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NBA's Warriors to play without fans as pandemic has leagues scrambling

Read the latest on disruptions to global sports because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Premier League's Arsenal team has game cancelled because of possible player exposure

Crowd limits mean there will be no fans at Chase Arena when the Golden State Warriors play the Brooklyn Nets on Thursday. (The Associated Press)

San Francisco is banning all large gatherings of more than 1,000 people for the next two weeks and the Golden State Warriors intend to play at least one home game without fans.

Mayor London Breed announced the ban Wednesday. She says she understands the order "is disruptive, but it is an important step to support public health." She says the Warriors are in support of the efforts, and the team announced it would host the Brooklyn Nets on Thursday night with no fans, making it the first NBA game set to be played in an empty arena.

The Warriors' next home game after that is March 25 against Atlanta.

Golden State also said all events through March 21 would be cancelled or postponed. The G League Santa Cruz Warriors were set to host the Austin Spurs on Saturday, but that will be moved to Santa Cruz.

Meanwhile, the San Francisco Giants and Oakland Athletics have cancelled an exhibition game they'd scheduled against one another on March 24.

Mariners to move home games through March

The Mariners will move home games out of Seattle through end of March following the state of Washington's decision to ban large group events in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

Seattle had been scheduled to open the season at T-Mobile Park with a four-game series against Texas from March 26-29, then host Minnesota in a three-game series from March 30 through April 1.

The Mariners said Wednesday they are working with the commissioner's office on alternative plans.

"While we hope to be back to playing baseball in Seattle as soon as possible, the health and safety of our community is the most important consideration," the team said in a statement.

Seattle is scheduled to play a four-game series at Minnesota from April 20-23 and at Texas from April 24-26.

Arsenal players under isolation after exposure

Arsenal placed some players under isolation and the Premier League postponed the London club's match at Manchester City on Wednesday, after the owner of Greek side Olympiakos Pireaeus tested positive for the coronavirus.

A number of Arsenal players had met Evangelos Marinakis, above, following their Europa League round of 32 meeting in London on Feb. 27 (Thanassis Stavrakis/Associated Press)
A number of Arsenal players had met Evangelos Marinakis following their Europa round of 32 meeting in London on Feb. 27. Marinakis, who also owns English Championship (second tier) side Nottingham Forest, said on Tuesday he had contracted the disease.

The Greek club released a statement on Wednesday saying their players and staff had been tested for the virus and that all tests came back negative.

Arsenal said in a statement the risk to their players was "extremely low."

"However, we are strictly following government guidelines which recommend that anyone coming into close contact with someone with the virus should self-isolate at home for 14 days from the last time they had contact.

"The players will remain at their homes until the 14-day period expires. Four Arsenal staff, who were sitting close to Mr. Marinakis during the match will also remain at home until the 14 days are complete."

The Premier League said it had no alternative but to postpone the game and complete a proper risk assessment.

Fed Cup finals postponed

The Fed Cup finals have been postponed indefinitely in response to concerns about the spread of the new coronavirus.

The 12-team women's tennis tournament was set to be played April 14-19 in Budapest, Hungary. The International Tennis Federation said it still hopes to stage the event in 2020, but did not announce a date.

The Fed Cup serves as a qualifying event for the Olympics and the ITF said it "is working closely with the IOC to address any impact this may have on athlete eligibility" for the Tokyo Games.

 

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