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

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

Brazilian Olympic Committee says Tokyo Games should be postponed

(Illustration by Steve Tzemis/CBC)

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

AthletesCAN claims IOC lacking in empathy as Olympic debate heats up

As the debate continues over whether the Tokyo Olympics should proceed as planned, an internal letter from AthletesCAN - the organization that represents all of Canada's national team athletes - is questioning the International Olympic Committee's level of empathy, as the world deals with the COVID-19 pandemic.

CBC Sports obtained a copy of the internal email sent to all AthletesCAN members on Saturday afternoon.

AthletesCAN - raised doubts over the single-mindedness of Olympic organizers, and the increasingly muddy qualifying schedule.

"While we desperately want to believe that health and safety of all involved in the Games is the utmost priority for the IOC, IPC (International Paralympic Committee) and TOC (Tokyo Organizing Committee), at times, the communication has lacked empathy in recognizing athletes as humans first, and athletes second," AthletesCAN wrote.

13 cases of COVID-19 linked to curling bonspiel attended by Canadian doctors

Thirteen confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been linked to a curling bonspiel attended by 50 to 60 doctors from across western Canada.

The bonspiel took place in Edmonton March 11-14, starting the same day COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic.

Saskatchewan's chief medical health officer Dr. Shaqib Shahab said 11 of those cases are "front-line health care staff and physicians" from Regina, Saskatoon, and Prince Albert. The other two are people connected to the University of Calgary's Cumming School of Medicine.

Additionally, three doctors from Manitoba are in self-isolation following their attendance at the event.

2nd Senators player tests positive for COVID-19

The Ottawa Senators say another one of their players has tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the total number of known NHL cases to two.

The team announced their second case in a statement Saturday, four days after announcing its first positive test result.

The team did not name the specific player but said he was among those who travelled with the Senators on their west-coast road trip that included games in San Jose, Anaheim and Los Angeles before the NHL postponed the rest of its season last week due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

The team said 52 people, including players, staff, media, guests and flight crew, were on the trip and eight have been tested, with two positive results received. Results have yet to come in for the other six, who were tested on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

The team said the other 44 people on the trip "have shown no symptoms," but they have each been instructed to self-quarantine since March 14.

COVID-19 pandemic wipes out men's hockey worlds

The International Ice Hockey Federation announced Saturday it was cancelling the 2020 men's world championship in Switzerland due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

This year's tournament was scheduled to take place in Zurich and Lausanne from May 8-24.

The annual event routinely features NHL players from teams not competing in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

"This is a harsh reality to face for the international ice hockey family, but one that we must accept," said IIHF president Rene Fasel in a release posted to the IIHF's website. "The coronavirus is a global problem and requires major efforts by government bodies to combat its spread.

NFL draft to be held in studio, not Vegas: reports

Although the NFL's crown jewel of the offseason, the draft, will proceed as planned April 23-25, it will not happen in Las Vegas as originally scheduled, the Los Angeles Times reported Saturday.

The Times cited two anonymous sources who said the draft will be run out of a television studio — not in Las Vegas — with expected live cut-ins from various team headquarters throughout the league.

It is the latest move by the NFL in reaction to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Details of a revised NFL draft presentation have not yet been revealed publicly, other than the league previously announcing it will still hold the draft on its scheduled dates — only with no fans present and with all public events canceled.

Former Real Madrid president Lorenzo Sanz dies from coronavirus

Former Real Madrid president Lorenzo Sanz died Saturday from the new coronavirus, his family said. He was 76.

Sanz had been in intensive care since the beginning of the week while being treated for the virus.

Sanz presided over Madrid from 1995 until 2000, leading the club to two European titles, a Spanish league title and a Spanish Super Cup title.

Under Sanz, Madrid ended a 32-year drought in Europe by winning its seventh European trophy in 1998.

