Arsenal star reveals he wants 'dream' move to Boca Juniors

‘I have that desire to go’: Arsenal star Lucas Torreira reveals he wants ‘dream’ move to Argentine giants Boca Juniors well before he’s near to retiring

  • Lucas Torreira has revealed his dream would be to play for Boca Juniors
  • The Arsenal midfielder wants the move in good time before he retires 
  • The 24-year-old said: ‘I want to compete and feel what the Boca world is like’

Arsenal star Lucas Torreira has revealed his ambition to play for Argentine giants Boca Juniors in the near future.

The midfielder insisted he remains happy at Arsenal but wants to join Boca in good time before he retires.

The 24-year-old Uruguayan only joined the Gunners in a £26million to deal from Sampdoria in 2018.

Lucas Torreira has revealed his ambition to one day play for Argentina giants Boca Juniors

Speaking about a future move to Boca, Torreira told Fox Sports Argentina: ‘I imagine a Copa Libertadores night at the Bombonera wearing Boca’s shirt, of course.

‘Right now my head is in Europe and I want to stay for a while.

‘But I have that desire and dream to go [to Boca] – and not just to retire, but to compete and feel what the Boca world is.’

The Arsenal star insists he is happy at the club but wants to move to Boca well before he retires

Torreira revealed that watching the 2018 Copa Libertadores final between Boca and River Plate in Madrid only increased his desire to one day join the Argentine club.

He added: ‘My family are big soccer fans and we Uruguayans watch a lot of Argentine football.

‘It is one of the most important in South America, very passionate, so from a very young age this affection, this love for Boca was born.

‘I had to go to the Madrid final and when the game ended I thought I wasn’t going to be so mad but I was very sad, for the defeat and for how the game had been.

Torreira’s affection for Boca grew stronger after watching the 2018 Copa Libertadores final

‘It was the time I got to see Boca as a fan. It is true that I have great affection for the club and hopefully it will be forever.’

Torreira left South America as a teenager to join Italian club Pescara’s youth academy before moving to Sampdoria where he rose to prominence.

The Uruguay international has been in and out of Arsenal’s team since moving to England but Mikel Arteta will hope to have him available for their Premier League match with Manchester City on June 17.

Torreira has been out with an ankle injury but declared last week that he is now close to being back to full fitness after the coronavirus-enforced break gave him more time to recover.

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta will hope to have Torreira fit and available for Manchester City clash




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WBC chief Sulaiman reveals he is 'excited' about Mike Tyson's comeback

‘I am supporting it 100%’: WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman reveals he is ‘very excited’ about Mike Tyson’s mooted boxing comeback… but insists the 54-year-old’s return will be handled with ‘absolute care’

  • Mike Tyson, 54, is rumoured to be planning a boxing comeback this year 
  • The former world heavyweight champion has been in training during lockdown
  • WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman has backed ‘icon’ Tyson to return to the sport
  • Yet Sulaiman did make the point that his return needs to carry ‘no additional risk’
  • Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman has backed Mike Tyson’s comeback to boxing, but emphasised that his return would be handled with ‘absolute care’ from a medical standpoint. 

The 54-year-old has been training during the coronavirus lockdown, sparking speculation about an exhibition return, with a trilogy fight against Evander Holyfield mooted by both camps. 

This week, Tyson made an appearance at an TNT Pro Wrestling event but it is his return to the boxing ring which has left fans, and the WBC president, excited.  

WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman is excited about the prospect of Mike Tyson’s comeback

The 54-year-old has been sharing videos of his intense workouts during the current lockdown

‘I am very excited, very happy,’ Sulaiman told Boxing Social

‘He has brought great positive attention to the sport. Why? Because Mike Tyson is a hero and an icon.

‘He fell in very difficult times, as many has done, and now it’s boxing that is bringing him back.’

However, though keen for the former undisputed heavyweight champion of the world to return, Sulaiman insisted that Tyson’s return would be handled with care, given his 15-year absence from the sport.  

The 54-year-old has been out of action for 15 years, having retired from boxing in 2005

‘Of course, it will be with the absolute care of the medicals, of the testing, the complete protocol to make sure whoever is in the ring is in top shape and has no additional risk. 

‘I am supporting it 100% and if someone wants to say he wants to fight for the title, I will say he will and the WBC will be there!’

UFC president Dana White insists his old friend Tyson is planning a boxing comeback as rumoured, saying his team have ‘something big’ lined up.  




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Danny Rose reveals he wants to play for Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers

Tottenham’s on-loan star Danny Rose reveals he wants to play for Brendan Rodgers… but jokes ‘someone will have to buy Ben Chilwell first’ when asked about possible link up at Leicester

  • Danny Rose has revealed he wants to play for Brendan Rodgers before he retires
  • Tottenham defender, who is on loan at Newcastle, has just 13 months left on deal
  • Rose briefly worked with Rodgers during a loan spell at Watford in 2008-09
  • He joked Ben Chilwell will have to be sold if he was to join Rodgers at Leicester

Danny Rose has revealed he would like to play for Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers before he finishes his career. 

The Tottenham left-back, currently on loan at Newcastle, has 13 months left on his contract at Spurs but is thought to be surplus to requirements in north London. 

Rose worked with Rodgers briefly during a loan spell at Watford in the 2008-09 campaign and ever since that period, he has been keen to revive the arrangement. 

Danny Rose is currently on loan at Newcastle but has just 13 months left on his Tottenham deal

Rose admitted he wants to play for Leicester boss Brendan Rodgers before he retires

‘Getting to work with him for two months was brilliant,’ said Rose. ‘As an 18 or 19-year-old, I had never experienced training sessions like that before. 

‘His ideas in training… it was brilliant and I have always said that he is somebody I would love to play for again.’ 

When asked whether he would seek a move to Leicester, Rose joked to the Lockdown Tactics podcast: ‘Someone will have to buy Ben Chilwell first.’ 

Ben Chilwell is currently Leicester’s No 1 left back but had attracted interest from Chelsea

Chilwell was a prominent summer target for Chelsea before the coronavirus pandemic changed the face of football, and it is unclear whether the Blues would now be prepared to pay a sizeable transfer fee for Chilwell, who is under contract until 2024. 

Leicester are currently well-covered at left-back, with title winner Christian Fuchs providing expert back-up for Chilwell and James Justin able to operate on either flank. 

Rose turns 30 on July 2 and Spurs would lose him on a free transfer next summer if they could not agree a sale before then. 


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Uncle Toni reveals why he 'prefers' Nadal to face Federer rather than Djokovic

Toni Nadal, the uncle and former coach of Rafael Nadal, revealed he prefers his nephew to face Roger Federer rather than Novak Djokovic because they ‘have a way to beat him’.

Uncle Toni can’t say the same for world No. 1 Djokovic. Devising a game plan for the 17-time Grand Slam champion, in his words, is more ‘difficult’.

It shows in the head-to-head records. Nadal trails Djokovic 29-26 but leads Federer 24-16. Djokovic is also up 27-23 on Federer.

‘For us it was always more difficult to play against Djokovic,’ Toni Nadal told Eurosport. ‘Because it’s not about who of them is better.

‘For us, when we play against Federer, we have a way to beat him. In my mind, before going on court, I know what we have to do.

‘When we play against Djokovic, many times we didn’t know exactly what we had to do. This is more difficult, for me. I prefer to play against Federer.’

That said, Toni Nadal still rates Federer as the greatest of all time (GOAT), for the time being, at least.

And he admitted he would support ‘elegant but effective’ Federer if he wasn’t emotionally tied to Nadal.

‘For me, he’s a wonderful player,’ he added.

‘I like to watch Roger Federer a lot. If I wasn’t the uncle nor the coach of Rafael, I would want Federer to win all the matches.

‘But at the end, I like how he plays, because he’s very elegant but he’s very effective too.

‘I know Federer is the best ever with I don’t know who; maybe Rod Laver or maybe Rafael, he’s not too far. But at the moment Federer is the best.’

So what is the secret to beating Federer?

Toni Nadal said: ‘When we play against Federer, we know – at least, that’s what I said to Rafael – we have a way to beat Federer: play two, three, four times with a high ball over his backhand and then you can go forward and take the lead.’

Simple, right?

Toni Nadal and Carlos Moya were speaking to Eurosport as part of its Players’ Cut series which this week features Rafa Nadal. Players’ Cut airs from 6pm each evening this week on Eurosport 1.

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Jari Litmanen reveals he had 'never felt in such bad shape'

Former Liverpool and Ajax star Jari Litmanen reveals he had ‘never felt in such bad shape’ after contracting coronavirus… but has now recovered after four weeks with illness

  • Finland’s record appearance holder Jari Litmanen contracted coronavirus
  • It took the 49-year-old four weeks to fully recover from the deadly virus
  • The ex-Liverpool, Ajax and Barcelona player says he caught the illness at home
  • Though he didn’t go to hospital, Litmanen says he’s ‘never felt in such bad shape’
  • Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

Jari Litmanen has divulged details after suffering from coronavirus, saying ‘he’s never been in such bad shape.’

The former Liverpool, Ajax and Barcelona midfielder, who retired in 2011, was diagnosed with COVID-19 and took four weeks to recover fully, as well as two extra weeks of rest and recuperation. 

Litmanen, 49, who holds the record for most caps for Finland with 137 appearances over a 21-year international career, spoke in depth about his symptoms. 

Jari Litmanen has opened up about how he has coped with contracting coronavirus

The former Finnish international played for Liverpool for 18 months from 2001-2002

‘There was a fever, headache, muscle aches, shortness of breath and everything possible,’ Litmanen said, as reported by Unibet. 

‘It took four weeks to recover from coronavirus and since then there has now been a couple of weeks of recovery.

‘Fortunately, the pains or shortness of breath was never so severe that I would have had to go to the hospital, but I was able to get the disease at home.

‘Getting sick was very tiring, and sometimes it was really heavy. Physically, I’ve probably never been in such bad shape. 

Litmanen, pictured in 2018 at the UEFA Nations League draw, has now recovered from the virus

‘On the other hand, when I was sick for four weeks, when it was a little tighter, I didn’t really miss football or any other sport. The thoughts were a bit elsewhere…’  

Litmanen only spent 18 months at Liverpool after moving from Barcelona in January 2001, missing all three finals in the ’01 treble season due to a broken wrist. 

He then signed for Ajax for a second time, and also signed for Fulham in 2008 but never made an appearance for the first-team, due to serious heart concerns. 




