The Latest: Major League Baseball games in London canceled
The Latest on the effects of the coronavirus outbreak on sports around the world:
Major League Baseball has canceled a two-game series in London between the Chicago Cubs and the St. Louis Cardinals because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The teams had been scheduled to play at Olympic Stadium on June 13 and 14.
Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred made the announcement in a memorandum send to MLB employees. MLB said on March 19 that it had scrapped series in Mexico City and San Juan, Puerto Rico.
MLB played in Europe for the first time last June when the New York Yankees swept a pair of games from the Boston Red Sox in London.
UEFA has postponed the Euro 2020 playoffs for the second time because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The games were originally scheduled for March 26-31 and have now lost their June 4-9 dates.
The playoffs will decide the last four places in the 24-nation lineup for the postponed European Championship.
The decision was made in a conference call with officials from the 55 UEFA member federations.
UEFA says “all other UEFA competition matches, including the centralized international friendly matches, remain postponed until further notice.”
A German soccer club is raising funds amid the coronavirus pandemic by selling tickets for a fictional game.
Third-division club Uerdingen hopes to virtually sell out its 34,500-capacity Grotenburg Stadium in Krefeld with the offer of souvenir tickets for fans.
Tickets start at 5 euros ($5.46) and go all the way to 19.05 euros ($20.80) for VIP tickets. The club says “panic buying for friends and family is definitely allowed.”
It’s the only time that Uerdingen will sell tickets for the Grotenburg Stadium this season. Its home arena is being rebuilt so the club has been playing home matches at the ground of nearby Fortuna Düsseldorf.
Uerdingen was one of the powerhouses of German soccer in the 1980s with a best finish of third place in the Bundesliga and a run to the semifinals of the Cup Winners’ Cup in 1986. More recently it has dropped as low as the sixth division.
The club hasn’t played a game since March 8 because of the virus outbreak.
The R&A is postponing three amateur golf championships scheduled for June, including the Curtis Cup.
The Curtis Cup was to be played June 12-14 at Conwy Golf Club in Wales. The R&A and USGA say the matches for female amateurs from the U.S. against a team from Britain and Ireland will move to 2021. The dates were not decided.
The R&A says the British Amateur and the British Women's Amateur will move from June to August, but that depends on the status of the COVID-19 pandemic in the U.K.
The British Amateur had been scheduled for June 15-20 at Royal Birkdale. The British Women's Amateur was to be played June 23-27 at Kilmarnock on the west coast of Scotland.
The Curtis Cup captains, Sarah Ingram of the U.S. and Elaine Ratcliffe for GB&I, will remain for the 2021 matches. The teams had not been decided. Players were to have been selected later this month.
Soccer fans from two clubs in Belarus say they will stop going to games because of the coronavirus.
A leading fan group at Neman Grodno says its members will stop attending games and they have urged supporters for other teams to do the same.
The fans have called on the national soccer federation to “draw on some courage and stop the Belarusian championship, as the rest of the world has done.”
Fans of Shakhter Soligorsk have also said they will stop going to games “until the epidemiological situation allows us to return to the stands.” But they stopped short of calling for the season to be suspended.
Belarus is the only nation in Europe still hosting professional soccer games with fans in the stadium.
International players’ union FIFPro says players in Belarus have reached out with concerns about playing during the coronavirus pandemic.
English soccer authorities say there are “no quick answers” to the question of when play can resume following the coronavirus outbreak.
The Premier League, English Football League and Football Association say in a joint statement there will be play “only when it is safe to do so.”
They say clubs and supporters have a role to play in the meantime “in supporting the government’s guidance and ensuring community strength and solidarity.”
The most recent update from soccer authorities said there will be no play until April 30 at the earliest.
A hockey team and a soccer club in Russia face being removed from their leagues after government financial support was diverted to fight the coronavirus.
The sports ministry in the far eastern region of Primorsky Krai says it sees no point in funding player contracts for another season if it’s not clear when competitions will resume. It wants the Admiral Vladivostok hockey club to drop out of the Kontinental Hockey League and the Luch Vladivostok soccer team to drop down two divisions into the amateur leagues.
The ministry says regional funding earmarked for professional sports will instead go into an anti-coronavirus fund.
Many Russian sports team rely heavily on regional governments and state-owned companies for much of their funding. Primorsky Krai is the first region to impose such drastic cuts.
All major sporting events in Russia are currently suspended.
The Olympic flame will be on display until the end of April in Japan's northeastern prefecture of Fukushima.
Tokyo Olympic and prefecture officials held an official “handover ceremony”on Wednesday at the J-Village National Training Center in Fukushima.
The public will have limited access to view the flame, and organizers hope to limit the crowd size because of restrictions in place for the coronavirus.
The flame arrived in Japan from Greece on March 20 and the torch relay was to have started last week from Fukushima. The flame has remained in the prefecture with Wednesday's event merely ceremonial.
The Fukushima prefecture is the region of Japan that was devastated in 2011 by an earthquake, tsunami, and the subsequent meltdown of three nuclear reactors.
Olympic officials have postponed the Tokyo Games until next year with the opening now set for July 23, 2021.