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    Stay up to date with how COVID-19 is affecting the global Sports industry with daily updates on the key developments. 

     

    Thursday 09.04.2020

    Belgian Pro League backpadels on decision over ending the season early

    Belgian top level football clubs have postponed the final decision on an early end to the season under pressure from UEFA. The vote, originally scheduled for 15 April, was postponed on Thursday until 24 April.

    National League Clubs to vote on season end

    The National League has advised clubs in its three divisions to vote in favour of ending the regular season without playing games that were scheduled up to 25 April.

    If the vote passes, clubs will then be asked to help "determine the outcomes of the season" through further polls. 

    Read more here.

    Meanwhile, Players from England’s top-flight Premier League have launched a collective initiative to help generate funds for the National Health Service (NHS). The #PlayersTogether initiative has also partnered with NHS Charities Together (NHSCT).

    County Cricketers have agreed on voluntary support package

    This will set "maximum reductions" to salaries, following an agreement between the Professional Cricketers' Association (PCA), the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and the 18 first-class counties for April and May. Players will also agree to be furloughed if requested, with champions Essex among clubs to ask theirs to do so. They will also take pay cuts, with the PCA giving up UK£1 million in prize money.

     

     

     

    Wednesday 08.04.2020

    Restart of Premiership Rugby to be pushed further back

    England’s top-tier Premiership Rugby has announced a further postponement of the 2019/20 season. No new confirmed dates for when play will resume have been confirmed, but the league still plans to complete all games and finish the campaign ‘as soon as it can be done safely’. 

    F1 Canada GP postponed

    The Formula One Canadian Grand Prix has become the latest race to be postponed, the ninth affected so far for the 2020 season. It was due to be held on 14th June on the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. An alternative date at the earliest opportunity in the summer is being sought out.

    FIFA moves summer transfer window

    The summer transfer window will be moved and contracts ending on 30 June will be extended for a short period under proposals agreed by all football's major stakeholders, world governing body FIFA has confirmed. FIFA's Bureau Council approved the new proposal.

    "It is now obvious that the current season will not end when people thought it would. Therefore, it is proposed that contracts be extended until such time that the season does actually end."

    FIFA has also urged clubs to protect as many jobs as possible, including pay cuts and deferrals, and the use of government schemes.

    Read FIFA's statement here. 

    ITTF set provisional dates for World Championships

    The International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) has announced new provisional dates of 27th September to 4th October for the World Championships in South Korea.

     

     

    Tuesday 07.04.2020

    F1 in talks over racing behind closed doors

    Formula 1 seems to want to consider saving its season by running some of the remaining races without spectators. World championship races behind closed doors is now being "seriously considered" by the leaders of the racing series. The British Grand Prix at Silverstone (19 July) is seen as a possible start to the season because seven of the ten teams operate their factories near to the circuit.

    F1 has also placed half of its staff on furlough. The global series employs approximately 400 staff in the UK, 50 per cent of which have now been placed on furlough for two months, with senior management accepting a 20 per cent pay decrease.

    UFC to potentially go ahead on private island

    UFC president Dana White says he is close to securing a private island to continue hosting fights during the coronavirus crisis. The organisation was forced to postpone three events in recent months, but White says the calendar will resume for international fights this month. With countries tightening travel restrictions and borders, White's plans would be to use a private island to fly in fighters who otherwise would not be able to get into the United States.

    F1 in a "very fragile state" 

    McLaren boss Zak Brown has said in a BBC sport interview that Formula 1 is "in a very fragile state" as a result of the coronavirus crisis and needs big changes to survive.

    "This is potentially devastating to teams, and if [it is devastating] to enough teams - which doesn't have to mean more than two - then very threatening to F1 as a whole," he said.

    Cost-saving plans were discussed at a meeting of F1 bosses on Monday, but according to the BBC teams are divided over how best to safeguard the sport.

     

    Monday 6.04.2020

    R&A cancel 2020 Open Championship

    Claret Jug

    The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St.Andrews (R&A) has decided to cancel the Open Championship for the first time since the Second World War. The event was due to be held  from 12th to 19th July. 