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Ander Herrera reveals he didn't want to leave Manchester United

‘My intention was not to leave’: Ander Herrera reveals he wanted to stay at Manchester United but a ‘difference of opinions’ with the board led to his exit

  • Ander Herrera joined PSG from Man United on a free transfer last summer
  • The Spaniard has made 189 appearances in five seasons at Old Trafford 
  • He decided not to sign a new contract because of disagreements with the board

Ander Herrera has revealed that he didn’t want to leave Manchester United but did so because of a difference of opinions with the board.

Herrera’s five-year spell at Old Trafford came to an end when he joined Paris Saint-Germain on a free transfer last summer after his contract had expired. 

The midfielder scored 20 goals in 189 appearances for the Red Devils, helping them win an FA Cup, League Cup and the Europa League in the process.

Ander Herrera has said that he did not want to leave Manchester United last summer

Reflecting on his departure from Old Trafford, Herrera told ESPN FC: ‘When I look back a year ago, my intention was not to leave Manchester United.   

‘I had some different opinions with the board but I respect them. I respect them a lot. They do things for Manchester United and I disagree with the people who say they don’t. 

‘They really suffer when things don’t go well and they really fight to bring Manchester United back. 

Herrera says a difference of opinions with the board was the reason for his departure

‘I disagreed with some of the decisions they made but this happens in football. In happens in every company.

‘Apart from that, I respect them. I had a great relationship with Ed Woodward and with the owners when they came so I have nothing to complain about with them.’

Herrera won the first league title of his career last week after it was confirmed that PSG would be crowned champions with the Ligue 1 ended early due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Spaniard joined Paris Saint-Germain on a free transfer after his contract expired 

But Herrera says he did not celebrate the announcement, adding: ‘To be honest, I didn’t celebrate it. I love football but I love to play football and win trophies on the pitch. 

‘Of course, it’s good to have one more title but it’s not the same. I wanted to celebrate with our fans and my teammates. 

‘I think it’s well deserved because we were 12 points ahead of Marseille but it is what it is. To be honest, it’s quite sad to win my first league title like this.’


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Arjen Robben reveals he has considered coming out of retirement

‘Maybe I would like to play again’: Former Bayern Munich star Arjen Robben reveals he is considering coming out of retirement at 36, less than a year after quitting football

  • Arjen Robben has revealed that he has considered coming out of retirement 
  • Former Bayern Munich winger brought an end to his playing career last summer 
  • Robben initially didn’t miss football but then started to consider playing again 

Ex-Bayern Munich winger Arjen Robben has revealed that he has considered coming out of retirement.

Robben ended his playing career last summer and admits that, while he initially didn’t miss football, he started to think about possibly playing again.

Thr 36-year-old told the FC Bayern podcast: ‘In the beginning I didn’t miss football at all.

Former Bayern Munich winger Arjen Robben has considered coming out of retirement

‘But then there was a phase when it tickled again and I had thoughts such as: ‘Hey, maybe I would like to play a little again.’

‘From time to time I still have this feeling. With this virus, it is a very strange time for everyone and when football returns, then now! But maybe it always stays a bit in there. I’m just an athlete.’

Robben spent ten years at Bayern and made 309 appearances for the club, scoring 144 goals and providing 101 assists.

Robben enjoyed a trophy-laden career which included winning the Champions League in 2013

ARJEN ROBBEN’S CAREER 

2000-2002: Groningen

2002-2004: PSV

2004-2007: Chelsea

2007-2009: Real Madrid

2009-2019: Bayern Munich 

During that period he won an array of trophies including the Champions League, eight Bundesliga titles and five German cups.

The Dutchman, who started his career at Groningen, also won league titles with Real Madrid, Chelsea and PSV Eindhoven. 

On the international stage Robben was capped by Holland on 96 occasions and scored 37 goals.  

Robben wasn’t heavily involved during the final season of his career as he struggled with injuries, and it seems unlikely that he would be able to play regularly if he was to come out of retirement. 




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Stam admits he can't choose between AC Milan and United as best club

‘It’s impossible’: Jaap Stam admits he cannot choose between AC Milan and Manchester United as the best club of his career… as he insists he would ‘snap up’ a coaching role in Serie A

  • Jaap Stam says it’s tough to choose between AC Milan and United as his top club
  • He won three league titles and Champions League at United and nothing at Milan
  • Stam also says he would ‘snap up’ a job in Serie A if one became available soon
  • He has previously managed Reading and left Feyenoord at the back end of 2019

Jaap Stam says it is ‘impossible’ to choose between Manchester United and AC Milan when it comes to picking the best club of his playing career.

The legendary centre back spent three full seasons at Old Trafford, winning the Premier League title in each of them and a Champions League in his first year, while he only picking up a single Super Cup during his time with the Rossoneri.

In fact, his time with Milan also saw the team throw away a three-goal half-time lead to Liverpool in the Champions League final, but Stam still believes that team was up there with the very best.

Jaap Stam retired in 2008 and has since taken up a career in management, once at Reading


Stam says he can’t choose between Manchester United (L) and AC Milan (R) as his best club

‘Milan is the best team I ever played for, along with Manchester United. It’s impossible to choose between them,’ the 47-year-old said in an interview with La Gazzetta dello Sport. 

‘I love Italian football, your way of experiencing and understanding the sport. I had three years at Lazio, then another two with Milan, so I had a lot of fun.’

