Sports

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.

Federal government to provide $72 million to Canada's sport sector

(Illustration by Steve Tzemis/CBC)

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

Canada's sports sector to get $72 million from feds

The federal government will provide $72 million in relief funding to the country's sport sector that has seen myriad events cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Federal Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault made the announcement Friday, three days after CBC Sports revealed a dire financial situation facing dozens of Canada's national sport organizations.

In addition to the money for sports, arts and culture will receive $198.3 million through existing programs, $115.8 million is going to the to support the Canadian audiovisual sector and $53 million will be provided to the heritage sector via the emergency component of the Museums Assistance Program.

The use of the remaining funds will be assessed on needs and a streamlined process is in place to minimize the application burden. Emergency funding is also available to the Aboriginal Sport Circle and the provincial and territorial Aboriginal Sport Bodies.

Raptors get permission to reopen OVO Centre

Ontario has eased restrictions on pro sports teams, allowing them to open their training facilities starting Friday.

The Raptors wasted little time announcing that players who want to will be able to have limited access to the OVO Athletic Centre starting Monday, with strict safeguards in place.

The Raptors and Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment Ltd., announced guidelines — including just one player in the building at a time — to permit workouts at the practice facility just west of downtown Toronto.

The safeguards include allowing only access to the court. Locker rooms, medical facilities, offices, the weight room, and other areas of the building will remain closed.

COVID-19 already affecting next season's curling events

As major sporting events around the world continue to be postponed or cancelled in the midst of the pandemic, the tentacles of COVID-19 are now starting to stretch into next year's curling season in Canada.

Late Thursday it was announced the 2020 Shorty Jenkins Classic, scheduled for mid-September in Cornwall, Ont., has been cancelled.

'The Shorty' is one of the marquee early bonspiels on the curling calendar.

The cancellation of The Shorty comes a week after three World Curling Tour events were cancelled.

The Canad Inns men's, women's and mixed doubles Classics, set to take place in mid-October have all been cancelled. The event is held annually at the Portage Curling Club in Portage la Prairie, Man.

Most U.S. sport federations apply for government funding

At least 70 per cent of U.S. Olympic sports organizations have applied for government funds during the coronavirus pandemic, a stark financial reality that underscores the frailties within the world's most dominant Olympic sports system.

The Associated Press surveyed 44 of the country's national governing bodies (NGBs) — the organizations charged with operating programs from the grassroots through the Olympic levels in sports that run the gamut from badminton to basketball.

All but four of the 36 NGBs that responded said they had applied for assistance from the Paycheck Protection Program. Not all the organizations revealed how much they received, but those who did have been approved for a cumulative total of about $12 million US.

Beginning next July, when the delayed Summer Olympics are scheduled to start, U.S. NGBs will send a total of around 1,150 athletes to two Olympics and two Paralympics over the span of seven months.

While Mikaela Shiffrin, Noah Lyles and the U.S. basketball teams are on solid financial footing because of their star power and marketability, the U.S. will depend on dozens of lesser-known athletes to dominate the medals table in Tokyo and at the Winter Games in Beijing.

It puts the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee and the NGBs on an urgent track to fund all the potential medallists, many of whom haven't been able to train properly for months.

MLS considering Orlando as hub city

With MLS players starting to return to their teams' respective training facilities, the league is considering a resumption of the season in June or July, with the possibility of all games in Orlando at the outset, the Washington Post reported.

According to the report, all initial games would be played without fans due to the coronavirus pandemic. In addition to the Orlando idea, a two-city plan also is a possibility.

The Portland Timbers and Houston Dynamo were two of the teams that welcomed players back to their facilities Thursday, albeit in a controlled environment.

If a June or July return comes to fruition, players are expected to be "tested and quarantined," according to the Washington Post report. The goal would be to have teams play games in their home venues at some point later in the season.

NHL decides against international games in 2020

The league and players' union announced on Friday that the decision was made due to the coronavirus pandemic.

"The NHLPA and the NHL remain committed to maintaining and growing our international presence," a joint statement read. "We hope that our fans overseas understand the need to postpone the 2020 games, but we look forward to being back with them in 2021."

Games impacted include the Boston Bruins and Nashville Predators in the 2020-21 season opener in Prague, Czech Republic. The teams were scheduled to hold training camp overseas — in Germany and Switzerland, respectively — with exhibition games against local clubs.

Djokovic will need vaccine if required, says Nadal

Rafael Nadal says Novak Djokovic will need to be vaccinated to keep playing if the governing bodies of tennis make coronavirus shots obligatory once they become available.

Nadal told the Spanish newspaper La Voz de Galicia this week that Djokovic and all players will have to follow the rules when tennis eventually returns to action.

Nadal said no one can be forced to take the vaccine and everyone should be free to make their choices, but all players will have to comply if tennis officials require "vaccination to travel" and to "protect" everyone on the tour.

"Then Djokovic will have to be vaccinated if he wants to keep playing tennis at the top level," Nadal said. "The same for me. Everyone will have to follow the rules, just like now we have to stay at home."

FIFA to allow 5 substitutions per match

Teams will be allowed up to five substitutions per match, instead of the usual three, as a temporary measure to help cope with potential fixture congestion in the aftermath of the novel coronavirus outbreak, FIFA said on Friday.

The change in the rules will be allowed in all competitions which are due to finish by the end of this year and it will be up to individual competition organizers whether to implement it, FIFA said.

NASCAR announces revised schedule

NASCAR has cancelled races at Richmond, Virginia, Chicagoland Speedway and Sonoma Raceway in California, as it revises its schedule to restart the season.

NASCAR plans to race at Darlington Raceway in South Carolina on May 17 and May 20. Since those races weren't originally scheduled, NASCAR forfeited events at its Richmond and Chicago tracks. Richmond was originally scheduled for April 19 and Chicagoland was scheduled for June 21

Speedway Motorsports traded its road course race in Sonoma scheduled for June 14 for a Cup race at Charlotte on May 27.

NASCAR is attempting to race at tracks within driving distance of its North Carolina-based teams as it resumes competition following the sports shutdown due to the coronavirus pandemic. It has only announced races through May.

With files from CBC Sports, The Associated Press, and Field Level Media

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