The Latest on the effects of the coronavirus outbreak on sports around the world:
Atlanta United president Darren Eales says it’s still possible for Major League Soccer to get in a full 34-game season plus the playoffs by the end of the year.
During a conference call with reporters, Eales noted that player contracts run through Dec. 31, which presumably means the league could push its MLS Cup title game to the very last day of the year.
MLS shut down in mid-March – just two weeks into its season – because of the coronavirus outbreak.
Each team has 32 regular-season games left and the playoffs usually take another month. The league has already said that it will likely push back its championship game, which was set for Nov. 7.
Eales said if the season doesn’t resume by the end of July, playing a full schedule would be very difficult.
The New York Giants have announced their refund policy for 2020 season tickets.
If a game is cancelled and cannot be rescheduled, or is played under conditions that prohibit fans from attending, full refunds will be available to season ticket members. They have the choice to receive a full refund for any impacted games, or they can apply the amount as a credit toward a future ticket purchase.
Owners john Mara and Steve Tisch made the announcement in an email to season ticket holders on Thursday afternoon, hours before the league released the schedule.
The Giants also are going to offer a limited number of individual game tickets to season ticket holders. The owners made the decision based on a request from fans.
Anyone who purchases individual game tickets from Ticketmaster.com will receive a full refund of their ticket purchase price within 30 days of cancellation if the game cannot be rescheduled or is played under conditions that prohibit fans from attending. If a game is postponed or rescheduled, tickets are valid for the new date.
The Giants said the safety of the fans, players and staff continues to be its first concern during the coronavirus pandemic.
Sports events in Oregon are likely to be without large crowds through at least the end of September.
Oregon Gov. Kate Brown announced Thursday the steps the state will take as it begins reopening next week. Brown asked those planning large gatherings, such as concerts, festivals, sporting events and conventions, to cancel or significantly modify plans for anything scheduled through at least September.
That is likely to impact the NBA’s Portland Trail Blazers, the Portland Timbers of the MLS, and Oregon and Oregon State college football.
While the NBA and MLS have no firm plans of a restart yet, Oregon and Oregon State both have three home games scheduled in September. Oregon is set to host North Dakota State, Ohio State, and Hawaii in Eugene, while Oregon State is scheduled to face Colorado State, Portland State and Washington State in Corvallis.
New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio doesn’t see games returning to Yankee Stadium or Citi Field very quickly, at least not with fans.
De Blasio says bigger events are going to be one of the last things that will really fit the equation as the country restarts from the coronavirus pandemic. He says the perfect time to reopen big events is ”almost when the disease has really been beaten back to next to nothing.” He says the danger with big gatherings, especially, is ”that could be one of the things that propels the disease back.”
Opening day was scheduled for March 26 but has been postponed indefinitely because of the new coronavirus. Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred believes the season will start at some point, and the league has considered playing in empty ballparks.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo put entertainment such as sports into the final phase of his guidelines for reopening the state. He’s discussed the possibility of having big league games in empty stadiums.
Colorado Rapids coach Robin Fraser says players will use team training fields for voluntary individual workouts starting Monday.
The Rapids join a list of Major League Soccer teams taking the first small steps toward returning to play. Sporting Kansas City, Atlanta United, Orlando City and Inter Miami let players onto fields Wednesday for controlled voluntary workouts on the first day permitted by the league.
The MLS suspended the season because of the coronavirus pandemic on March 12, closing all team facilities but asking players to remain in market with their teams.
Colorado plans on using two fields for its workouts and run about eight players at a time.
Fraser started the video call a bit late because of an injury sustained while kicking a soccer ball around with daughter. No word on the type of injury.
Horse racing has resumed in Germany, but without spectators and with mask-wearing jockeys.
The race day at the Neue Bult track near Hannover on Thursday was the first to take place in Germany since the calendar was suspended in March.
It followed talks between race organizers and the local authorities, and access to the track was strictly limited.
Jockeys and grooms wore masks and betting was only allowed online. More races are scheduled for Friday in Cologne.
Germany resumed ahead of other major European horse racing nations. The equestrian sport of trotting, or harness racing, has continued in Sweden through the coronavirus pandemic.
The German soccer league Bundesliga is set to resume on May 16.
The Peach Bowl is donating $1.09 million to help fund COVID-19 screenings in Georgia.
The bowl announced it will help fund the telemedicine screening mobile app developed by Augusta University Health System. The AU Health ExpressCare app allows for free virtual screenings for the virus throughout the day with no appointment.
Patients who screen positive will be scheduled for tests.