Stam is currently out of work having stepped aside at Feyenoord at the back end of 2019, and he admits that if a role came up in Italy, he would jump at the chance. 

Stam says if a top role came up in Serie A now, he would snap it up after leaving Feyenoord

‘If there was an opportunity to coach in Serie A, I’d snap it up,’ he added. ‘I am not one of those coaches who only wants to work at top clubs, as I love to build from the foundations. 

‘I did have some contact with clubs before the whole world ground to a halt because of the coronavirus, but health comes first.’

Stam ended his playing career in 2008 having made over 400 senior appearances, and has since taken charge of Reading, Zwolle, Feyenoord and the Ajax youth team.




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Ramsey hails Ronaldo as he reveals his dedication to being the best

‘He’s first in the gym, he goes through his whole routine, he’s an exceptional athlete’: Juventus’ Aaron Ramsey hails team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo as he reveals the Portuguese’s level of dedication to being at the top

  • Aaron Ramsey joined Cristiano Ronaldo at Juventus from Arsenal last summer 
  • The Welshman has been impressed with Ronaldo’s commitment since he joined 
  • Ramsey spoke about his team-mate’s dedication to keeping himself at the top

Aaron Ramsey has lauded praise on his ‘unbelievable’ Juventus team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo for his dedication to ensure he stays at the top of his game.

The Portuguese superstar has had a sensational career to date and has gone to become one of the best in the history of the sport.

Ramsey has got to see first-hand since he arrived in Turin last summer just how hard Ronaldo works and he has hailed his 35-year-old team-mate for his commitment in training. 

Aaron Ramsey has praised team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo for his dedication to being the best

The Welshman joined Ronaldo at Juventus last summer following 11 years spent at Arsenal

‘He’s an exceptional athlete,’ the Welshman told singer Niall Horan during a chat on Instagram Live. 

He said: ‘He’s first in the gym, he goes through his whole routine first and then he’s out onto the pitches.

‘He’s a winner, wants to win every single game, every small-sided game, whatever it is, then he’ll be out there practising his free-kicks and things like that and shooting.

‘You don’t need me to tell you how good or driven he is, he’s unbelievable, he’s one of the greatest in the history of the game.’ 

Since breaking into the game, Ronaldo has won major league titles for Manchester United, Real Madrid and Juventus, the Champions League on five occasions as well as the Ballon D’or five times.

Before the breakout of COVID-19, Ronaldo was enjoying another stellar season scoring 25 goals in 32 games.

While football is currently on hold, the Portuguese international has regularly been updating his 211 million followers on Instagram about his recent activities.

He uploaded a video of himself and his girlfriend working out at home earlier this week while he unwinds in Madeira.

During the enforced break from football, Ronaldo has also invited fans to attempt the ‘core crusher challenge’ after he shared a clip of his incredible 142 reps in just 45 seconds.

Ronaldo caused a stir after he was pictured training at Madeira’s national stadium with his son

Pictures also showed him working on his football skills at the Madeira national stadium, home of club CD Nacional, in Funchal on the Portuguese island.

The images sparked controversy and resulted in government officials being quizzed on why Ronaldo was training at the stadium.

In a press conference, Madeira’s head of health Pedro Ramos said that Ronaldo’s exercise did not break any lockdown rules. 




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UFC boss White says he has 'secured a PRIVATE ISLAND' to host fights

UFC boss Dana White reveals he has ‘secured a PRIVATE ISLAND’ to host fights every week in extravagant plans to be the only sport still going during the coronavirus pandemic

  • Dana White has revealed that ‘as of April 18, the UFC is back up and running’ 
  • The UFC boss said he is close to ‘securing a private island’ to host weekly fights
  • White is determined to be the only sport still going during this global pandemic
  • The world of sport has been decimated globally due to the scale of coronavirus 

Dana White is ‘close to securing a private island’ as the UFC chief continues to press ahead with plans to keep the sport going amid the global coronavirus pandemic. 

Almost every sport has seen their matches and events wiped out by the novel coronavirus but White is adamant that  ‘as of April 18, the UFC is back up and running’. 

Speaking to TMZ Sports, White revealed that due to difficulty in bringing international fighters to the United States, infrastructure is being ‘worked on’ on the private island to make it ready to host fights every week in an audacious plan to keep fight cards going. 

UFC boss Dana White has a bold plan to ‘secure a private island’ to continue hosting fights

While a deal is not done for the island, White is keen to combat the coronavirus pandemic

‘I am a day or two away from securing a private island,’ White said. 

‘I have a private island that I’ve secured; we’re getting the infrastructure put in now, so I’m gonna start doing the international fights, too. 

‘With international fighters, because I won’t be able to get international fighters into the US, I have a private island that I’m gonna start flying them all in and doing international fights from there. So as of April 18, the UFC is back up and running.’ 

UFC 249 has been reshuffled with Khabib Nurmagomedov (left) in lockdown back in Russia, making him unavailable to leave the country to take on Tony Ferguson in the main event

The date of April 18 means that White and his team are working towards UFC 249, the location of which remains unknown at this stage. 

The secret venue has been ‘locked up’ by White for two months and his plan is to ‘set up shop’ before moving all the action to the ‘private island’ which is currently being renovated to make itself fight-ready.

Concerns over the health of the fighters or production staff was dismissed by White. 

He added in the interview that everyone involved with the productions will be thoroughly screened to ensure the event is not forced into cancellation through a positive test for COVID-19.

