The Latest: Swedish soccer clubs received financial help
The Latest on the effect of the coronavirus outbreak on sports around the world:
Soccer clubs in the top two divisions in Sweden have been given advance payment of sponsorship money to help them survive following a decision to delay the start of the league.
The season was scheduled to start on the first weekend of April but has been postponed until late in May or the beginning of June, at the earliest, because of the coronavirus outbreak.
It has left some clubs in a fragile situation. Stockholm-based AIK, for example, has said it needs to raise 5 million kronor ($500,000) by May 31 to “make it through this situation.”
Swedish Elite Football, the body which oversees the top divisions in the country, has decided to pay part of April’s sponsorship money in advance to ease some of the burden in what it says is an “extraordinary and difficult situation.”
Washington Nationals GM Mike Rizzo says he, manager Dave Martinez and 13 players on the team's 40-man roster are still in West Palm Beach, Florida, where the team's spring training facility is.
Members of the medical and strength and conditioning staffs also remained in Florida, where camps were shut down because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Three players are in the Washington area. Other are wherever their homes are.
Rizzo said on a conference call with reporters Friday that none of the team's players has shown any symptoms of the illness and so none has been tested so far.
The GM said the World Series champions are formulating contingency plans based on when Major League Baseball might decide to start the regular season, which already has been delayed from next week until at least May.
"We're going to be fully ready when we're asked to be ready," Rizzo said. “Obviously, the ramping up of pitchers and players in a safe manner is of the utmost importance to us.”
The chief medical officer for the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee says four winter athletes have recently been exposed to the coronavirus and are under quarantine. Only one has shown symptoms and tests on all four are pending. Another winter athlete who returned from Europe developed respiratory symptoms but tested negative. There have been no reports of positive tests among summer athletes, many of whom have curtailed training with only four months left before the Tokyo Games. The USOPC leaders said they were expanding access to mental and emotional counseling as athletes deal with the uncertainties surrounding the Olympics. The USOPC is following the IOC's lead, in saying it's too soon to make a decision about whether the Games will start as scheduled on July 24.
The Miami Dolphins and owner Stephen Ross have pledged $500,000 toward critical needs for elderly and youth in South Florida as a result of the coronavirus.
The money will support public school meal programs, other food programs and church relief efforts.
The LPGA Tour has found a date for its first major championship. It is moving the ANA Inspiration to Sept. 10-13, and moving its Portland tournament a week later.
The ANA Inspiration was scheduled for April 2-5 in Rancho Mirage, California. It was among what now are six domestic LPGA Tour events that have been postponed because of the new coronavirus. LPGA Commissioner Mike Whan added three more on Friday — Hawaii, Los Angeles and San Francisco over the final three weeks of April.
Whan says the tour is working with its various partners on how to deal with postponed events.
The LPGA Tour's last event was the Women's Australian Open that ended Feb. 16.
Hockey fans will have a chance to relive some of NBC's best NHL and Olympic games for the past 12 years next week during Hockey Week in America.
NBCSN will air 12 hours of hockey programming each day Monday through Thursday (3 p.m.-3 a.m. EDT) and then seven hours each day from Friday through Sunday (8 p.m.-3 a.m. EDT).
Each day will have a theme, beginning Monday with Game 7 overtime thrillers. The other days will include notable playoff rivalry games, NHL outdoor games, Stanley Cup Final clinching games, top Olympic moments and best of the Sidney Crosby-Alex Ovechkin rivalry.
Each of the games will be shown in two-hour windows, meaning they are edited down slightly.
While NHL replays are common, re-airs of Olympic games are rare. NBC is allowed to use archival footage as part of its agreement with the International Olympic Committee as the U.S. rights holder through 2032.
England manager Gareth Southgate has urged people to “work together to combat" the coronavirus during the global outbreak with the same spirit they have shown in supporting his team during its improvement over the last two years.
In an open letter to fans, Southgate encouraged them to “follow the guidelines for hygiene and also the sensible precautions put in place to control the spread of the virus in order to protect those most vulnerable to its impact. That responsibility lies with us all.”
Southgate also warned of “challenges to our mental wellbeing” during a period of widespread economic uncertainty and self-isolation amid the coronavirus outbreak, and said: “Look out for each other. Please don’t suffer alone.”
With soccer virtually in a global lockdown, England will not be playing upcoming friendly matches against Italy and Denmark. This summer’s European Championship has also been postponed until 2021, meaning England will have to wait for its opportunity to win a first major international title since the World Cup in 1966 - having reached the World Cup semi-finals in 2018 against the odds under Southgate.
Southgate says “now is clearly not the moment for us to take centre stage. The heroes will be the men and women who continue working tirelessly in our hospitals and medical centers to look after our friends and families.”
More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports