Tua undergoes medical recheck; results ‘positive’

Tua Tagovailoa underwent a voluntary medical recheck Thursday that was facilitated by the NFL combine, and the results of the comprehensive exam “were overwhelmingly positive,” the quarterback’s representatives told ESPN’s Laura Rutledge and NFL Network.

The recheck was performed by an independent doctor who was selected by NFL team physicians, and all 32 team doctors and trainers were allowed to give input on the type of exams they wanted done, the reps told ESPN.

The results were shared with all 32 teams, the reps said.

In an interview with ESPN’s SportsCenter on Wednesday, Tagovailoa said, “I’m 100 percent right now” and that he was “ready to go.”

He also said he believed he could play as a rookie if called to do so.

“I feel like if I had to go out there and perform the same way I did my sophomore year and my junior year, being 100 percent healthy, I feel like I’d be able to go out there and do that,” he said.

Tagovailoa recently released on his social media page several clips of him practicing, giving a first recent glimpse at the former Alabama quarterback. He was a Heisman Trophy finalist as a sophomore and threw for 33 touchdowns and only three interceptions as a junior before suffering a season-ending injury on Nov. 16 against Mississippi State. He sustained a posterior wall fracture and dislocated hip and underwent surgery in November.

The surgery was the second last season for Tagovailoa. He had surgery on his right ankle Oct. 20, a day after he was injured in the Crimson Tide’s 35-13 victory over Tennessee.

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Former Jacksonville Jaguars great Tony Boselli says coronavirus ‘buried me’ after landing in Mayo Clinic’s ICU

Former Jacksonville Jaguars standout and Pro Football Hall of Fame finalist Tony Boselli is recovering after he was hospitalized for five days at the Mayo Clinic for COVID-19, he told the Times-Union on Thursday in his first public comments.

Boselli, 47, also said that his 47-year-old wife, Angie, tested positive for coronavirus, but that her symptoms were far less severe, resulting in no fever, and that she has fully recovered. She never had to be hospitalized.

Things got so bad for the former five-time Pro Bowl offensive tackle that he had to be put in the Mayo Clinic’s ICU. He was hooked up two IVs and needed oxygen to restore his breathing to a proper level. He was admitted to ICU on March 25 and not released until Monday.

“For whatever reason, [COVID-19] buried me and didn’t do much to her,” Boselli said. “She’s obviously much tougher than I am. She had 7-10 days where she didn’t feel like herself, but her symptoms were mild.”

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Though not declaring himself fully recovered, Boselli says he feels much better and hopes to start riding his beach cruiser the moment that test comes back negative.

“I can still feel my lungs aren’t all the way back,” said Tony. “I have no fever. The cough is under control. I get tired quicker, but I’m starting to answer emails.”

In a wide-ranging, 45-minute interview, Boselli outlined how he first became aware of initial symptoms on the night of March 16 – after playing golf the previous weekend at Sawgrass Country Club – but didn’t think much of it because he had no fever and just had a cold with mild congestion. He also went to lunch that same day with two friends, both of whom had to go into a 14-day quarantine after Boselli told them he tested positive on March 20.

Everything started to change for Boselli on March 18 when he woke up “feeling lousier” and had a fever. Then came a phone call informing him that he and Angie had been around somebody who tested positive.

He soon called his doctor and got tested at Mayo Clinic. The fever symptoms persisted and on March 20, the test result came back positive for COVID-19. The next 10 days became a medical roller-coaster where Boselli found himself deteriorating fast and briefly wondering if he was going to pull through.

“I guess the thought was there’s no way this is how the story is supposed to end here,” Tony said. “This is nuts. I never felt like, ‘poor me, or why me?’ You get sick, it happens. But the fact I was in the hospital with the coronavirus and crazy thoughts were going through my mind, like ‘I can’t believe this is going on.’

“The worst was my second day in ICU when they were upping my oxygen levels. That was probably the lowest, scariest moment. I had no family around me. I can’t remember exactly what the doctor said, something about the machine needing to go to another level for more oxygen if that didn’t work.

“Whatever drugs they were giving me, in combination with the oxygen, it got me to where I needed to be. I never had to find out what that next level was.”

Boselli said after he tested positive, he informed Sawgrass Country Club to forewarn members he might have come in contact with and that set off a chain reaction. It led to a flurry of speculation locally and nationally about him having COVID-19.

At that time, he said he wasn’t ready to go public like other public figures had done, preferring to privately warn those he might have infected.

Once his symptoms became progressively worse, Boselli said he wanted to focus on getting better, making sure Angie and their five children were properly protected before going public with his admission.