AC Milan great Paolo Maldini tests positive for COVID-19

AC Milan great Paolo Maldini has tested positive for COVID-19. The team says the 51-year-old Maldini became aware of contact with a person who subsequently tested positive for coronavirus and began to display symptoms of the virus himself. Maldini serves as Milan's technical director.

Paulo Dybala becomes 3rd Juventus player to contract coronavirus

Paulo Dybala is the third Juventus player to test positive for COVID-19.

Juventus says that the Argentina soccer playmaker is in "voluntary home isolation [in Italy] and he is asymptomatic and fine."

Dybala tweets that both he and his girlfriend Oriana Sabatini both tested positive but that "luckily we are in perfect conditions."

Juventus previously announced that defender Daniele Rugani and midfielder Blaise Matuidi tested positive for the coronavirus.

In all, more than 10 Serie A players have been confirmed positive.

Flames announce $1.15M support program to help community

The Calgary Flames Foundation announced details on Saturday for a support program in response to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in Calgary and southern Alberta.

The foundation will distribute $1.15M to Calgary organizations in support of critical community needs. The aid will be provided early next week to a number of community organizations, including The United Way COVID-19 Community Response Fund and the Calgary Food Bank. 

"During this unprecedented time in our community and under extraordinary circumstances, it is the important work being done through these charities, health care professionals and critical service groups that make all the difference," said Jeff McCaig, Chairman of the Calgary Flames Foundation. "We thank these individuals that are working on the front line and keeping us safe.

"It is because of the community support the Calgary Flames Foundation receives that we are in a position to assist today. As our global community navigates through uncharted territory, please stay healthy and safe while taking precautions to ensure we are keeping others safe. We will continue to make all efforts to support our community."

USA Track and Field calls for Tokyo Olympics postponement

USA Track and Field, athletics' U.S. governing body, on Saturday called for a postponement of the Tokyo Olympics.

The federation, in a letter to United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee (USOPC) chief executive Sarah Hirshland, asked the USOPC to advocate to the International Olympic Committee for the postponement of the Games.

The Tokyo games are scheduled to begin in July.

Lolo Jones pleads to IOC to delay Olympics

Lolo Jones is 37 — angling for a comeback to the track and well aware that she's running out of time.

These days, though, earning a spot in the Tokyo Olympics is nowhere close to her No. 1 priority.

The hurdler-turned-bobsledder-turned celebrity, who remains one of the most recognizable and followed Olympic athletes in the United States, is imploring the IOC to send a different message from the one it has thus far about the coronavirus crisis. It has yet to postpone the Games, set to start July 24, and by not doing that, Jones believes it is subtly — or not so subtly — telling athletes that they need to be ready, just in case.

"It's tearing athletes apart," Jones said Saturday in an interview with The Associated Press. "We want to be like everyone else. We want to be healthy, responsible citizens. But we're also afraid the IOC is going to say, in a month, that the Games are on, and, what, hopefully you're going to still be in shape?"

Brazilian Olympic Committee says Tokyo Games should be postponed

Brazil's Olympic Committee has called for the Tokyo Olympic Games to be postponed until 2021.

The Brazilian body said in a statement published on Saturday that the decision is a necessity due to the seriousness of the pandemic and "the consequent difficulty for athletes to keep their best competitive level."

It also said that it continues to "trust in the International Olympic Committee." Brazil organized the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro, the first in South America.

Bruins create relief fund for team employees

The owners of the Boston Bruins say they have established a $1.5 million fund for employees of the team and TD Garden who have lost work because of the suspension of the NHL season.

The Bruins were the last team in the league to commit to taking care of part-time and game-day employees.

According to a statement from the team, the Jacobs family would help workers "who will be financially burdened if the six remaining regular season Bruins games are not played."

The NHL suspended its season on March 12 in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

B.C. Lions staffer in isolation after positive test

A member of the B.C. Lions football operations department has tested positive for COVID-19.

The Lions issued a statement Friday night announcing they were made aware of an unnamed employee who has the coronavirus. The person is currently at home in isolation.