    "Our absolute priority is to protect the health and safety of the fans, players, officials, volunteers and staff involved in The Open. We care deeply about this historic Championship and have made this decision with a heavy heart. We appreciate that this will be disappointing for a great many people around the world but this pandemic is severely affecting the UK and we have to act responsibly. It is the right thing to do."
    Martin Slumbers, R&A chief executive

    NFL Draft to be held virtual

    The coronavirus pandemic has forced the NFL to make a change like never before. As Commissioner Roger Goodell announced in a letter to the 32 teams, this year's draft (April 23-25) will be completely virtual. 

    Read more here.

    FIFA to postpone summer transfer window

    The world governing body FIFA apparently wants to postpone the start of the transfer period and thus pave the way for a possible extension of the football season beyond June 30th. This was reported by the French news agency AFP with reference to FIFA circles. According to the report, a recommendation is to be made that players can continue to play for their club despite the expiration of their contract if the season has not ended by the end of June. The world governing body can only make recommendations in connection with players' contracts, as national law applies in every country.

    WNBA season postponed indefinitely

    The Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) has postponed its 2020 regular season indefinitely. The campaign was originally scheduled to tip off on the 15th May.

     

     

    Friday, 3.04.2020

    UEFA urges not to abandon suspended season

    Europe's governing body UEFA, the European Club Association (ECA), and the European Leagues (EL) have written a joint letter urging its leagues not to abandaon their suspended seasons with plans are in place to complete the 2019/20 campaign in July and August, according to the Associated Press. 

    New Zealand Cricket unlikely to go on scheduled tour through Europe

    New Zealand cricket officials have admitted it is “most unlikely” their scheduled tour of Holland, Scotland and Ireland will go ahead in June. New Zealand also confirmed that the women’s tour of Sri Lanka, set to get underway later in April, has been postponed. 

    In addition,  The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) is set to cancel the 2020 County Championship season and is 'modelling many scenarios for a potential streamlined cricket season':

    Premier League clubs to consult players on 30% wage cut as League is set to be pushed back

    Premier League clubs will ask players to take a 30% pay cut in order to protect jobs as it was announced the season will not resume until "it is safe and appropriate to do so".

    "It was acknowledged that the Premier League will not resume at the beginning of May - and that the 2019-20 season will only return when it is safe and appropriate to do so. Any return to play will only be with the full support of government and when medical guidance allows."
    Premier League Statement

     

    Thursday, 2.04.2020

    PFA in talks with Premier League about agreement on wage deferral

    In England, the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) is holding talks with the Premier League, the English Football League (EFL) and the League Managers’ Association (LMA) regarding a possible collective agreement on wage deferral. A statement stated that although no decisions had been reached on 1st April, they shared a 'constructive' meeting, and would continue talks 'in the next 48 hours'.

    eEuro 2020 to be brought forward

    The final round of eEuro 2020 is to be brought forward to 23 and 24 May UEFA has announced. The virtual European Championship will now take place online only and not in London as planned.

     

     

    Wednesday, 1.04.2020

    UEFA postpones all club and national matches until further notice

    All Champions League and Europa League matches have been suspended "until further notice" by UEFA because of the global coronavirus pandemic. All national team games have also been postponed, including play-off matches for Euro 2020 - already postponed to 2021 - and qualifying matches for the Women's Euro 2021.

     

    Wimbledon cancelled for first time since World War II

    Wimbledon has been cancelled for the first time since World War Two because of the coronavirus pandemic. The tournament was due to be played between 29th June and 12th July. The entire grass-court season has been abandoned, and there will be no professional tennis anywhere in the world until at least 13th July. 

    This is a decision that we have not taken lightly, and we have done so with the highest regard for public health and the wellbeing of all those who come together to make Wimbledon happen,"
    Ian Hewitt, Chairman, All England Lawn Tennis Club

    Read more here.

    DAZN in bid to survive coronavirus crisis as OTT platform launch gets delayed

    With the dramatic impact of not have any live sports content to air, according to Sports Pro, International digital sports broadcaster DAZN is set to write to global rights holders this week to inform them that it will not be making its next rights fee payments for any content that has not yet been delivered. 