He made that decision Thursday morning, then talked with the Times-Union in the early afternoon. He was also going on a weekly Jaguars-related radio show at 4 p.m. on 1010XL.

Boselli profusely thanked all the medical people at Mayo who aided him in his recovery, along with many friends in the community and the Jaguars for bringing food to his Ponte Vedra home and leaving it on the front porch.

“People were amazing,” said Boselli. “Doctors, nurses, [physician assistants], people that cleaned my room, technicians taking blood, I can’t say enough good things about them. You have all these people covered up in their suits in your room, but they treated me great and made a bad situation as bearable as possible. They’re a bunch of studs in my book.

“Just the relationships and notes I got from people, the text messages and emails, it makes you realize what a blessed man I am.”

As for the coronavirus and its impact locally and nationally, Boselli issued a stern reminder to people who are either dismissive of COVID-19 or think the shutdowns of businesses are too restrictive: be vigilant in taking protective measures.

“The reality is the majority of people my age or younger who get it are probably going to be fine,” said Boselli. “But look at me, I was healthy with no issues at all and ended up in ICU. I guess you can play the odds and be OK.

“But I can’t imagine anyone who has underlying medical issues already having to go through what I did [and surviving]. As all of us look at this coronavirus, you have to look at other people and the impact this could have on them. The last thing we want is to put people who are vulnerable at risk. There were people dying in the hospital, so it’s real.

“The thought I would leave with is this: you might be OK, but your neighbor might not be. Try to think of everyone in this situation.”

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PFA turn on Premier League over pay cuts as union refuse to bow to pressure

Gordon Taylor came out fighting last night as the players’ union refused to bow to public pressure to take pay cuts.

It came after a stinging attack by Health Minister Matt Hancock who told multi-millionaire Premier League to “play their part” in the coronavirus crisis.

Mirror Sport has been told that some Premier League players want to come out publicly and form their own response while offering financial support.

But the Professional Footballers’ Association issued a strongly worded statement which turned on the clubs and accused them of wrongly using the Government’s furlough scheme when they could afford to pay staff and players.

PFA chief executive Taylor held lengthy meetings with the Premier League and EFL on Thursday afternoon but has now sparked civil war among the 20 top flight clubs ahead of their crisis summit on Friday.

The statement said: “Where clubs have the resources to pay all staff, the benefit of players paying non-playing staff salaries will only serve the club’s shareholders.

“Our current position is that – as businesses – if clubs can afford to pay their players and staff, they should.

“The players we have spoken recognise that the non-playing staff are a vital part of their club and they do not want to see club staff furloughed unfairly.

"Any use of the government’s support schemes without genuine financial need is detrimental to the wider society.

“While we have a remit to protect our members, throughout our history, we have also done our utmost to protect the wider game.

"There are a large number of clubs within English football who would simply no longer exist without the PFA’s support.

“We fully accept players will have to be flexible and share financial burden of COVID-19 outbreak in order to secure long-term future of own club and the wider game. Our advice going out to players at this point reflects that expectation.

"The PFA is also expecting to contribute financially.”

The statement makes it very clear they are angry with clubs like Tottenham who have put staff on the furlough scheme despite it being revealed this week chairman Daniel Levy has earned £7m which includes a £3m bonus for getting the new stadium ready.

That caused a public backlash but the PFA is now risking the public turning on players who earn huge contracts – such as Alexis Sanchez on £500k-a-week and David de Gea on £400k-a-week – caught up in the row.

Barcelona stars have offered to take a 70 per cent pay cut, Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund are taking pay cuts and Premier League bosses Eddie Howe and Graham Potter have taken “significant” drops in salary.

However, the Government intervened with Hancock expressing his annoyance at Premier League stars for not following suit.

Hancock said: “I think everybody needs to play their part in this national effort and that means Premier League footballers too. I think the first thing Premier League footballers can do is make a contribution; take a pay cut and play their part.”

Ex-Manchester United star Gary Neville then hit back on Twitter : “I wish I was a player for 10 more minutes.The Premier League players are more than likely working on a proposal to help clubs, communities and The NHS.

“It takes longer than 2 weeks to put together. Matt Hancock calling them out when he can’t get tests in place for NHS staff is a [email protected]@@@@g cheek!”

