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.

Tokyo Olympics to begin July 23, 2021, run through Aug. 8

(Illustration by Steve Tzemis/CBC)

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

Tokyo Olympics to begin July 23, 2021

The Tokyo Olympics will open next year in the same time slot scheduled for this year's Games.

Tokyo organizers said Monday the opening ceremony will take place on July 23, 2021 — almost exactly one year after the Games were due to start this year.

"The schedule for the Games is key to preparing for the Games," Tokyo organizing committee president Yoshiro Mori said. "This will only accelerate our progress."

Last week, the International Olympic Committee and Japanese organizers postponed the Olympics until 2021 because of the coronavirus pandemic.

This year's Games were scheduled to open on July 24 and close on Aug. 9. But the nearly exact one-year delay will see the rescheduled closing ceremony on Aug. 8.

Opening of CFL camps suspended indefinitely

The CFL postponed the start of training camps Monday due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"The ongoing global pandemic and the resulting directives issued by various governments make it unsafe to proceed with plans to gather our athletes and coaches together as scheduled," CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie said in a statement.

There was no suggestion regarding when camps might open. Some rookie camps had been scheduled to open as early as May 11 with training camps starting May 17.

The postponing of training camps increases the likelihood the league will be forced to do the same with the start of its 2020 regular season.

The CFL campaign is scheduled to begin June 11.

Flames, Oilers announce temporary layoffs

The Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames have announced temporary staff reductions because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The moves on Monday come with nearly all major sports leagues and events suspended because of the novel coronavirus.

The Calgary Sports and Entertainment (CSEC), which owns the Flames, the Western Hockey League's Hitmen, the National Lacrosse League's Roughnecks and the CFL's Stampeders, will have a 60-day temporary layoff for certain personnel as well as salary rollbacks.

The company says about 150 employees, representing about half of its full-time staff, have been given two weeks notice of the layoff, which will be effective April 13.

The remaining staff will see salary reductions ranging 10 to 25 per cent.

Oilers Entertainment Group (OEG), which owns the Oilers and Western Hockey League's Oil Kings, says it will have a temporary staff reduction of 139 employees, effective April 13, as well as a compensation rollback for all other staff.

NCAA extends eligibility for spring-sport athletes

The NCAA granted an extra year of eligibility to spring-sport athletes while ruling against such relief for winter-sport athletes, including basketball players.

The move by the Division I council on Monday was made in response to the coronavirus outbreak that wiped out the entire spring-sports season. Winter sports were largely done with their regular seasons when the shutdown commenced on March 12, but postseason events, including the men's and women's basketball tournaments, were cancelled.

A ruling on how to handle the scholarships for players receiving an extra year of eligibility will be left to schools and conferences to decide. Players may be granted full scholarships, partial scholarships or no money at all, with schools ruling on a player-by-player basis.

NBA planning players-only 2K tourney

The NBA has plans for a players-only NBA 2K video game tournament to be shown on ESPN, Yahoo Sports reported Monday evening.

Per the report, the league hopes to launch the event Friday and involve some big-name players. Each team is expected to have a representative, the report added.

Various esports have continued across the United States, with many moving planned live events into a virtual format. The NBA 2K League — which features 23 teams, including 22 who are affiliated with NBA franchises — has postponed its own season, which was scheduled to start March 24.

F1 team helps develop breathing aid for virus patients

Formula One team Mercedes has helped to develop a breathing aid that could keep coronavirus patients out of intensive care and ease some pressure on Britain's strained health service.

Mercedes worked with engineers at the University College London and clinicians at University College London Hospital to adapt and improve a device that bridges the gap between an oxygen mask and the need for full ventilation.

The device, known as continuous positive airway pressure, has been used extensively in hospitals in Italy and China to deliver oxygen to the lungs of coronavirus patients during the pandemic.

UCL said the adapted devices have been recommended for use in Britain and that 100 of them are being sent to its hospital for clinical trials. There is the potential for quick roll-out by Mercedes to hospitals across the country.

The F1 season has yet to start, with the first eight races of the schedule having been postponed or cancelled. It means there will be no racing until the middle of June at the earliest.

Wimbledon reportedly will be cancelled this week

Wimbledon organizers will announce the cancellation of the grass-court Grand Slam this week due to the coronavirus pandemic, German Tennis Federation vice-president Dirk Hordorff has told Sky Sports.

All England Lawn Tennis Club officials earlier said the June 29-July 12 event would not be played behind closed doors and postponement was not without significant risk and difficulty.

"It is completely unrealistic to imagine that with the travel restrictions that we currently have an international tennis tournament where hundreds of thousands of people from all over the world would travel. That is unthinkable." Hordorff told Sky Sports Germany.

The postponement of the Tokyo Olympics opened up a two-week window in the tennis calendar in July/August but it is less likely that it will be feasible for Wimbledon, which has only two covered courts and cannot be held past late summer.

French Open organizers stunned the tennis world by unilaterally postponing the clay-court Grand Slam at Roland Garros from May until late September because of the pandemic.