Peach Bowl president Gary Stokan says the aim is giving Georgia residents access to screenings and tests ”as soon as possible.”
The Swiss soccer league says clubs will discuss on May 29 if they want to resume playing in June amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The league says the meeting of the 20 clubs will be two days after the next Swiss federal government update on easing restrictions.
A restart on June 19 leaves seven weekends and six midweek games to meet UEFA’s preferred Aug. 3 target to complete domestic seasons.
St. Gallen leads defending champion Young Boys on goal difference and is five points ahead of third-place Basel.
Switzerland’s government has said professional clubs can resume training Monday. Games in empty stadiums should be possible from June 8.
The league says the government has advised that teams are no longer eligible for an unemployment insurance program when players start training. The league says it is having ”very constructive” talks with the government about further federal aid.
The International Canoe Federation says it is planning its budget in case the Tokyo Olympics get canceled in 2021 because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The ICF says its board ”approved two budget scenarios” up to 2022 taking into account ”the chance of no competition or Olympics in 2021.”
The ICF is due to get about $16 million from the International Olympic Committee as a share of revenue from the postponed Tokyo Games.
The ICF has postponed or canceled all international events through August. It is due to have an election congress in December when president Jose Perurena steps down after 12 years.
German soccer league managing director Christian Seifert says the Bundesliga season will resume on May 16.
The matches will be played in empty stadiums because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The announcement comes one day after Chancellor Angela Merkel and the country’s 16 state governors agreed the season could resume.
The Bundesliga was suspended on March 13 with nine rounds remaining. Seifert says the league will begin again where it left off.
Seifert was speaking after a video conference with members from the country’s 36 clubs in the top two divisions. The second division will also resume on May 16.
The French Tennis Federation says it will refund tickets purchased for the French Open because of uncertainty related to the coronavirus pandemic.
The clay-court tournament at Roland Garros was initially slated to be held May 24-June 7 but has been rescheduled for Sept. 20-Oct. 4.
The FFT says it ”has taken the decision to cancel and refund all tickets purchased for the original dates of Roland Garros.”
The FFT is also working closely with French authorities ”to establish the necessary measures which will ensure the health and security of all guests attending the tournament.”
Refunds will be received by end of May and a new ticketing procedure will be opened if the tournament goes ahead.
Formula One says Manchester City forward Sergio Aguero, Real Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois and Barcelona midfielder Arthur will compete alongside drivers in this weekend’s virtual Spanish Grand Prix.
Charles Leclerc, Lando Norris, Alex Albon, Antonio Giovinazzi, George Russell and Nicholas Latifi will be the F1 drivers in Sunday’s event.
Aguero will race for Red Bull alongside Albon. Courtois will run for Alfa Romeo in his second virtual race. Arthur will be with Haas.
Golfer Ian Poulter will make his third appearance with Renault.
The virtual Spanish GP will take place during the same weekend the real race was scheduled to run at the Barcelona-Catalunya circuit. The race will consist of a qualifying session and a 33-lap race.
The F1 season hasn’t started yet because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Gibraltar soccer federation says it has declared the league season null and void with no champion.
The top two teams in the league were Europa and St. Joseph’s when the coronavirus pandemic caused the season to be suspended. The federation says they were so close in the standings it could not declare a champion ”in the interests of sporting integrity.”
The federation said last week that on government advice the season could not be completed by a UEFA-set deadline for Gibraltar of July 20.
Europa will enter next season’s Champions League qualifying rounds. St. Joseph’s and third-place Lincoln Red Imps will enter the Europa League.
The president of French soccer club Lyon says he hopes the resumption of the German league can prompt a reversal of the decision to end the season in his own country.
The top two leagues in Germany have been given the go-ahead to play in empty stadiums following a meeting between Chancellor Angela Merkel and state governors.
The 10 remaining league matches in France were canceled last week. Paris Saint-Germain was declared champion and Lyon finished outside the European places in seventh.
Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas says on sports daily L’Equipe’s website ”it might not be too late to imagine … something coherent on a political level.”
He adds that ”by adapting our methods we could probably have finished the league.”
Aulas argued for a playoff system to end the league by late August and reserved the possibility to claim damages he estimated at tens of millions of euros (dollars).
The Kontinental Hockey League says it will not name a champion after it stopped the season part-way through the playoffs because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Russia-based league shut down in March but didn’t immediately decide how the final standings would be determined. The league is widely considered to be the strongest outside the NHL.
The KHL says the eight teams still in the playoffs at the time the season ended will be ruled as jointly finishing in the top eight positions.
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