World Sports News in Brief

City's UEFA ban appeal up in air as CAS grapples with coronavirus

Sunday, 2020-03-15 08:53:56
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Premier League - Manchester City v Arsenal - Etihad Stadium, Manchester, Britain - March 11, 2020 General view of the Etihad Stadium as the match is postponed while the number of coronavirus cases grow around the world. (Photo: Action Images via Reuters)
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Manchester City’s appeal against their two-year UEFA ban from European football is up in the air as the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Switzerland deals with the impact of the coronavirus.

City had hoped to have their hearing heard by early summer but that may be optimistic given the court in Lausanne has already postponed three hearings and has 16 cases already scheduled until May 18, with the City case not yet listed.

* Australia's National Rugby League will continue into the second round of the season next week in closed stadiums because of the coronavirus pandemic, Rugby League Commission chief Peter V'landys said on Sunday. The NRL, the most popular professional winter sport in New South Wales and Queensland, started this weekend with fans in attendance despite the wholesale suspension of leagues and events around the world.

* Frenchman Rudy Gobert, the first NBA player known to have tested positive for the coronavirus, is donating more than US$500,000 to support both the employee relief fund at the Utah Jazz's home arena and COVID-19-related social services relief in Utah, Oklahoma City and the French health care system, the NBA team said on Saturday.

* England's Premier League and 72-team Football League closed down on Saturday due to concerns over the coronavirus but clubs in the fifth tier and below defiantly took to the field - to the delight of football addicts across the country.

* British lightweight Caroline Dubois, who made her start in boxing pretending to be a boy called Colin, won the first fight of her senior career in a Tokyo 2020 Olympic qualifier on Saturday. The 19-year-old Londoner, an unbeaten junior world and Olympic champion, outpointed Ala Staradub of Belarus in the opening bout at the Copper Box near London's 2012 Olympic stadium.

* UEFA is being urged to prioritise domestic competitions in the wake of the coronavirus, with pressure growing for Euro 2020 to be postponed. Top-flight football across Europe has ground to a halt as a result of the spread of the coronavirus, with national and continental club competitions suspended or postponed. Representatives of European clubs and leagues will join national federations on an emergency video-conference call on Tuesday.

* Formula One drivers Max Verstappen and Lando Norris are revving up to race in a coronavirus-free virtual world on Sunday after the cancellation of the season-opening Australian Grand Prix. Norris will be competing against a field of top gamers. The 'Not the Aus GP' organised by Veloce e-sports will be live on Twitch.TV and YouTube from 1745 GMT. Red Bull's Verstappen, a regular virtual racer alongside Norris, is joining a stellar cast of other top-line real racing drivers in an 'All Star e-sports battle'.

* Serbian Football Association president Slavisa Kokeza has contracted the coronavirus, the Balkan nation's soccer governing body said on Saturday. The Serbian soccer league is one of the few in Europe not to have postponed or cancelled matches, although Saturday's fixtures will kick off in empty stadiums after the government declared a crowd ban on Friday.

* The SportAccord World Sport and Business Summit has been cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak, organisers said on Saturday. The international conference, which attracts top sports administrators, international sports federations, Olympic officials, sponsors and major sports organisers, was due to be held in Beijing from April 19-24 and was relocated to Lausanne, Switzerland in February.

* India suspended domestic soccer until the end of this month while domestic cricket was put on hold indefinitely due to the coronavirus on Saturday. The All India Football Federation said in a statement that, following Ministry of Health and state government-level advice, "all footballing activities under the aegis of AIFF stay suspended till March 31".

* Two more players at Fiorentina, Argentine international defender German Pezzella and on-loan forward Patrick Cutrone, have tested positive for the coronavirus, the club said on Saturday, bringing the total number infected Serie A players to nine. The Florence-based club said that Pezzella, 28, and Cutrone, 22, were both tested after showing "some symptoms" of the disease along with physiotherapist Stefano Dainelli, who also tested positive.

* The International Triathlon Union has suspended all activity until April 30 including all events in the World Triathlon and Continental calendars due to the coronavirus outbreak, the governing body said on Saturday. All world rankings, Olympic qualification rankings, paratriathlon rankings and Paralympic qualification rankings will be frozen from Monday as a result, it added.

* Japan continues to prepare to host the Olympic Games in Tokyo this summer, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Saturday, despite widening concern about the viability of the Games given the global coronavirus outbreak. Abe also told a news conference that he had not discussed a possible delay or cancellation of the Games, which are due to start in July, in a recent telephone call with US President Donald Trump.

* German top flight club Paderborn said central defender Luca Kilian has tested positive for the new coronavirus while French second division side Troyes confirmed two players had also been infected. Kilian, 20, had been sidelined due to injury for a number of weeks but his infection meant the whole club would be tested on Saturday, Paderborn said.