UFC 249 has already seen a reshuffle in the main event with Khabib Nurmagomedov dropping out as he remains unable to leave Russia due to the scale of the pandemic. 

Justin Gaethje, celebrates a win against Edson Barboza in March, has stepped up for UFC 249

That move saw Justin Gaethje step up to take on Tony Ferguson for the interim title. 

UFC 249 has been beset with issues over the last few weeks, not least the ongoing coronavirus crisis.

It was originally meant to take place in Brooklyn, New York and in the middle of last month governor Andrew Cuomo issued an order restricting mass gatherings. 

HOW CORONAVIRUS HAS HIT THE WORLD OF SPORT SO FAR

2020 OLYMPIC GAMES  

The 2020 Olympic Games has been postponed until 2021 on March 24 – becoming one of the last major sporting events this summer to fall victim to the coronavirus.

Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe held a crucial conference call with Olympics chief Thomas Bach on Tuesday to formally decide a plan and they have chosen to postpone for 12 months.

The decision also means the Tokyo Paralympic Games will be subject to a one-year delay.

Despite the delay, the name of the delayed Games will still be Tokyo 2020, the city’s governor Yuriko Koike revealed.

A joint statement from the IOC and Tokyo 2020 organising committee read: ‘In the present circumstances and based on the information provided by the WHO today, the IOC President and the Prime Minister of Japan have concluded that the Games of the XXXII Olympiad in Tokyo must be rescheduled to a date beyond 2020 but not later than summer 2021, to safeguard the health of the athletes, everybody involved in the Olympic Games and the international community.

‘The leaders agreed that the Olympic Games in Tokyo could stand as a beacon of hope to the world during these troubled times and that the Olympic flame could become the light at the end of the tunnel in which the world finds itself at present. 

‘Therefore, it was agreed that the Olympic flame will stay in Japan. It was also agreed that the Games will keep the name Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020.’ 

There was plenty of scepticism whether the Olympics would pull through and continue as scheduled while events linked to the games were called off. The Olympic torch relay in Greece was cancelled on Friday March 13 – just a day after the flame was lit in Olympia.

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games have been postponed by one year due to the coronavirus

Large crowds mobbed Hollywood actor Gerard Butler as he lit the cauldron in the Greek city of Sparta despite repeated warnings for spectators not to attend because of coronavirus.

That forced the decision by the Greek Olympic Committee to halt the torch relay on Greek soil on just the second day of its scheduled eight-day journey. It is the only the third time that a relay to Athens for the summer Games has not been completed.

The Olympic flame will still be handed over to the Tokyo 2020 organising committee at the Panathenaic Stadium in Athens on Thursday March 19, but without fans present. 

Athletes were told to keep training but many struggled considering the government lock-down measures put in place. 

On Friday March 13 US president Donald Trump’s suggestion to postpone the Tokyo Olympics for a year because of the coronavirus was immediately shot down by Japan’s Olympic minister.

‘The IOC and the organising committee are not considering cancellation or a postponement – absolutely not at all,’ Seiko Hashimoto, an Olympic bronze medalist, told a news conference in Tokyo.

On Tuesday March 17, Kozo Tashima, one of the Japanese Olympic Committee’s vice presidents and president of the Japanese Football Association, tested positive for coronavirus.  

The International Olympic Committee and Tokyo organisers have stayed on message since the viral outbreak in China three months ago spread across Asia and then the globe: The games will open as scheduled on July 24. 

Tokyo 2020 organisers received the Olympic flame in a scaled-down handover ceremony in the Greek capital on March 19. 

ATHLETICS 

The World Athletics Indoor Championships, which was due to be held from March 13-15 in Nanjing, is postponed until March 2021.

The World Athletics Indoor Championships in Nanjing, China, has been postponed due to concerns over the danger of the coronavirus and its ability to spread

North Korea cancelled the Pyongyang Marathon scheduled for April after imposing a border lockdown due to the level of outbreak in South Korea, where the Seoul Marathon is cancelled in a bid to protect runners.

The Paris half-marathon is cancelled and the French government also decided to ban all public gatherings of more than 100 people, before ordering people to stay at home from March 15 for at least 15 days. The race involving some 44,000 competitors was scheduled for Sunday March 1. Organisers said the race will be postponed to a date yet to be determined.

The London Marathon, which had been scheduled to take place on April 26, has been postponed until October 4. Over 40,000 runners were due to take part. 

The Barcelona marathon scheduled for March 15 has been postponed until October.

BOXING 

Olympic boxing qualifiers to be staged in Wuhan were cancelled by the International Olympic Committee, but went ahead in Amman from March 3-11.

The IBF title fight between Daniele Scardina and Andrew Francillette in Milan on February 28 was postponed by Matchroom due to restrictions in Italy following the outbreak.

The Japanese boxing commission cancelled all fight cards scheduled for March on government advice to suspend all pending sporting fixtures. They will not be rescheduled.

Daniel Dubois and Joe Joyce’s Battle of Britain has been pushed back from April to July

The British Boxing Board of Control announced on Tuesday March 17 that all boxing events under their jurisdiction for March will be postponed due to the coronavirus.

That decision has lead to the heavyweight clash between Daniel Dubois and Joe Joyce being postponed. That fight, which had been penciled in for April 11, has been rescheduled for July 11 at the O2 Arena. 

