World Sports News in Brief

European football focusing on restart in July and August

Friday, 2020-04-03 09:46:20
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The UEFA Euro 2020 logo on display with the European Championship trophy. (Reuters)
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European football, currently at a standstill because of the coronavirus, is focusing on a restart in July and August with clubs and leagues being told that stopping competitions should really be the last resort.

UEFA, the European Club Association and the European Leagues umbrella group sent a joint letter to their members on Thursday (Apr 2), saying it was of "paramount importance" that competitions, including domestic leagues, were decided on the field.

* Tennis may not return until 2021 after the coronavirus pandemic caused the cancellation of the entire grasscourt season and most of the claycourt campaign, All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC) chief executive Richard Lewis said on Thursday.

* The 2021 women's European Championship in England will be delayed by a year due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Danish Football Association has said. UEFA and England's Football Association have yet to confirm the postponement but the Danish FA said the move had been agreed during a video conference call of UEFA's 55 member nations on Wednesday.

* The Rugby Football Union (RFU) said on Thursday it will announce the final league positions for the Championship, Premier 15s and the community game after the coronavirus pandemic ended their seasons. The final league positions will be calculated based on a "best playing record formula" which will decide promotion and relegation, with unbeaten Championship (second tier) leaders Newcastle Falcons set to be promoted to the Premiership.

* Tottenham Hotspur's Republic of Korean striker Son Heung-min will report to a marines boot camp later this month to fulfil military service duties, a report said Thursday (Apr 2). All able-bodied South Korean men are obliged to serve in the military for nearly two years, making up the bulk of Seoul’s 600,000-strong forces.

* The start of the MotoGP season was pushed back to the end of May at the earliest on Thursday (Apr 2) after France postponed its race at Le Mans due to the coronavirus pandemic. The race, which had been due on May 17, was the fifth round postponed since the March 8 season-opener in Qatar was cancelled.

* McLaren drivers Carlos Sainz and Lando Norris have taken voluntary pay cuts as part of a raft of cost-cutting measures to help the team survive the coronavirus crisis with Formula One in lockdown. The UK-based team will also use the government's furlough scheme to guarantee 80% of salary for staff up to a maximum of £2,500 (US$3,000) a month.

* Club Brugge have been declared Belgian champions after the remainder of the country’s professional league season was cancelled on Thursday (Apr 2) due to the coronavirus pandemic. Brugge had a runaway 15 point lead at the top of the standings with one round of matches left to play before the start of the post-season playoffs, involving the top six clubs.

* The 2021 World Games have been pushed back by a year to avoid clashing with the Tokyo Olympics which were rescheduled due to the coronavirus pandemic, World Games organisers said on Thursday. The World Games, which are held every four years and feature 32 sports that are not part of the Olympic programme, were scheduled to take place in Birmingham, Alabama, from July 15–25 next year but have now been postponed to July 7-17, 2022.

* Olympic chiefs said on Thursday (Apr 2) they were bracing themselves for the extra costs incurred by rescheduling the Tokyo Games by a year to 2021. According to the latest budget, the Games were due to cost US$12.6 billion, shared between the organising committee, the government of Japan and Tokyo city.

* The Tour of Flanders, scheduled for Sunday but cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, will be replaced by a short virtual race, Belgian television Sporza announced on Thursday (Apr 2). The Flemish public television channel and the organisers of the classic, one of cycling's five one-day 'monuments', has recruited 13 riders to race on rollers by riders from the confinement of their own homes.

Reuters, CNA