with strict guidelines to protect participants from COVID-19, and safety measures include limiting the personnel on site and a health screening system administered to all participants.
Six-times IndyCar race winner Graham Rahal said all drivers are likely to be nervous given the uncertainties, including how the canopy-like windscreen will perform.
Serie A to allow 5 substitutions per match
The Italian soccer federation says teams will be allowed up to five substitutions in matches.
Italian competitions will adopt the temporary law change when they resume next week.
There can still be only three pauses to send on substitutes. If matches go into extra time and teams haven't used all five of their substitutes they can make a fourth interruption at the end of regular time or between the two halves of extra time
Serie A is set to resume on June 20 with the Italian Cup being completed in the previous week.
National Rugby League set to allow small groups of fans
Small groups of fans will be allowed to attend National Rugby League games at some venues from next weekend to keep sports in line with the relaxation of COVID-19 pandemic restrictions in New South Wales state.
Gatherings of 50 or fewer will be allowed to watch games, but only in corporate suites, and only at the three venues in and around Sydney in Round 5, providing distancing rules that require people to stay 1.5 metres (5 feet) apart are observed. Seating in regular stands will remain closed to spectators.
Chelsea awarded Women's Super League title
Chelsea regained the Women's Super League trophy after being declared champion on Friday because the season was curtailed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The English Football Association's board decided to determine the final standings on a points-per-game basis. Manchester City was a point ahead of Chelsea but had played an extra game when the season was suspended in March.
"Football pales into insignificance at a time like this, but it also has the capacity to bring joy and happiness to fans and communities everywhere," Chelsea manager Emma Hayes said.
With files from Reuters and The Canadian Press