    The global launch of DAZN’s OTT platform, announced earlier this month, has also been pushed back. Whilst DAZN will make the payments for contracts and services that have already been delivered, the moratorium applies to rights holders with matches that have been suspended, postponed or cancelled.

    FIFA plans huge emergency fund to support world football 

    iStock-475991108


    FIFA is drawing up plans to tap its $2.7 billion cash reserve and create an emergency fund to support the ailing football industry according to a New York Times article.

    The fund, should global football leaders sign off on it, would be the biggest response from any major sports governing body to the financial impact of the pandemic. 

    “FIFA is in a strong financial situation and it’s our duty to do the utmost to help them in their hour of need,”
    FIFA statement

     

     

    Tuesday, 31.03.2020

    USA Rugby files for bankruptcy

    USA rugby

    USA Rugby, the National Body for Rugby Union the USA, has filed for bankruptcy amid "insurmountable financial constraints" due to the coronavirus pandemic.

    "This is the most challenging period this organisation has faced. While the current climate is of course much larger than rugby, we remain focused with stakeholders and supporters in the continued effort toward a balanced rugby community where the game can truly grow"
    Barbara O´Brien, Chairwoman

    In a statement on its website, USA Rugby said World Rugby is financially helping them navigate the bankruptcy process. The men's and women's US national teams will start playing again after the pandemic is over, the organisation added.

     

    Monday, 30.03.2020

    World Athletics postpones World Championships by one year

    The World Championships in Eugene, Oregon, were set to take place from August 6 to 15, 2021, and would therefore fall within the agreed dates for the rescheduled Olympic Games.

    "Everyone must now be flexible and make compromises, so we are now working with the organizers of the World Championships in Oregon on a new date in 2022".

    Olympics Games to be held from July 23 to August 8 2021

    The IOC confirmed the dates for the Olympic Games in a statement today. The Paralympics will take place one month later from August 24th to September 5th 2021.

    Mercedes F1 Team supports development of innovative respiratory aids for intensive care patients

    A breathing aid that can help keep coronavirus patients out of intensive care has been created in under a week with support from the Mercedes F1 team. University College London engineers worked with clinicians at UCLH and Mercedes Formula One to build the device, which delivers oxygen to the lungs without needing a ventilator. Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) devices are already used in hospitals but are in short supply.

    Read more here.

     

    Sunday, 29.03.2020

    ITTF expands ban of all competitions for two extra months

    In table tennis, the break will last at least two months longer than expected. The International Table Tennis Federation ITTF announced that all competitions organised by the ITTF will be suspended until June 30th.

    IOC working on a dates for Olympics in 2021

    The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is working with international federations (IFs) to find a window in July and August next year to reschedule the postponed Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, according to Japanese newspaper Yomiuri. Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) president John Coates, who is also the IOC’s coordination commission chair for Tokyo 2020, reportedly told the newspaper that the Games would have to be held between the Wimbledon and US Open tennis grand slams, which are traditionally staged in early July and late August respectively.

    Italy without Sports until the end of April

    "Tomorrow I will propose to extend the ban on all sports competitions to the end of April"
    Vincenco Spadafora, Minister of Sport 

    The measure should also be extended to training in all sports. The initial restrictions and the suspension of numerous activities had initially been ordered by the government until 3 April.

     

    Saturday, 28.03.2020

    Insight into how the Premier League is coping with the coronavirus pandemic

    BBC Sport provides an interesting insight into the lives of players, coaches and managers of the British Premier League in times of the home office:

    Russian Anti-Doping Agency controls suspended until further notice

    Russia leaves it unclear when the doping controls on athletes suspended due to the Corona pandemic will be resumed. The Russian Anti-Doping Agency (RUSADA) continues to work despite the spread of the virus but the agency is complying with the Russian government's conditions and suspending the controls, Yuri Ganus the new RUSADA Director General has said. President Vladimir Putin had ordered a week off as a measure against the Corona pandemic. Ganus promised that Rusada would continue to provide comprehensive support in the fight against doping.

