World Sports News in Brief

Pandemic forces postponement of Canadian F1 Grand Prix

Wednesday, 2020-04-08 09:25:40
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Formula One F1 - Canadian Grand Prix - Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, Montreal, Canada - June 10, 2018 Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel passes the chequered flag to win the race. (Photo: Pool via Reuters)
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The June 14 Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal joined a growing list of Formula One races postponed due to the new coronavirus pandemic on Tuesday, with the 2020 season yet to get on the starting grid.

The race is the ninth to be affected by the virus, with the March 15 season-opening Australian Grand Prix cancelled along with May’s showcase Monaco Grand Prix. Commercial rights holder Liberty Media hopes to get the championship started in the European summer with a reduced and greatly rearranged schedule of between 15 and 18 races that could run into the New Year.

* FIFA has recommended extending players' contracts which were due to end in June and said it will allow transfer windows to be moved to allow for extensions to the current European season caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, it said Tuesday. The global soccer body also said it would encourage clubs and players "to work together to find agreements and solutions during the period when football is suspended" and the sport has to deal with an unprecedented loss of revenue.

* The Dutch FA plans to resume the suspended soccer season for its top two divisions on June 19 without supporters attending matches after a meeting of clubs and other major stakeholders on Tuesday, local media reported. The decision would keep the Dutch in line with UEFA’s wishes that all countries try to complete their seasons, even if several months late, although some top Dutch clubs want the rest of the season to be cancelled like in neighbouring Belgium.

* The governing body of athletics has suspended Olympic qualification until December due to the coronavirus outbreak, which has forced the Tokyo Games to be postponed until 2021, it said on Tuesday. Qualification would restart on Dec. 1 and continue until the end of May or June next year, depending on the event, it added.

* The Guineas Festival at Newmarket in May and June's Epsom Derby have been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, while Royal Ascot will not be open to the public in June but may be held without spectators, horseracing authorities said on Tuesday. The 2,000 and 1,000 Guineas and the Derby and Oaks were set to take place on May 2-3 and June 5-6 respectively.

* Badminton World Federation and Badminton Denmark said on Tuesday they are seeking clarification from Danish authorities on how the ban on large gatherings will affect their ability to stage the Thomas and Uber Cup Finals in August. The biennial international tournament, which was originally scheduled to take place from May 16-24, was postponed to August 15-23 due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

* Formula One has put almost half its staff on furlough until the end of May due to the novel coronavirus with chairman Chase Carey and senior management also taking a pay cut, an F1 spokesman said on Tuesday.

* Former Masters champion Trevor Immelman has been named captain of the International team for the 2021 Presidents Cup, event organisers and PGA Tour officials announced on Tuesday. Immelman, who beat Tiger Woods to win the Masters in 2008, becomes the third South African to lead the team after Ernie Els and Gary Player.

* Professional Footballers' Association chief Gordon Taylor has donated £500,000 (US$617,000) to the Premier League players' fund for the National Health Service, British media reported on Tuesday. The 75-year-old Taylor, who is reported to have an annual salary of £2.3 million, had been criticised for refusing to take a pay cut during the coronavirus crisis while wage cuts for Premier League players and managers are being discussed.

* The MotoGP season will not begin until mid-June after the Italian and Catalan races were postponed on Tuesday due to the coronavirus pandemic. The decision brings the number of postponed races to seven, while the March 8 first round in Qatar was cancelled.

* The exhibition of the Olympic Flame, due to remain on display in Fukushima until the end of the month, will be cancelled over coronavirus concerns, the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee announced on Tuesday. In what was intended as a symbol of resilience, the flame went on display a week ago at the J-Village, Japan's national soccer training centre, used as a rescue headquarters during the disaster at the Fukushima nuclear plant in 2011.

* The Table Tennis World Championships, which was postponed due to concerns over the coronavirus pandemic, has been provisionally scheduled to be held in the Republic of Korea between Sep 27 and Oct 4, the sport's governing body said on Tuesday. The move followed the International Table Tennis Federation’s decision to suspend all events and activities until Jun 30.

* The world's top tennis players will swap rackets for game controllers this month after organisers of the cancelled Madrid Open said they will stage a virtual competition to raise funds for struggling professionals amid the coronavirus shutdown. The tournament will now take place on the Tennis World Tour videogame and run from Apr 27-30, "with the world's biggest tennis stars squaring off from their own homes," the ATP Tour said.

* A month-long online football gaming tournament organised by French champions Paris St Germain will be televised around the world to entertain fans stuck at home because of the coronavirus pandemic, broadcaster beIN Media Group said. The competition, which starts on WednesdaY, will take place every week and PSG players Julian Draxler, Juan Bernat and Layvin Kurzawa are among those who will compete, along with professional gamer Lucas "DaXe" Cuillerier.

* Wimbledon champion Simona Halep is recovering well from a foot injury she suffered in February and is able to run without pain, the former world number one has said. The Romanian won in Dubai but the injury forced her to pull out of Indian Wells, which was later cancelled as the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic prompted countries to lock down borders and restrict travel.

Reuters