The Latest: German soccer league suspends matches
LONDON (AP) — The Latest on the coronavirus outbreak's effect on sports around the world (all times local):
The German soccer league has extended its suspension through at least April 2.
The extension covers the next round of games and the upcoming international break.
League CEO Christian Seifert says “it doesn’t mean that we assume we can play from April 3.”
Seifert adds that some clubs could face potential financial collapse and put “tens of thousands of jobs” at risk without funding from TV broadcasts and sponsors.
Paderborn player Luca Kilian has tested positive for the coronavirus. Three players in the second division also have the virus.
Germany was the last of Europe’s top five leagues to suspend games.
The German soccer federation says that games in the top two women’s divisions and the women’s cup will be suspended through April 19.
British horse racing will take place without spectators and with restrictions on the number of attendees.
The British Horseracing Authority says “the intention is for scheduled race meetings to take place wherever possible.” It adds that “decisions may have to be made to cancel meetings.”
BHA chief executive Nick Rust says the racing industry is “following the government’s advice to strike a balance between protecting public health and maintaining business activity.”
More than 250,000 people attended the four-day Cheltenham Festival last week.
No decision has been made on whether the Grand National Steeplechase will go ahead at Aintree next month. More Britons bet on that race than any other.
The Hungarian soccer federation has temporarily suspended all of its competitions.
Federation spokesman Jeno Sipos says clubs have been asked to forego training sessions and make it possible for players and staff members to stay home.
Sipos says in a video posted on the federation’s Facebook page "we hope we are contributing to stopping the spread of the epidemic.”
The federation’s announcement was in line with a government decision to have sports matches played in empty stadiums and only if organizers took responsibility.
Speaking Monday in parliament, famously soccer-mad Prime Minister Viktor Orban said it would be even better if matches were not played at all.
The women's professional tennis tour has suspended all competition until May 2 because of the coronavirus outbreak.
The WTA says it is calling off clay-court tournaments in Stuttgart, Istanbul and Prague, adding those to a list of events previously canceled.
Each of those three tournaments was scheduled to begin in April.
The tour says a decision will be made "in the week ahead" about the rest of the European clay-court circuit.
The next Grand Slam tournament is the French Open, which is scheduled to begin in Paris on May 24.
The leader of the IOC’s coordination commission for the Tokyo Olympics says there is no May deadline to cancel the games and he remains confident the event will go ahead despite sports coming to a virtual standstill globally amid the coronavirus outbreak.
John Coates, who will have to go into government-mandated self-isolation when he returns to Australia this week from Olympic business in Europe, told the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper: “It’s all proceeding to start on the 24th of July.”
Former IOC vice president Dick Pound said in an interview with The Associated Press last month that the end of May loomed as a possible deadline for the IOC to make a call on the Tokyo Olympics.
But Coates, an IOC vice president and head of the Australian Olympic Committee, told the Sydney paper in a telephone interview from Switzerland that the IOC didn’t recognize the deadline and he thought Pound had backed away from it, too.
Coates says “it’s never been the IOC’s position. It was Dick’s idea. There is four months to go.”
McLaren says the team member who tested positive for coronavirus at the Australian Grand Prix “is recovering well” and that his “symptoms have gone.”
The British team pulled out of the season-opening Formula One race on Thursday because of the positive test. The race was canceled on Friday.
Fourteen members of the team were also placed in quarantine for 14 days after coming into close contact with the person who tested positive for the virus. McLaren chief executive Zak Brown says they are in “good spirits.”
McLaren says the rest of the team has returned to Britain but will not go to the team’s headquarters for two weeks as a precaution.
With the first four races postponed, the F1 season will not resume until May at the earliest.
Indianapolis Motor Speedway officials say they are holding off on postponing the month of May activities that conclude with the Indianapolis 500 on Memorial Day weekend.
The Indy 500 draws crowds in excess of 300,000.
“We are aware of the CDC’s interim guidance suggesting the postponement of events involving more than 50 people over the next eight weeks,” the speedway said in a statement released before 6 a.m. local time.
“Our priority is to do our part in protecting the public health while still conducting the 104th Indianapolis 500 presented by Gainbridge as scheduled on May 24. This continues to be a dynamic situation which we are monitoring constantly in coordination with federal, state, local and public health officials.”
A second team has withdrawn from the Kontinental Hockey League playoffs because of the coronavirus outbreak.
The KHL is widely considered to be the strongest hockey league outside the NHL and is one of the few major sports organizations still operating in Europe.
There are now six teams remaining in an eight-club conference semifinal bracket.
Finnish club Jokerit withdrew Saturday citing concern for the health of its players and staff. Now Barys Astana says it is withdrawing after authorities in Kazakhstan banned sports events and restricted entry to the country.
All six of the remaining teams are based in Russia, where various cities and regions have imposed their own restrictions. Spartak Moscow and Dynamo Moscow played in an empty arena on Wednesday.
The KHL said Saturday it was "in consultation with clubs and all relevant authorities to diligently manage the impact" of the virus outbreak.
The KHL has not commented on the withdrawals and its website still lists those teams as competing. The next scheduled games between teams which have not withdrawn are Wednesday.
The Greek Olympic committee says the Olympic flame handover ceremony for the Tokyo Games will take place without spectators in an effort to contain the coronavirus outbreak.
The committee says the accreditation cards that had been issued for Thursday's ceremony at the stadium in Athens where the first modern Olympics were held in 1896 would not be valid.
The body's headquarters will also remain closed from Monday until further notice.
The committee canceled the remainder of the Olympic torch relay last week after crowds gathered in southern Greece to watch part of the torch relay in Sparta, where the torch was carried by actor Gerard Butler.
Greek health authorities have warned people to stay home, and have shut down everything from restaurants, bars and cafes to public organized beaches, ski resorts, hair salons and movie theaters, in an effort to curb the spread of the virus.
Greece currently has 331 confirmed cases and four deaths.
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