Anthony Yarde, who was due to fight Lyndon Arthur on the undercard of the all-British clash, announced on March 29 that his father had died as a result of contracting the coronavirus. 

He revealed in an Instagram post that he had no underlying health issues and urged everyone to stay at home.  

Matchroom Boxing has also postponed all events scheduled for March and April, including Josh Kelly’s European title fight against Russia’s David Avanesyan (scheduled for March 28). 

The European Olympic boxing qualification tournament in London has been suspended. It was due to secure qualification for Tokyo 2020 for 77 male and female boxers, with 322 taking part. 

Matchroom Boxing chief Eddie Hearn has said Anthony Joshua’s heavyweight title defence against Kubrat Pulev, which is scheduled for June 20, could be rearranged for July. All Matchroom promoted fights in March and April have been postponed. 

Canelo Alvarez vs Billy Joe Saunders, earmarked for May in Las Vegas, was postponed before even being announced, however the Mexican is reportedly still planning to make the bout happen in June. 

CRICKET 

England’s tour of Sri Lanka was postponed on March 13, with the England and Wales Cricket Board citing ‘completely unprecedented times’.

The decision was confirmed while Joe Root’s side were in the field at Colombo’s P Sara Oval, contesting a warm-up game for a two-Test series.

On March 18, the West Indies offered to host England’s upcoming home Tests against them in the Caribbean instead of in the UK – should the coronavirus outbreak not have improved by then. England are due to face the Windies in a a three-Test series, which is due to start at the Oval on June 4 but could be delayed until September. If playing the series in England proves unworkable, CWI have offered to step in for this series, and also for England’s three Tests against Pakistan, due to start on July 30. Although there are Covid-19 cases in the Caribbean, its impact there has been limited so far. 

The start of the Indian Premier League season has also been delayed until April 15. The 2020 campaign had been set to start on March 29. The IPL franchises are also ready to quarantine their foreign players for a period of 14 days, if travel restrictions are lifted to allow them to arrive.

On March 13, India’s ongoing one-day international series against South Africa was postponed, while Australia’s one-day internationals against New Zealand will be played behind closed doors.

Scotland’s one-day series against the United States and UAE have been postponed. The games were scheduled to be played in Florida in April. 

England’s cricketers would not play any rescheduled Test series against West Indies in the Caribbean until December at the earliest, it emerged on March 19.

CYCLING 

Cycling’s Giro d’Italia has been called off, with the race scheduled to start in Hungary in May. 

The final two stages of the UAE Tour were cancelled after two members of staff on the race were suspected of having the disease. 

Danish cyclist Michael Morkov was tested for coronavirus after being put in isolation

The Tour de France is under threat of cancellation, with the scheduled start in Nice taking place in just over three months, on June 27. With British and French governments anticipating that the pandemic will last until the summer, race organizers are studying alternative scheduling. 

The Paris-Roubaix cycling race, another major event on the French sports calendar, was postponed due to the pandemic, while the April 5 Tour of Flanders, only previously cancelled during World War I, was also postponed in a further sign that Le Tour is under grave threat.

FOOTBALL 

This summer’s Euro 2020 tournament has been moved to next summer (2021) following a UEFA conference held on March 17. The postponement provides a chance for European club competitions to be completed.

All football in England is suspended until at least April 30 – but the 2019-20 season should eventually be completed after the FA bend their own rules to extend the campaign INDEFINITELY after holding crisis talks on March 19.

The decisions to suspend follows players and staff becoming affected by the virus, or individuals self-isolating as a precaution after reporting symptoms consistent with Covid-19.

The Premier League has moved to cancel games following the global outbreak of coronavius

The Premier League clash between Manchester City and Arsenal, scheduled for March 11, had already been postponed as a ‘precautionary measure’ after Olympiacos and Nottingham Forest owner Evangelos Marinakis tested positive for coronavirus weeks after watching his Greek team play at the Emirates Stadium. 

On March 13, UEFA announced all Champions League and Europa League fixtures scheduled are postponed, as well as the quarter-final draws for both competitions. UEFA hope to conclude the competitions in the summer but no dates are yet set. 

Birmingham City become the first Championship side to see players take temporary 50 per cent wage cuts to ease financial pressure.  Leeds United soon followed in a bid to keep paying all of their non-football staff. 

All Chinese domestic fixtures at all levels were postponed and the season pushed back, the first football to be affected by the outbreak in the country of its origin. However, reports suggest that the league could resume on April 18 as China gets to grip with the virus.

Asian Champions League matches involving Guangzhou Evergrande, Shanghai Shenhua and Shanghai SIPG are postponed until April.

The start of the Korean K-League season is postponed. The four teams in the AFC Champions League are playing their matches behind closed doors.

Japan’s J-League postponed all domestic games until the middle of March, but further delays are inevitable. 

Ludogorets players were taking no chances after the coronavirus outbreak in Italy

Italy, the country worst hit by the virus outside China, suffered a spate of cancellations before the government put the population on lockdown. All sport, including Serie A games, were suspended until at least April 3 to contain the virus.

In France, it was announced on Friday 13 March that there will be no top-flight football in France for the immediate future after their governing body postponed all matches.  

In Spain, April 18’s Copa del Rey final between between Athletic Bilbao and Real Sociedad has been postponed. LaLiga is also postponed until the end of March at least.

Germany’s Bundesliga, the other major European league, is also suspended until April 3 at least. 

