Soccer leagues hope to resume in May; NHL cops hit

La Liga chief Javier Tebas believes European leagues should be able to restart by mid-May and the season can be completed now the European Championship has been postponed due to coronavirus.

“In mid-May we should be able to be back on with all European competitions. All of them. Of course, it depends on how the pandemic evolves,” Tebas told Spanish newspaper Marca on Wednesday.

“It could even be before then, but this is the date that we are working on as a latest in order to start up again.”

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When could football return to the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona? Picture: AFPSource:AFP

Regarding whether matches will be played behind closed doors, he added: “All depends on the health authorities in each individual country. We are talking about the schedules of more than 30 league seasons. It all has to be done together.”

Tebas said the Euro 2020 postponement, which was announced by UEFA on Tuesday, means the club season should be able to finish – and resume again next term – on time.

“We don’t want to change any seasons; we haven’t thought about doing that. In this situation, the scenarios we are considering are all short term,” he said. “If we can’t sort out the short-term then, unfortunately, we aren’t going to have time to sort out anything more long-term. We aren’t allowing that to enter our minds.” Tebas also confirmed that La Liga had sent coronavirus test kits to all of its clubs so players can be tested.

On Wednesday, Real Valladolid said they had refused the tests on the grounds that other people were more needy, while Alaves announced 15 positive cases. Tebas would not be drawn on each club’s decision.

Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich has opened the doors to a hotel located on Chelsea’s home ground. Picture: GettySource:Getty Images

CHELSEA OPENS DOORS TO LONDON’S MEDICAL WORKERS

Premier League team Chelsea is making a hotel located on the grounds of its Stamford Bridge stadium available free of charge for London’s medical workers during the coronavirus outbreak.

The club says Russian owner Roman Abramovich will cover the costs of providing the accommodation for staff of the National Health Service who “will be working long shifts and may not be able to travel home or would otherwise have to make long commutes.” Chelsea says the offer is initially for a two-month period and will be reconsidered depending on circumstances.

The entire hotel will be given up for medical workers if necessary.

The Coronaviris crisis has now hit the NHL. Picture: APSource:AP

FIRST NHL PLAYER TESTS POSITIVE

An unnamed Ottawa Senators player has become the first National Hockey League player to test positive for the coronavirus COVID-19, the club announced late Tuesday.

The player is in isolation after displaying mild symptoms, the Senators said in a posting on their website.

“The Ottawa Senators are in the process of notifying anyone who has had known close contact with the athlete and are working with our team doctors and public health officials,” the club said in a statement.

“As a result of this positive case, all members of the Ottawa Senators are requested to remain isolated, to monitor their health and seek advice from our team medical staff.”

The NHL put its season on hold last week, agreeing to follow health officials’ recommendations that gatherings of 50 or more people be cancelled for the next two months.

“The health of our players, fans, and community remains our highest priority,” the Senators said.

“We will continue to do everything we can to help ensure our players, staff, fans and the greater community remain safe and healthy during this time of uncertainty due to the spread of the coronavirus.”

There will be empty stands at Philippe Chatrier court in Roland Garros this year. Picture; AFPSource:AFP

ATP, WTA EXTEND VIRUS SUSPENSION UNTIL JUNE

The ATP and WTA have extended the suspension of their tours until June 7, the two tennis bodies said in a joint statement on Wednesday, as the coronavirus pandemic continued to shred the sporting calendar.

The clay court season “will not be held as scheduled” due to the suspension, the organising bodies of the men’s and women’s tours said.

“The challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic to professional tennis demand greater collaboration than ever from everyone in the tennis community,” the associations said.

“We are assessing all options related to preserving and maximising the tennis calendar.”

The tours had said last week they would suspend play until late April or early May.

The tournaments affected by the tours’ suspensions include combined men’s and women’s events in Madrid and Rome.

Also being scrapped are upcoming WTA tournaments in Strasbourg, France, and Rabat, Morocco, along with ATP events in Munich; Estoril, Portugal; Geneva; and Lyon, France.

Both tours also said that their rankings will be frozen “until further notice.” The International Tennis Federation also put a halt to its lower-tier events until June 7.

Richard Carapaz celebrates a victory during last year’s Giro. Picture: GettySource:Getty Images

ICU HOPEFUL GIRO DREAMS NOT DEAD

The president of the International Cycling Union hopes the Giro d’Italia and other races postponed because of the coronavirus outbreak can go ahead later this year.

Four one-day classic races to be held next month were cancelled this week. The Paris-Roubaix cobblestone race, the Fleche Wallonne, Liege-Bastogne-Liege and the Amstel Gold race have all been called off.

The Strade Bianche and Milan-San Remo were already postponed along with the Giro, which was to start on May 9.

UCI president David Lappartient told French TV on Wednesday that he has “good hope” several races can still go ahead.

“In the coming days and weeks we will work on remodelling the calendar, depending on the evolution of the epidemic,” Lappartient told France TV.

“The first possibility is to reprogram the monuments of cycling (the classics) for the (European) autumn. For that we have the possibility of pushing back the end of the season by two weeks to October 31.”

Lappartient said he is consulting with Italian race organiser RCS about holding the Giro later in the year.

The Giro would not start as scheduled from Hungary, he added, and the route may be redesigned and shorter.

It was set to be the first time a Grand Tour visited Hungary, with the capital city of Budapest holding a stage starting from Heroes’ Square.

“The Giro is obviously part of our priorities and we have good hope to see it taking place,” Lappartient said.

“With regards to the Tour (de France), for now nothing changes.”

ASO has yet to announce a decision on the three-week Tour, which is set to start in Nice on June 27.

Originally published asSoccer leagues hope to resume in May; NHL cops hit

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