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Wimbledon without spectators still needed 5,000 people on site

Wimbledon without spectators still needed 5,000 people on site… the sheer number of personnel required to host a major event shows why so many showpieces have to be called off early

  • Wimbledon was cancelled for the first time since World War II due to coronavirus
  • Holding Wimbledon behind closed doors would have still involved big numbers
  • It would still have involved having at least 5,000 people at the All England Club
  • A scaled down version was also considered, but quickly viewed as impractical 

Holding a proper Wimbledon behind closed doors would still have involved having at least 5,000 people at the All England Club.

That is said to be the startling internal estimate circulated around various committees, and one reason why the idea was rejected and the whole tournament called off on Wednesday. A scaled down version of the competition was also considered, but quickly considered impractical.

The sheer number of personnel required to stage any major modern sporting event shows why so many showpieces have had to be abandoned early, with the Open golf the latest in line to go.

Wimbledon was cancelled on Wednesday because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic

Serbia’s Novak Djokovic will have to wait a further year to defend his Wimbledon title

In the case of Wimbledon everyone from ballkids to TV technicians to coaches would have been on site, even without spectators.

Outgoing Chief Executive Richard Lewis on Thursday warned that, despite a good insurance policy, Wimbledon would sustain a financial hit, although the knock-on effect for British tennis would be limited.

The Lawn Tennis Association, which on Thursday held a teleconference for all its staff, relies heavily on its annual handout from The Championships’ surplus, worth around £40 million. Some staff at Roehampton are expected to be furloughed.

‘The insurance will help protect the surplus to an extent, I would say to a large extent,’ he said. ‘ Of course we’re fortunate to have the insurance and it helps, but it doesn’t solve all the problems.’

Even without spectators, everyone from ballkids to TV technicians to coaches would have to be on site

Lewis is not convinced that the whole season will necessarily end up shutting down.

‘The optimist in me, and I am often not optimistic, still hopes that the American hardcourt season, (in August) will take place with tournaments like Montreal, Toronto and then Cincinnati. One hopes that things might have settled down a bit.’

He also revealed that he feared Wimbledon was in doubt some time ago.

‘Since the middle of February I had been thinking that the Championships were 50-50, and as events unfolded it was clear that society and Britain and the world in general had much greater problems to deal with,’ he said.

Outgoing Chief Executive Richard Lewis warned that Wimbledon would sustain a financial hit

Lewis added that any plans to financially help less well-off players and other workers in tennis were at a very early stage.

Although cutbacks are in the air at the LTA, one left field plan that might be worth considering – if the situation improved in the UK ahead of international travel restrictions lifting – is a one-off revival of the British national championships.

The event, last staged in 2002, could offer a competitive opportunity and some prize money for hard pressed players, a chance of work for officials and some much-needed profile for the game.

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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PFA release scathing statement after government urges Premier League stars to take pay cut

The PFA has released a statement in response to further calls urging Premier League players to take pay cuts and categorically denied any insinuation they would block all wage deferral requests. A number of Premier League clubs have already utilised the government’s job retention scheme by furloughing non-playing staff.

Meanwhile, a number of managers such as Bournemouth’s Eddie Howe and Brighton’s Graham Potter have voluntarily taken a pay cut to help clubs in the current climate.

But that has only increased on calls for Premier League players to play their part in helping the cause, with some of the league’s highest earners taking home more than £200,000-a-week.

Footballers’ wages have often come under a constant microscope when it comes to public perception, with many comparing their wages to those currently on the front-line such as NHS workers.

The government’s job retention scheme has been utilised by company’s up and down the country, with staff placed on furlough being paid 80 per cent of their wages to a maximum of £2,5000 per month.

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And government officials have now called on Premier League players to do their part in helping the non-playing staff at their respective clubs to get full pay by taking a pay cut.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “I think the first thing Premier League footballers can do is make a contribution; take a pay cut and play their part.”

But the PFA have responded, firstly to claims about blocking wage deferrals, and secondly regarding their position on the matter.

The statement read: “Contrary to some press reports the PFA has never stated that it will block all wage deferrals. What we have sought to put in place is a structured and unified approach to ensure a fair response across the leagues.

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“To address this, we called for an urgent meeting with the Premier League and EFL – which took place on Friday 27th March. The PFA’s primary aim was to ensure that wages for EFL players were protected for that month, this was agreed.

“In addition, a timetable was established to collectively use early April, to reach considered decisions and solutions, with a view for any potential changes and reductions to salaries coming into effect on April’s payroll. Talks on this basis are ongoing.

“Each club’s financial standing will vary. We are aware of the public sentiment that the players should pay non-playing staff’s salaries. However, our current position is that – as businesses – if clubs can afford to pay their players and staff, they should.

