World Sports News in Brief

Olympic flame arrives at Japan ahead of Tokyo 2020 Games – Kyodo

Friday, 2020-03-20 09:51:23
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The 'Tokyo 2020 Go' aircraft transporting the Olympic Flame from Greece to Japan, arrives at Japan Air Self-Defense Force Matsushima Base in Higashi-Matsuhsima, Miyagi prefecture, northern Japan March 20, 2020. (Reuters)
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The aircraft carrying the Olympic flame arrived at Japan Air Self-Defence Force's Matsushima base, Kyodo news agency said on Friday, as concerns growth whether the Games will go ahead as planned this summer amid the coronavirus pandemic.

* English football will be suspended until at least Apr 30 due to the coronavirus crisis, but the current season can be extended indefinitely, the English game's governing bodies said in a joint statement on Thursday (Mar 19).

* The South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL) said in a statement it has asked FIFA for permission to begin the qualifying rounds for the 2022 World Cup in September. The first games in the 10-team round robin group were supposed to start next week but were postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

* Scottish giants Rangers have allowed their foreign players to return home while the football calendar is suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

* Swiss top-flight outfit FC Sion have terminated the contracts of former Arsenal pair Alex Song and Johan Djourou, as well as of seven of their team-mates, due to the coronavirus pandemic, local media reported on Thursday (Mar 19). The nine players refused the temporary unemployment terms offered by the club with the Super League postponed until Apr 30 due to the ongoing outbreak, Swiss news agency ATS claimed.

* Manchester United will keep paying their casual staff even if the season's remaining Premier League games are cancelled or played in empty stadiums because of the coronavirus pandemic, the club said on Thursday (Mar 19).

* Briton Anthony Joshua's world heavyweight title defence against Bulgarian Kubrat Pulev will be postponed by several months due to the coronavirus outbreak, the IBF's mandatory challenger said on Thursday.

* Formula One's Monaco Grand Prix will not take place this year, organisers the Automobile Club de Monaco said on Thursday after the sport had announced a postponement of the showcase race on May 24 due to the coronavirus outbreak. The announcement came on the day the Mediterranean principality revealed its ruler Prince Albert had tested positive for the virus.

* The Serbian government is set to press charges against the country's Real Madrid striker Luka Jovic for breaking his mandatory 28-day coronavirus quarantine, the state Tanjug news agency said on Thursday.

* Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has returned to working from home the club confirmed on Thursday (Mar 19) after testing positive for coronavirus last week.

* Keen to avoid unnecessary travel while maintaining social contact, Bayern Munich have set up 'cyber-training' sessions where players work out together online by following exercises streamed from the club's headquarters.

* Turkish soccer, basketball and volleyball leagues, which were among the last to continue playing matches, were suspended indefinitely on Thursday due to the widening coronavirus outbreak.

* The United Arab Emirates on Thursday suspended all sporting events to prevent the spread of coronavirus, raising doubts about whether the Dubai World Cup horse race meeting would go ahead this month.

Reuters, CNA