     

    Friday, 27.03.2020

    Bundesliga’s Champions League teams pledge €20m to help German clubs

    League leaders Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, Bayer Leverkusen and RB Leipzig have agreed to forego their annual share of organising body the German Football League’s (DFL) national media revenue, which would have amounted to approximately €12.5 million . The clubs will contribute the other €7.5 million from their own resources.

    "This campaign underlines that solidarity in the Bundesliga and 2. Bundesliga is not lip service. The DFL presidium is very grateful to the four Champions League participants in terms of the community of all clubs.” 
    Christian Seifert, DFL Chief Executive

     

    NFL Draft 2020 to go on as scheduled

    However, slight changes to the programme have been made:

    "We will not invite any talents and their families to the local draft, and the draft itself will be conducted and broadcasted on television in a manner that reflects current conditions"
    Roger Goodell, NFL Commissioner

     

     

    Indy 500 postponed until August

    The Indianapolis 500, the USA’s most prestigious race, has been postponed until 23rd August as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. The event held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is traditionally held on the last Sunday in May. It is the latest major motorsport event to be affected by coronavirus.

    “... The health and safety of our event participants and spectators is our top priority, and we believe that postponing the event is the responsible decision with the conditions and restrictions we are facing.”
    Roger Penske, Indianapolis 500 Owner 

     

     

    Thursday, 26.03.2020

    European Athletics urges study into 'potential postponement' of Euro championships 2020

    European Athletics has stated that its board of directors has asked the Local Organising Committee (LOC) that the event, which is taking place from 25 to 30 August, carry out "a study of possible alternative scenarios for accommodation... including a possible postponement".

    “It was a stressful and confusing time for the athletes, we lost our structure and our sense of normalcy. We are joining our larger communities to focus on the health and well-being of everyone during the Covid-19 epidemic. "

    Periklis Iakovakis, President of European Athletics

    Wimbledon 2020: All England Club to make decision next week

    In a statement released Wednesday, the club said the postponement and cancellation of the currently scheduled event from June 29 to July 12, due to the impact of the coronavirus, were possible results. Playing in camera is formally excluded. Earlier this month, the French Open, which was scheduled to start in May, was postponed to September 20-October 4. The ATP and WTA circuits have already been postponed to April 27 and May 2 respectively and last week, this suspension was extended until June 7.

    Read more here.

     

    Wednesday, 25.03.2020

    NHL to temporarily cut pay in league office

    The NHL is temporarily cutting the pay of league office employees by 25%. The league confirmed that salaries will be reduced across the board starting from 1st April. According to ESPN, the NHL is hoping that the temporary pay cut among league office employees will prevent layoffs during this uncertain time.

    "What we want to make sure of is that we don't do anything from this season that might impact next season [...]If we are going to complete this current season, it has to have integrity, and it has to be respectful of the well-over-100-year history of the Stanley Cup. And that's something we're very focused on."
    Gary Bettman, NHL Commissioner

    Spanish Football Federation plans to help financially endangered clubs

    The Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) will launch a 500 million euros (£457m) fund to support clubs struggling financially amid the coronavirus pandemic. The money will help clubs unable to claim lost television rights from the period when matches are not played and would be paid to clubs over a period of five years.

     

    Tour de France 2020 could be held under public restrictionsla-vuelta-header-1

    According to media reports, organisers of the Tour de France are working on an edition with restrictions for the public. Restrictions could include the cancellation of the advertising caravan and the Tour Village before each stage. In addition, spectators in the start and finish areas could be excluded, similar to that at the Paris-Nice event held in mid-March. The 2020 Tour de France is currently scheduled to start in Nice on June 27th as planned.

    Report: Olympics delay could cost Japan’s economy US$6.32bn

    In a report published before the International Olympic Committee (IOC) postponed the Games until 2021, the Asian business economists estimated that a delay would cost the Japanese economy between ¥600 billion and ¥700 billion yen (US$5.42 billion and US$6.32 billion).