“The players we have spoken [to] recognise that the non-playing staff are a vital part of their club and they do not want to see club staff furloughed unfairly. Any use of the government’s support schemes without genuine financial need is detrimental to the wider society.

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“In instances where clubs have the resources to pay all staff, the benefit of players paying non-playing staff salaries will only serve the business of the club’s shareholders.

“We understand the severity of the situation and the challenges that clubs from all divisions face. We have requested, via the leagues, that clubs provide us with information about their financial position, so that we can make informed decisions for the future – both immediate and long-term.”

It continued: “We fully accept that players will have to be flexible and share the financial burden of the COVID-19 outbreak in order to secure the long-term future of their own club and indeed the wider game.

“Our advice going out to players at this point reflects that expectation.

“In addition, the PFA is also expecting to contribute financially to any solutions agreed upon.”

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Patriots RB James White has faith in Jarrett Stidham, offense’s post-Tom Brady future

This offseason, Patriots players Devin McCourty and Matthew Slater expressed confidence in second-year quarterback Jarrett Stidham, who’s currently the favorite to replace Tom Brady.

However, neither the Pro Bowl safety nor Pro Bowl special teamer have been in the same huddle as Stidham. The same can't be said, however, about James White. The Patriots' veteran running back said via a conference call on Thursday that Stidham impressed last season and he’s confident in the offense heading into the 2020 season.

“He came in and competed right away,” White said. “Our offense can be pretty complex, and he was willing to learn, willing to take coaching. He keeps fighting no matter what the situation is. The second year, he’ll come in ready to learn. We’ll all compete trying to make each other better football players, be on the same page on offense so we can all help each other out.”

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White has been a consistent piece in the Patriots passing game over the last five seasons. He’s turned into the most accomplished passing back in Patriots franchise history. In 2018, White set a Patriots running back record with 87 receptions and 751 receiving yards to go with seven receiving touchdowns, which tied the team record.

Last season, White finished season on the Patriots in receptions (72) and receiving yards (645). He should remain a big part of the team’s offense this season as the group moves on without Brady. Over the years, White has been a security blanket for Brady. Since 2015, he has 315 receptions. That’s the most out of any running back in the NFL in that span.

White said it’ll be different playing without Brady. However, he’s confident in the two quarterbacks on the Patriots roster.

“It’ll be a little different. I played with Tom my whole career so I learned a lot from that guy. We appreciated him as a teammate. We all learned a lot from him. Guys come and go each and every year, so you have to be able to compete with new people. We’re confident in Stidham, confident in (Brian) Hoyer, whoever it happens to be… Coach (Bill) Belichick will have us prepared.”

This season could also be an important one for the Patriots' running back group as a whole. The offense could certainly use solid contributions from the likes of White, Rex Burkhead and Sony Michel.

“There’s no added pressure. We attack each offseason to each season the same way,” White said of the running back group. “We all want to be reliable options it’s not just going to be one group, one person that makes a team win. It’s going to be everybody working together, getting things going, so whatever, whoever has to be relied upon the most – running back group, offensive line, tight ends, receivers, quarterbacks – it’s all of us working together, trying to score points and win games.”

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Premier League players should take a pay cut, says Health Secretary Matt Hancock

Premier League players should play their part and take a pay cut, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said at Thursday’s government daily briefing.

No agreement was found after talks between the Premier League and the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) over potential wage cuts or deferrals on Wednesday, and it will again be discussed in their latest emergency meeting on Friday.

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Players’ wages have been a hot topic after four Premier League clubs (Tottenham, Newcastle, Bournemouth and Norwich) placed non-playing staff on furlough leave – a government support scheme which pays employees 80 per cent of their wages while they are not working – while no announcement for players salaries has been made.

Hancock said: “Given the sacrifices people are making, including some of my colleagues in the NHS, who have made the ultimate sacrifice and gone into work and caught the disease and have sadly died, I think the first thing Premier League footballers can do is make a contribution; take a pay cut and play their part.”

The PFA wrote to players this week to warn that it is “vitally important” they speak to their union before accepting wage cuts.

Despite an agreement not being in place, some players have already seen their pay reduced.

In the Championship, Leeds players have volunteered to defer their wages, while Birmingham asked their squad to accept 50 per cent deferrals on their pay. League One Portsmouth have placed their players and staff on furlough.

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Mercedes boss Toto Wolff confirms future plans with Lewis Hamilton contract talks on hold

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has categorically denied any possibility of him taking up a senior role with Aston Martin and plans to stick with the current champions for “several more years”. Lewis Hamilton’s boss has been the subject of numerous reports of late linking him with joining Aston Martin.

