The latest on how the coronavirus outbreak is affecting sports around the globe:
- Canadian swim trials to be held next April
- Rugby Canada says financial relief likely required later this year
- Tokyo Olympic male staffer contracts virus
- Australian Rugby League moves ahead with May 28 restart
- Berlin Marathon can’t be held in September
- Dutch women’s soccer season wiped out
Canadian swim trials rescheduled for next spring
The Canadian Olympic and Paralympic swimming trials have been rescheduled for next spring.
Swimming Canada said in a release Wednesday that the events will be held April 7-11 at the Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre, and that the meet would be condensed into a five-day program from the seven days originally scheduled for 2020.
The trials were set to take place March 30 to April 5 in Toronto, but were postponed on March 13 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The 2020 Tokyo Olympics were postponed for a year a shot time later and rescheduled for July 23-Aug. 8, 2021. The Paralympic Games are scheduled to take place Aug. 24-Sept. 5.
Swimming Canada said selection and nomination policies for teams that would be chosen from the trials will be published once qualification processes are confirmed by FINA, the International Olympic Committee and International Paralympic Committee.
The Canadian open water swimming trials are scheduled for April 17-18 on Grand Cayman.
Rugby Canada likely to require financial relief
Rugby Canada has no immediate plans to apply for help from World Rugby’s COVID-19 relief fund but says it will likely need assistance later this year.
World Rugby has established a pool of some US$100 million to assist member unions through to the resumption of the sport.
Rugby Canada CEO Allen Vansen says the World Rugby relief program is a phased approach with some funds available for the period up to the end of May with other resources held in reserve for the months after.
Like other unions, the Canadian governing body has provided World Rugby with information on its cash flow and any government subsidy programs being utilized.
“That modelling right now shows that between the middle of March to the end of May, from an immediate cash-flow basis, Rugby Canada doesn’t need to avail [itself] of any of those emergency funds,” said Vansen.
“Our modelling does show that we will need some support in some fashion beyond that, depending on what unfolds from the domestic or international calendar perspective.”
Tokyo Olympic staffer in his 30s tests positive
A staff member of the Tokyo Olympic organizing committee has tested positive for COVID-19.
Tokyo organizers issued a statement Wednesday saying it was a male employee in his 30s who worked at the headquarters building in a part of Tokyo known as Harumi.
Organizers said he was in quarantine at home and gave no further details.
The Tokyo Olympics were postponed last month until July 23, 2021 because of the coronavirus pandemic. The committee employs about 3,500 people, and organizers say about 90 per cent have been working from home for the last several weeks.
Organizers said the area in which he worked would be disinfected, and people who worked nearby have been told to stay home.
Australian Rugby League settles on May 28 restart
Australian Rugby League commissioner Wayne Pearce says players in the top-flight national competition will be back in training early next month and organizers are pushing ahead with the planned season restart on May 28.
After two days of commission meetings and a telephone conference with the chief executives of NRL clubs, Pearce on Wednesday said the finer details of the competition structure were still being finalized but, “everyone is supportive of what we’re doing. Everyone is unified into getting back on the field.”
“We reaffirmed that May 28 is the starting date for the competition. We also confirmed that teams will be able to train from May 4,” he said.
The NRL competition was suspended last month after two rounds played in empty stadiums because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Pearce said government authorities he’d been dealing with supported the resumption of the league, although there’s still no clarity on whether the Broncos, Titans and Cowboys from Queensland state and the Warriors from New Zealand will have to relocate to short-term bases closer to Sydney to be involved in the competition.
City restrictions prevent September running of Berlin Marathon
The Berlin Marathon says the race cannot be held as planned in September because of new restrictions in the city related to the coronavirus pandemic.
City authorities have extended a ban on major events with more than 5,000 people until Oct. 24. More than 62,000 people took part in the marathon last year.
Organizers say they will take time to “engage with the consequences of the authorities blocking our events, agree on further steps and then inform you.”
There was no mention of any plan to restrict the race to elite runners only. That was the solution used by the Tokyo Marathon on March 1.
The Berlin Marathon is typically one of the fastest in the world. The current men’s world record was set in Berlin by Eliud Kipchoge in 2018.
NFL’s Saints cancel off-season program
The New Orleans Saints have cancelled their off-season program because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and informed players they will not be required to report to club headquarters until training camp — whenever that may be.
Saints general manager Mickey Loomis said coach Sean Payton informed players of the decision on Wednesday, adding the NFL club will remain in regular communication with players between now and the opening of training camp.
The Saints decision comes as leaders in some states have begun to relax, or discuss relaxing, stay-at-home orders that have caused widespread economic hardship Louisiana, with a population of about 4.65 million, has seen the coronavirus take a relatively high toll in the state.
Louisiana’s Department of Health reported Wednesday there were more than 25,000 coronavirus cases in the state, with 1,473 people having died from the virus. However, Louisiana also has begin seeing a gradual drop in hospitalizations.
Hundreds expected at South Dakota auto races
A pair of South Dakota speedways are forging ahead with plans to hold two auto races expected to draw hundreds of fans this weekend, even as the state’s governor warns against attending them.
Gov. Kristi Noem said she won’t be taking any action to shut down the events planned for Saturday and Sunday nights even though she thinks they are a bad idea and could lead to the spread of the coronavirus. The two race tracks, just over the border from Iowa, decided to sell limited tickets to give race fans a taste of “normalcy” after weeks of social distancing and cancelled sporting events.
South Dakota’s Republican governor said the crowds at the races would violate her guidance not to gather in groups of more than 10, but she has not said why she won’t stop the races from proceeding. Health experts have said eliminating group gatherings are crucial to curbing the spread of the coronavirus, which can be transmitted by people who do not exhibit symptoms.
Promoters of the races said they are taking steps to reduce the chances that the event will become a hotbed of virus transmission, including keeping the crowds well below capacity, screening people’s temperatures and making concessions cashless.
99-year-old fundraising UK veteran honoured
A 99-year-old World War II veteran who has raised more than 28 million pounds ($34.5 million US) for Britain’s health service during the coronavirus pandemic has been invited to perform one of British sport’s quaintest traditions once the crisis is over.
Tom Moore will get the chance to ring the famous bell at Lord’s cricket ground, signalling the start of a day’s play, as a reward for his fundraising efforts that have become a national rallying point. The job is typically given to former cricketers or figures in the sport.
The offer was made to Moore, a cricket fan, by England captain Joe Root — a fellow Yorkshireman.
With the aid of a walking frame, Moore walked 100 laps of his garden in eastern England to support workers in Britain’s National Health Service. He wanted to complete the mission before his 100th birthday on April 30, and his family initially set a target of raising 1,000 pounds.
Dutch women’s soccer season cancelled
The Dutch soccer association has cancelled the remainder of the women’s league season and cup tournament following a discussion with the clubs.
The KNVB says the consequences of the cancellation will be clarified on Friday when soccer authorities talk with the clubs. PSV Eindhoven currently leads the women’s league.
The cancellation follows Tuesday’s announcement by the government that its ban on all large-scale events was being extended until Sept. 1.
The KNVB says it also plans to cancel the rest of the men’s season but will discuss the issue with UEFA before making the final decision.
French rugby league cancels Top 14 semifinals
The French rugby league has cancelled the semifinals of its Top 14 league because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The LNR’s executive committee abandoned hosting the semifinals on June 19 and 20 and the final in mid-July in the southern city of Nice but says they could potentially be played before the end of summer if health conditions allow.
The LNR says it is waiting to see what rules the government sets out following the end of lockdown before definitively deciding if resumption is possible.
France is under lockdown until May 11.