The Dutch Eredivisie and Portugal’s Primeira Liga are also suspended.

The Football Association of Ireland announced that all football under its jurisdiction will cease until March 29. 

Major League Soccer has been suspended for 30 days until mid-April with David Beckham’s first Inter Miami home game delayed.  

The South American Football Confederation postponed this year’s Copa America, due to take place from 12 June to 12 July, until 2021.

FIFA said that the newly-expanded Club World Cup, originally scheduled to take place in China in June 2021, will be postponed and a new date announced when ‘there is more clarity on the situation’.

On March 13, the FA announced that all of England’s games scheduled for the month would be postponed, including those of development teams. It means that England’s friendlies with Italy and Denmark have been called off.    

Euro 2020 play-off matches due to be held on March 26, including Scotland v Israel have been put off until June. 

Olympiakos’ owner Evangelos Marinakis has tested positive for the coronavirus

Manchester United clash at Austrian side Lask was behind closed doors, with United handing out £350 to each fan to help with travel and accommodation after they sold 900 tickets for the Europa League game. 

Newcastle United banned their players from shaking hands with each other amid coronavirus fears. 

Cristiano Ronaldo went into isolation in Madeira after it emerged that his Juventus team-mate, Daniele Rugani, has coronavirus. Squad members Blaise Matuidi and Paolo Dybala also tested positive. 

Elsewhere in Italy, Fiorentina striker Patrick Cutrone, who is on loan from Wolverhampton Wanderers, tested positive for coronavirus.

In Spain, 35% of Valencia’s squad staff tested positive for coronavirus, with all cases being asymptomatic. 

Real Madrid’s first-team squad were in quarantine after a member of the basketball team tested positive for Covid-19. The two teams share the same training facility.   

Liverpool have announced a charity match between a Reds Legends side and Barcelona Legends, due to be played at Anfield on March 28, has been postponed.

FIFA says it will postpone South American World Cup qualifying matches due to take place in March. 

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta tested positive for coronavirus on March 12 with the entire first-team squad being put into isolation. The Gunners’ game against Brighton, scheduled for Saturday March 14, has been postponed.

In the early hours of Friday, March 13, Chelsea announced that winger Callum Hudson-Odoi had been diagnosed with the illness.

The club’s first team went into self-isolation, while two buildings at their training ground in Cobham were closed. 

Premier League clubs, including Manchester United and Manchester City, have sent players home to train alone following the British government’s increasing crackdown on mass gatherings and unnecessary social contact.   

West Ham chief Karren Brady called for the season to be null and void while Aston Villa believe no team should be relegated. In this situation Liverpool, the runaway league leaders, could face the horror of being denied the title despite being on the brink of securing their first league trophy in nearly 30 years.

Reports suggest football bodies across England and the rest of Europe are bracing themselves for a reported total shutdown of every league until September.

Top-level English and Scottish football was initially suspended until April 3 at the earliest. The Football Association, the Premier League, the English Football League, FA Women’s Super League and FA Women’s Championship all agreed to call a halt to competitive action with immediate effect. 

All levels of English football below the National League North and South have been called off and voided with no promotion and relegation due to the calendar being decimated by the coronavirus outbreak.  

FORMULA ONE 

The season-opening Australian Grand Prix was called off after a McLaren team member came down with Covid-19, leading to the British team pulling out prior to a decision being made on whether the race would still go ahead. 

The announcement came hours after Lewis Hamilton said it was ‘shocking’ that the race was going ahead. 

The Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai on April 19 was the first race to be postponed, with no decision over whether it will be reinserted into the 2020 calendar for later in the season. 

The Bahrain Grand Prix, scheduled for March 20-22, is also called off, as is the inaugural Vietnam Grand Prix, which was scheduled to take place in Hanoi on April 5. 

It was hoped that the Dutch Grand Prix on May 3 would be the first race of the new season but that has also been postponed due to Covid-19. 

The iconic Monaco Grand Prix on May 24 was cancelled for the first time in 66 years before Formula One announced their race in Azerbaijan had been postponed. 

The Chinese GP was first to be cancelled and other races could yet follow that lead

GOLF 

On March 13, the Masters was postponed. In a statement released online, Fred Ridley, Chairman of Augusta National Golf Club, emphasised that the decision makers hope to hold the championship ‘at some later date’. The first men’s major of the year was due to begin on April 9.

The US PGA Championship, the second major of the year, has now joined the  Masters in being postponed. It had been due to take place at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco from May 11-17, but has been rescheduled for later this summer.

After deciding to play with no spectators from the second round of the Players Championship onwards, the PGA Tour cancelled the event entirely after the first round on March 12. 

They also scrapped the following three events leading up to the Masters, but after that was cancelled four further events in April and May – the RBC Heritage, the Zurich Classic of New Orleans, the Wells Fargo Championship and the AT&T Byron Nelson – also bit the dust. It is hoped that the season can be resumed in late May.

The European Tour have cancelled all tournaments until the popular Made in Denmark event on May 21. Many of them were due to be held in China or east Asia in countries badly hit by the outbreak.

The women’s game has also been hit by postponements and cancellations, with the year’s first major, the ANA Inspiration, the highest profile casualty.