The CFL team says the employee was last at club headquarters on March 13 and that it remains in constant communication with team doctors to determine the best course of action for ensuring the safety of other employees who have been in contact.

Last week, the CFL cancelled its Eastern and Western regional combines as well as its national combine slated for March 26-28 in Toronto.

CFL training camps are currently scheduled to start on time in May but the league says it is pondering all possible contingency plans.

Currently, rookie camps are scheduled to open May 13 with training camps to follow May 17. The exhibition season would begin May 24 with each team playing two pre-season contests. The regular season would kick off June 11.

Lewis Hamilton goes into self-isolation

Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton says he has been self-isolating for more than a week after meeting people who later tested positive for the new coronavirus.

Hamilton was at a charity event in London on March 4 also attended by actor Idris Elba and Sophie Gregoire Trudeau, the wife of the Canadian prime minister. Both were later found to have the virus.

In a message on social media, Hamilton says he's shown "zero symptoms" but has been isolating himself from other people ever since March 13, when the Australian Grand Prix was called off.

Hamilton said that "I did speak to my doctor and double checked if I needed to take a test but, the truth is there is a limited amount of tests available and there are people who need it more than I do."

USA Swimming pushes for Olympic postponement

USA Swimming's CEO is urging the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee to push for the postponement of the Tokyo Olympics until next year.

Tim Hinchey wrote to USOPC CEO Sarah Hirshland to advocate on behalf of his governing body's 400,000 members.

Hinchey said athletes' worlds have been turned "upside down" as they struggle to find ways to continue preparing and training for the games. He wrote that "pressing forward amidst the global health crisis this summer is not the answer."

Because of the disruptions in training, Hinchey said going ahead with the Olympics this year "calls into question the authenticity of a level playing field for all."

U.S. Olympic committee says too soon to decide about Tokyo Games

Leaders of the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee say it's still too soon to decide about whether the Tokyo Games should go on as scheduled.

Uncertainties caused by the coronavirus have pushed many athletes to call for a postponement of the Games. But the USOPC leaders sounded a lot like their colleagues at the IOC. They call for patience and say they need more information from world health experts before doing anything drastic. They also acknowledged the uncertainty is taking its toll.

The USOPC is increasing the availability of mental and emotional counselling for athletes who have seen their Olympic hopes thrown into limbo.

XFL ends inaugural season

The XFL has cancelled the remainder of its return season because of the new coronavirus pandemic.

The league played five games of a 10-game regular season in eight cities. It was a revival of the XFL that played one season in 2001.

Commissioner Oliver Luck released a statement saying the league had "no choice but to officially cancel the remainder of the 2020 season. This decision has been made with the health and safety of the entire XFL family as our top priority."

"While we are disappointed to not complete the 2020 season," Luck added, "our hearts are full of appreciation for your overwhelming support."

B.C. rugby 7s tournament postponed

World Rugby has postponed the women's sevens tournament in Langford, B.C., as well as men's events in London and Paris due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Rugby's governing body has also cancelled the World Rugby under-20 Championship, scheduled for late June and July in northern Italy — one of the areas hardest hit by the virus.

The Olympic Games repechage qualification tournament scheduled for June is "under review."

Canada has already qualified its men's and women's teams for the Tokyo Games. The postponements means there are no men's or women's sevens tournaments on the schedule in advance of the Olympics

Canadian Premier League postpones start of 2020 season 

The Canadian Premier League has postponed the start of the 2020 season, with no replacement kickoff date as of yet.

The Canadian pro league was set to start its second season on April 11.

The league said it was following Canada Soccer's decision to suspend all sanctioned soccer activities — and COVID-19 directives by governments and health officials banning public gatherings.

Commissioner David Clanachan said the league will start the season when it is declared safe by the relevant health and government agencies, including Canada Soccer.

The CPL put a 14-day on all pre-season training last Friday. Players with expansion Atletico Ottawa, who had been training in Spain at parent club Atletico Madrid, have since returned and are now in self-isolation.

With files from The Canadian Press and Reuters


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