Canadian Open regional qualifiers shelved

Golf Canada has postponed three regional qualifying tournaments for the 2020 Canadian Open due to the COVID-19 pandemic

The tournaments were slated to start May 14 at TPC Toronto at Osprey Valley in Caledon, Ont., May 19 at Meadow Gardens Golf Club in Pitt Meadows, B.C., and May 21 at Club de golf Pinegrove in St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Que.

Golf Canada also announced that four upcoming tournaments in its NextGen Championships junior series have been cancelled, and the Canadian University/College Championship scheduled to start May 24 at Club de golf Les Quatre Domaines, Mirabel, Que., has been postponed.

There is no indication yet on when the postponed events may be rescheduled, but the Canadian Open is still scheduled to start June 8 at St. George's Country Club in Toronto. The CP Women's Open is scheduled to start Aug. 31 at Vancouver's Shaughnessy Golf & Country Club.

MLS still eyeing full schedule, Atlanta coach says

Atlanta United president Darren Eales says Major League Soccer still intends to play a full 34-game schedule this season, even though the league will be shuttered for at least two months because of the new coronavirus.

Eales says MLS is more fortunate than other leagues around the world that play the traditional fall-to-spring schedule and may have trouble completing their seasons in such a compressed time frame.

MLS was just two weeks into its season when play was halted March 12 because of the pandemic. The league has set a tentative return date of May 10, though the growing death toll in the United States could force that date to be pushed back.

Eales says everything is on the table, including the possibility of resuming league play in empty stadiums.

"We're fortunate that we had just started our season," he said Monday during a teleconference with Atlanta media. "We have the whole calendar year to reschedule the games we missed. The emphasis is on playing all 34 games plus the playoffs."

MLS will likely schedule more midweek games and push back its MLS Cup championship game into mid-December in a bid to play a full season, according to Eales. He added that the playoffs could begin in mid-November — around the time MLS had been planning its title game.

Celtics' Marcus Smart cleared after contracting virus

Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart says he has been cleared by medical officials after testing positive for the coronavirus earlier this month.

In a message posted late Sunday on Twitter, Smart says he was informed of the news Friday by the Massachusetts Department of Health. He thanked everyone for their support.

Boston played the Utah Jazz on March 6. Five days later, Jazz all-star Rudy Gobert announced he had tested positive for COVID-19, triggering rolling shutdowns of sports around the world.

Smart tested positive on March 19. He had been in isolation since then and was being monitoring by Celtics medical staff. His teammates, coaches and staff members were also tested, but those tests have come back negative.

Augusta National donates for virus tests, relief

Augusta National is donating $2 million US, split evenly to Augusta University to expand testing for the coronavirus and to a local relief agency to help those affected financially by the pandemic.

The gift is in partnership with the Community Foundation for the Central Savannah River Area, the longtime charitable arm for the home of the Masters.

Chairman Fred Ridley says the $1 million to Augusta University will help with telemedicine pre-screening, triple the number of drive-through testing lanes on campus and allow for more supplies and personnel to increase testing from 100 to 1,000 or more tests daily.

The gift to the CSRA COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund goes directly to support relief efforts to those most vulnerable.

Diamondbacks giving additional $500K US

The Arizona Diamondbacks are donating an additional $500,000 US to help people and organizations affected by the coronavirus pandemic, bringing the organization's total contributions to more than $1 million.

The franchise donated $550,000 last week and said that money was given to numerous non-profit organizations that worked in food distribution and also helped support the children of health care workers. The new donation will help those causes in addition to more providing support for the medical and health care fields.

"We are fortunate to not only be in a position to continue to give back, but to be in touch regularly with those in the medical field who can help distribute these funds in a meaningful way," Diamondbacks president Derrick Hall said in a statement. "Whether it is personal protective equipment, critical resources to support health care personnel or technology to provide virtual visits for those currently receiving care, we believe this money can make an immediate impact."

Masked South Korean ball players air practice game online

The twanging sound of bat hitting ball pierced the eerie silence of an empty baseball stadium as a Lotte Giants player wearing a white surgical mask doubled to right field during an in-house practice game on Monday.

The game was aired live online by the club after the Korea Baseball Organization postponed the start of the season from March 28 to April 20 and cancelled all pre-season games amid concerns about the coronavirus outbreak.

The 10 clubs in the league are not allowed to hold practice games against each other at least until the government's intensive social distancing campaign ends April 6.

But they can play intra-team games without audiences and broadcast them live to fans enduring an unprecedentedly lengthy off season. Many of the Giants players were wearing masks even as they sprinted for a base after a hit.

South Korea has suffered Asia's biggest coronavirus pandemic outside China, though it has largely managed to bring growth in new infections under control after a big early surge.

Irish Open golf tourney postponed

The Irish Open has become the latest European Tour golf event to be postponed because of the coronavirus outbreak.

The tournament was scheduled for May 28-31. There will now be no play on the tour until June at the earliest. The next possible tournament is the Trophee Hassan II in Morocco from June 4-7.

The Irish Open is one of the high-profile events that make up the tour's Rolex Series and had prize money of $7 million US this year. It was due to be hosted by Graeme McDowell at the Mount Juliet Estate in County Kilkenny.

Regular tour events in Kenya, India, Malaysia, China, Spain, Portugal and Denmark have already been postponed or cancelled.

with files from The Canadian Press, Field Level Media and Reuters

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