Wolff has helped pioneer Mercedes’ drive to success in recent years, becoming the only team principal in the history of F1 to win six consecutive double world championships.

But there have been some suggestions he could be looking for a new challenge come next year, with Hamilton’s future still in the balance.

That challenge was thought to be with Aston Martin, who have recently had millions of pounds injected into the British car manufacturer for next year.

Lawrence Stroll, who is close with Wolff, led a consortium to invest £260m into Aston Martin with Racing Point set to be rebranded as the former from 2021.

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The close relationship between the two F1 chiefs has even seen former boss Bernie Ecclestone make the assumption that Wolff will leave Mercedes next year.

Hamilton is yet to commit his future to Mercedes past the end of this season and has hinted in the past that his decision will pend on Wolff still being with the team.

But Wolff has swiftly moved to ease Mercedes’ fears by dismissing any suggestion he will be leaving to join Aston Martin.

“Rumours that I would lead Aston Martin had no basis,” Wolff Austrian broadcaster ORF.

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“Collaborating with Daimler in our team is my priority.

“A consortium of investors led by Lawrence Stroll acquired a stake in Aston Martin, which is a financial issue.

“But any role for me in Aston Martin was out of the question.

“Our team in Formula 1 works perfectly for the Mercedes brand, and everything indicates that we will cooperate for several more years.

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“I am with Mercedes for the eighth year and I really like working with this group of people.

“At the same time, I am discussing the future with Ola Kallenius regarding how we will continue to work together.”

The 2020 F1 season is yet to get underway due to the coronavirus pandemic, with the Australian Grand Prix being abandoned just days before the race was scheduled to take place.

The subsequent seven races have also been cancelled or postponed with the Canadian Grand Prix currently set to be the first race but that too is under threat.

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Denver Nuggets complete 14-day coronavirus quarantine ‘symptom free’

The Denver Nuggets completed a 14-day home isolation period after an unnamed member of the organization tested positive for the novel coronavirus earlier this month. The Nuggets said that unnamed person is “symptom free.”

It is not clear whether the person is a player, but the Nuggets said that person was tested on March 16 after “experiencing symptoms consistent with COVID-19.” The Nuggets learned that person tested positive for COVID-19 on March 19.

The individual was tested through state healthcare officials as opposed to a private entity. No one else on the Nuggets have been tested.

Once the NBA suspended the season on March 10 after Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for coronavirus, the Nuggets determined that no one in the organization would get tested unless they exhibited symptoms consistent with the novel coronavirus. The Nuggets are mindful of the country’s limited test supply and have maintained they have followed state protocol.

The Denver Nuggets shut down access to their facility on March 16 because of the coronavirus pandemic. (Photo: Ron Chenoy, USA TODAY Sports)

According to Colorado law, people can only receive testing if they receives “an order from their health care provider (written or electronic) confirming they meet the testing criteria and need to be tested.” The state has reported 216 cases thus far in 20 counties, with two deaths and 26 hospitalized.

Denver's health department posted the Centers for Disease Control testing guidelines on its web site. Those guidelines included fever or respiratory symptoms and close contact with confirmed patient; people who have traveled to places affected by coronavirus recently and those who have symptoms but no other diagnosis has been made.

The Nuggets shut down access to their facility on March 16. Since then, staff members have held conference calls via Zoom while keeping in touch with players via text messaging. The Nuggets’ training staff has also dropped off resistance bands to players for home workouts.

Follow USA TODAY NBA writer Mark Medina on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram

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Borussia Dortmund can play wonderkid Moukoko after German league rule change

Borussia Dortmund's Youssoufa Moukoko could make his debut before the year is up after the Bundesliga tweaked its rules.

Prior to their meeting on Tuesday a player had to be aged 16 years and six months before they could make their debut.

Dortmund academy graduate Nuri Sahin currently holds the record having made his first appearances one month shy of his 17th birthday back in 2005.

But Moukoko could be about to smash that record when he turns 16 in November.

The Bundesliga was one of the few leagues that made players wait until after they'd turned 16 to make their debut but have now aligned themselves with the majority of Europe.

Moukoko has long been tipped for the top having made his debut for the Dortmund U17s at the age of 12.

He began the current campaign with the U19s and is firmly in the plans of manager Lucien Favre.

Before the coronavirus pandemic postponed the season Moukoko had scored 35 goals in 26 appearances.

Dortmund's youth coordinator Lars Ricken has told Kicker that the club are "very happy with the decision".

Before adding: "It immediately help the clubs, but also the young players in their development.


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