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

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

Premier League steps up plans to restart in neutral stadiums in June

(Illustration by Steve Tzemis/CBC)

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

  • EPL steps up plans to continue season
  • Lyon to claim damages after Ligue 1 season cut short
  • Swiss hockey federation won't host 2021 men's world championship
  • Serie A clubs want to finish playing season
  • Elite pole vault trio competing in unique competition

Premier League planning to resume season

The English Premier League held separate talks with the government and its clubs on Friday to discuss coronavirus testing required and logistical measures that could allow players to resume training as they accelerate plans to restart.

Players at some clubs returned to training grounds this week for individual fitness work but Britain remains in a national lockdown until next Thursday.

Forms of social distancing will remain in place even if the lockdown is eased, but clubs are hoping squad trainings can begin within weeks. That would require the Premier League to buy thousands of COVID-19 tests so players and coaches can be regularly checked, but there are still shortages of them in wider society.

The aim is to resume the league in June after a three-month suspension, with games without spectators in any stadiums. Police believe neutral stadiums could be safer to reduce the possibility of fans gathering outside.

"The league and clubs are considering the first tentative moves forward and will only return to training and playing with government guidance, under expert medical advice and after consultation with players and managers," the Premier League said in a statement. "The league welcomed the creation of the government medical working group for a return of elite sport, which met for the first time this morning."

MLS to resume individual workouts next week

Starting Wednesday, Major League Soccer clubs can resume using outdoor training fields for individual player workouts.

All workouts are voluntary and must adhere to safety protocols created in consultation with medical and infectious disease experts, the league announced Friday.

In addition, the workouts must not conflict with policies of local public health and government officials.

Players participating in the workouts will still be prohibited from accessing the team locker rooms, gyms and training rooms. Gyms and training rooms are only accessible by players receiving post-operative or rehabilitation treatment.

Lyon to claim damages after Ligue 1 season called off

Olympique Lyonnais will seek millions of euros in damages as they face being deprived of European competition for the first time in a quarter of a century following the decision to end the Ligue 1 season, club president Jean-Michel Aulas said.

The French League (LFP) said on Thursday it was ending the 2019-20 campaign amid the COVID-19 crisis, resulting in Lyon finishing seventh, outside of the positions that would offer a place in European competition for next season.

With some teams having played 27 matches and others 28, the LFP drew up the final standings according to a performance index - number of points per game weighed by head-to-head record.

"It's a big loss of opportunity that has a financial value that amounts to dozens of million euros, which will be claimed in damages," Aulas said.

Switzerland won't host men's hockey worlds in 2021

The Swiss hockey federation says it won't seek to host the 2021 men's world championship after losing this year's event because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The 2020 championship had been due to start next week in Zurich and Lausanne. It was cancelled in March.

Swiss officials say they had talks with the International Ice Hockey Federation and 2021 worlds co-hosts Belarus and Latvia about Switzerland taking its turn next year.

That has now been ruled out.

The Swiss federation says the financial risks were too great and there is no guarantee the coronavirus outbreak will allow the next championship in May 2021.

Serie A clubs want to finish season

The 20 clubs in Serie A are in agreement that they want to finish the season if they can do so in accordance with government guidelines and by respecting health regulations and protocols.

The Italian clubs met by video conference and all supported a statement issued a day earlier by league president Paolo Dal Pino.

Dal Pino said it was "only natural that the Serie A league wants to play soccer. It would be against our nature to say the contrary."

European Masters tournament cancelled

The European Masters golf tournament scheduled for August in Switzerland has been cancelled.

Organizers say the decision came after the Swiss government extended a ban on gatherings of more than 1,000 people through August.

The tournament in the Swiss Alps was scheduled for Aug. 27-30.

Organizers say the course at Crans-sur-Sierre Golf Club will open to the public on May 11 as part of the easing of social restrictions.

Spectators ruled out for Hungarian F1 Grand Prix

Hungarian Grand Prix organizers say spectators won't be allowed at this year's Formula One race if it goes ahead.

The race is planned for Aug. 2 but Formula One officials are rewriting the 2020 schedule after the coronavirus pandemic forced cancellations and postponements.

Hungarian race officials announced their plan after the government banned large gatherings through Aug. 15.

F1 chairman Chase Carey says the season could start July 5 with the Austrian GP. He hopes 15-18 races can take place beginning in Europe before moving to Eurasia, Asia and the Americas.

Pole vault trio set for unique garden challenge

Three of pole vault's biggest names will compete in a unique competition this weekend, but they will not be breaking any lockdowns as they do battle from their gardens.

World record holder Armand Duplantis, twice world champion Sam Kendricks and 2012 Olympic gold medallist Renaud Lavillenie will attempt to vault 5m as many times as they can in 30 minutes in a format they devised together.

They will be connected via a live video link with the May 3 Ultimate Garden Clash - Pole Vault Edition streamed to fans on the social media channels of governing body, World Athletics.

2021 Badminton world championships rescheduled

The 2021 badminton world championships will now start in November to avoid clashing with the rescheduled Tokyo Olympics.

The Badminton World Federation says the event will remain in Huelva, Spain, and be held Nov. 29-Dec. 5.

BWF president Poul-Erik Høyer Larsen says the two main events can now go ahead "with equal fairness for everyone."

With files from Reuters and Field Level Media

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