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

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

Impact's 1st-team players to be given access Monday to Centre Nutrilait's fields

(Illustration by Steve Tzemis/CBC)

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

  • Impact giving 1st-team players access to training fields Monday
  • Spanish soccer league can resume as soon as June 8
  • Nationals want to wait for for in-person World Series ring ceremony
  • World No. 1 Djokovic organizes Balkan region tennis series
  • Formula One drivers fully support 'ghost races'
  • Tour of Denmark cancelled due to Tour de France re-scheduling
  • United States to allow foreign athletes to enter country

Impact allowed to train individually in Montreal

The Montreal Impact are giving their first-team players access to Centre Nutrilait's fields starting on Monday for individual training during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Quebec's Public Health approved the return to individual training after the Impact submitted the protocol to the government.

The decision comes two days after team president Kevin Gilmore told The Canadian Press that the Impact would explore training outside of Quebec if they weren't allowed to return to their facility soon.

The MLS club reported on Wednesday that midfielder Steeven Saba will be sidelined eight to 12 weeks after breaking his left foot "on a routine jog" near his home in Montreal.

Toronto FC and the Vancouver Whitecaps — Canada's other Major League Soccer teams — have already resumed training.

On a voluntary basis, Montreal's players will train in a secure, sanitary, and controlled environment. Both natural grass fields will be used, which will allow eight players to train at the same time in their clearly defined quadrant.

2 positives for virus in latest EPL testing

The English Premier League says two people from two clubs have tested positive for COVID-19 in the second round of testing.

The league did not name the pair or the clubs, or say if they were players or staff. The league tested 996 players and club staff on Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday.

In the first round of tests of 748 people, there were six positives from three clubs. All are in seven days of self-isolation.

In the second round, the number of tests available to each club was increased from 40 to 50.

Spanish soccer league allowed to resume in June

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez announced Saturday that the soccer league in Spain will be allowed to resume from June 8.

While the top tier, La Liga, can play from this date, it has already said it wants to resume play on June 12. It is unclear when the first games will be held.

There has been no play in the top tier since March 12 due to the coronavirus crisis.

Teams have recently returned to training at club facilities, but with players practicing individually. Players are also undergoing tests for the coronavirus.

The interruption to the season forced several clubs, including Barcelona, to reduce player salaries because of a drop in revenues.

Barcelona is top of the league with a two-point lead over Real Madrid after 27 of 38 rounds.

Nationals nix virtual World Series ring ceremony

The Washington Nationals have changed their plans for their virtual World Series ring ceremony after players decided they would rather wait until they could reunite in person to receive their new jewelry.

The Nationals had announced they were going to give out the rings during a show broadcast on television and online, an unprecedented approach brought about by the coronavirus pandemic. They still plan to unveil the design of the ring Sunday and go ahead with a fundraiser for two food banks and the showing of a documentary about Washington's 2019 season.

The Nationals consulted some team leaders before moving forward with the virtual ring ceremony.

The show was planned for Sunday because of the date's significance in last year's title run. A year ago, Washington went into that day with a 19-31 record before starting a turnaround that led to the franchise's first World Series appearance and championship.

Djokovic announces Balkan region tennis series

With professional tennis shut down by the novel coronavirus pandemic, world No. 1 Novak Djokovic is bringing together some of the world's top tennis players for a series of matches to run from June 13-July 5 in the Balkan region.

All pro tennis tours were suspended in early March and will not return before August as countries went into lockdown and closed borders to contain the spread of the virus.

Some players, including Djokovic, have returned to the practice courts while maintaining strict hygiene and social distancing norms, and some exhibition events without fans have also been held in countries like Germany and the United States.

Third-ranked Dominic Thiem of Austria and Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov, who is 19th, have confirmed their participation in the eight-man event which will end with Djokovic's exhibition match against Bosnian Damir Dzumhur in Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Zadar, in Croatia, Montenegro and Banja Luka in Bosnia will be the other venues for the matches, which will be broadcast on television

F1 drivers fully support 'ghost races', says GPDA chair

Formula One drivers fully support plans to start the season with "ghost races" behind closed doors, according to Grand Prix Drivers' Association chairman Alex Wurz.

The sport aims to begin a season delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic with two back-to-back races without spectators at Austria's Red Bull Ring in July.

More races under similar conditions will then be held in Europe with the sport also hoping some races can happen in Asia, the Middle East and Americas.

Formula One has so far seen three races cancelled, including the Monaco showcase that would have been this weekend, and seven postponed.

The plan is for teams, mostly Britain-based, to travel to Austria on charter flights and not to come into contact with the local population.

Mexican league cancels season over virus concerns

Mexico's soccer league, Liga MX, has cancelled the remainder of its men's and women's 2020 seasons due to the coronavirus pandemic and no champions will be crowned, league officials announced on Friday.

The league had been in discussions with health officials about a possible return to action after it suspended play on March 15 but concluded it could not do so "without putting at risk the members of this great family."

"It is indisputable that we are experiencing an unprecedented situation in our country, which forces the soccer industry in Mexico to act with absolute good sense and to respond with unity to the demands that have been presented to us," the league said in a statement.

On Wednesday, eight players from Mexico's Santos Laguna club tested positive for coronavirus despite none of them displaying any symptoms, the league said.

As of Friday, Mexico had registered 59,567 coronavirus infections and 6,510 deaths in total, according to a Reuters tally.

Tour of Denmark cancelled

The Tour of Denmark in September has been cancelled because organizers feared the best Danish cyclists, at least, would be committed to the Tour de France on at the same time.

The Tour of Denmark was originally in mid-August, and requested new dates from the International Cycling Union. The governing body moved the tour to Sept. 1-5.

But the UCI also agreed to move the Tour de France to Aug. 29-Sept. 20.

Denmark has been reopening schools, shops, restaurants, and churches in the last two weeks, but the border remains closed to foreigners, and tour organizers aren't certain when they will reopen. The organizers also say they aren't able to test all participants for COVID-19, and prevent crowds along the route.

U.S. exempting foreign athletes from entry ban

The United States will exempt some foreign athletes who compete in professional sporting events in the United States from entry bans imposed because of the novel coronavirus epidemic, acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf said on Friday.

"In today's environment, Americans need their sports. It's time to reopen the economy and it's time we get our professional athletes back to work," Wolf said in a statement issued by the department announcing he had signed an order for the exemption.

With files from The Asssociated Press and Reuters

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