The Masters has been postponed for the first time since the Second World War

Lorenzo Gagli and Edoardo Molinari were withdrawn from the Oman Open on medical grounds after Gagli showed symptoms of the virus. He shared a hotel room with Molinari and he was told to self-isolate. They were later reinstated to the tournament after testing negative for the virus. 

HORSE RACING 

The Grand National was called off following new British government restrictions to fight the spread of coronavirus made it impossible to stage the Aintree showpiece on April 4. The Cheltenham Festival went ahead amid some criticism before the social distancing measures were tightened. 

The Japan Racing Association revealed that ‘government-sanctioned races’ will go ahead behind closed doors.  

Racing in Ireland attempted to take place behind closed doors starting on March 29 – but that decision was changed after government cancelled all sporting events.  

The Dubai World Cup meeting will go ahead on March 28 ‘without paid hospitality spectators’. 

Racing Post forced to temporarily suspend publication of the flagship daily racing newspaper for the first time since their inception in 1986 due to all action in UK and Ireland being suspended.  

The Cheltenham Festival went ahead despite travel disruption caused by the virus

RUGBY 

This year’s Six Nations will have to wait for its conclusion with all remaining games postponed.

England’s game with Italy and Ireland’s trip to France had already been called off with Wales and Scotland leaving it until the day before before calling off their game. 

Saturday, 31 October is a possible date for the final weekend of matches. 

The Women’s Six Nations has also been hit by postponements.

Ireland’s Six Nations encounter with Italy on March 7 has been postponed

The RFU has suspended all levels of rugby in England until April 14, with the announcement coming shortly after the Premiership was halted for five weeks. 

The quarter-finals of the European Champions Cup and Challenge Cup have also been postponed. Those games were scheduled for April 3, 4 and 5.   

The RFL and rugby league’s Super League have now followed suit and postponed all fixtures for at least three weeks. Eight Leeds Rhinos players had been confirmed to be self-isolating.  

TENNIS

Wimbledon has been cancelled for the first time since World War II as All England Club chiefs called the tournament off at an emergency meeting.

It was considered impossible for the tournament to be moved back to later in the year, or to be played without fans, and so chiefs have pulled the plug entirely.

This is the first time that Wimbledon will not be staged since 1945. Only one Grand Slam has missed a year since the war, the 1986 Australian Open, and that was for the technical reason of the date shifting forward from December into January. 

The French Open, one of the four Grand Slam tournaments, is postponed until September amid a wide lockdown in France.

The clay-court major was scheduled for May 24 to June 7, but that has shifted to September 20 to October 4, after the US Open, which was due to be the final major of the year. 

Players have been quick to criticise the move, which has created a conflict with the Laver Cup men’s team event spearheaded by Roger Federer, and a women’s tournament in China.

All events on the ATP Tour have been suspended for six weeks. 

The BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells in California, set to start on March 9, was postponed at the eleventh hour.  It came after a confirmed case of the coronavirus in the nearby Coachella Valley.

The final of an ATP Challenger event in Bergamo, Italy, between Enzo Couacaud and Illya Marchenko of Ukraine was cancelled. Both players received ranking points and prize money for getting to the final. They were denied the opportunity to play behind closed doors.

China forfeited a Davis Cup tie because the men’s team were unable to travel to Romania for the March 6-7 play-off.

WTA events have also been cancelled. The WTA announced they are assessing their schedule with a number of events set for China in the second half of the season.

The International Tennis Federation has announced that the Fed Cup finals have been postponed. The event was due to be held in Budapest in April and the competition’s play-offs, which were set to take place in eight different locations, have also been placed on hold.

The WTA also announced no tournaments will be staged for at least five weeks.   

Wimbledon has been cancelled for the first time since World War II

OTHER SPORTS 

The NBA has been suspended indefinitely after two Utah Jazz players contracted the virus. On March 17 Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant confirmed he had tested positive for the virus alongside three unnamed team-mates.

In an aid to decrease risks of exposure to the virus, the NBA had told players to avoid taking items such as pens, markers, balls and jerseys from autograph seekers. 

The NHL has announced it has paused the 2019-20 season with no date confirmed for when it will resume. 

The UFC has cancelled its next three events, although president Dana White is still pushing ahead for the highly-anticipated lightweight title fight between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson. 

MotoGP have cancelled their first two races of the season in Qatar and Thailand. 

South Korea’s baseball league cancelled all 50 pre-season game which were slated to take place from March 14-24. It is the first time since the leagues inception in 1982 that an entire set of exhibition matches are off. 

The first-stage draw for the Table Tennis World Championships, scheduled for South Korea from March 22-29, is postponed.

A beach volleyball tournament, due to be held in Yangzhou from April 22-26, is postponed until after the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

World Short track speed skating championship in Seoul is cancelled.

The World Triathlon Series event in Abu Dhabi was postponed as a precautionary measure.  

The Women’s World Ice Hockey Championships in Canada have been cancelled.   

All 72 pre-season baseball games in Japan are to take place behind closed doors

In badminton, the German Open (March 3-8), Vietnam Open (March 24-29) and Polish Open (March 26-29), all Olympic qualifying events, are cancelled due to ‘strict health protection’. 

The Japanese professional baseball league made the decision to play their 72 pre-season games behind closed doors until March 15. Baseball is among the most popular sports in Japan.  

Doubts remain as the Asian weightlifting championships, scheduled for March, are relocated from Kazakhstan to neighbouring Uzbekistan. They could still be postponed. 




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