    "In the event that the games are postponed the obviously there would be some degree of negative impact to Japanese economic growth in fiscal year 2020. However, we need to keep in mind a sense of perspective here as, according to our economics team, the Olympics alone was only forecast to boost GDP by 0.2 percentage points. So in the grand scheme of things, the Japanese overall [impact on] GDP per size of economy is not that large."

    Kathy Matsui, Goldman Sachs Chief Japan Strategist

     

     

    Tuesday, 24.03.2020

    Olympic Games to be postponed by one year

    The Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games have been postponed until next year because of coronavirus, the IOC confirmed today. The decision was made in close communication with the WHO and comes after a number of countries said they would not send their athletes to Tokyo this summer. A new date is yet to be set but has been agreed that the Games will keep the name Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020.

     

    Infantino says fighting the coronavirus is FIFA´s top priority at the moment

    FIFA President Gianni Infantino has announced that the pressing issues in world football will only be resolved after the end of the Corona pandemic. "Football comes second. First we have to win this match against the corona virus," the Swiss said in a video message:

    US and British Olympic Committees speak out about postponing Olympics 

    Following Australia and Canada, the US Committee for Olympic and Paralympic Sports (USOPC) has also spoken out against holding the Olympic Games this summer in Tokyo. In a statement from the committee it said:

    "It is more than clear that a postponment [of the Olympic Games] is the most promising way. We urge the IOC to take all steps to ensure that the Games are conducted under safe and fair conditions."

    In addition, the British Olympic Committee is also questioning participation under current conditions. The IOC has currently set itself a deadline of four weeks to decide about the fate of the 2020 Summer Olympic Games.


     

    Monday, 23.03.2020

    Premier League season to be played behind closed doors

    Professional Footballers`Association deputy chief executive Bobby Barnes said in a statement  that there will be no choice but to continue the current Premier League season behind closed doors. While some players have already stated that they would be "gutted" for fans if they were unable to watch their stars compete live, Barnes says: 

    In an ideal world we'd be playing in front of crowds but I think it's more a case of there being no alternative. [...] Players are realistic. We're not in an ideal world and the players I've spoken to accept that's what it will have to be. I've been speaking to players on a daily basis and the conversations were based around not wanting to play behind closed doors if at all possible.

    He adds:

    Football is about fans. But the reality for the vast majority of the players, particularly at the highest level, is their income is funded by television money and there are contracts that have to be adhered to. In order for us [the PFA] to be able to protect those players in terms of securing their salaries, if that's the only offer we have on the table to complete the season, then that is what it will be."

    UEFA  postpones Europa League and Champions League Finals 2020

    Champions league Covid-19

    The European Football Association has postponed the finals of the European top competitions in May until further notice. An alternative date has not yet been set. A crisis team set up to deal with all developments relating to Covid-19 is now discussing how to proceed.

    World Health Organization (WHO) and FIFA campaign addresses fans

    Football stars from all over the world are addressing their fans directly in a campaign organised by FIFA in cooperation with the WHO. In doing so, they are appealing to people's common sense and calling for a joint fight against the corona virus. Alisson Becker, goalkeeper of Liverpool F.C. and WHO ambassador, shared via Twitter:

    LaLiga postpones season indefinitely

    The Monitoring Committee set up under the current RFEF LaLiga Coordination Agreement agrees to the suspension of professional football competitions until the Spanish Government authorities and the General Administration of the State consider that they can be resumed without risk to health.
    - LaLiga

    Read the full statement here.

    Formula 1 also postpones Azerbaijan GP

    A start of the motorsport series this year remains unclear. The original plan was to start the season in the middle of March, but now the 8th race has been postponed as well. A possible start of the season would currently be the Canada GP, taking place on June 14th.

    Click here for the FIAs full announcement.

     

    Sunday, 22.03.2020

    IOC sets a four-week Deadline for the decision on the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo

    The International Olympic Committee will decide on Tokyo 2020 in four weeks' time and possible scenarios will have been discussed by then, said Thomas Bach. However, a cancellation would "not be on the agenda". Some countries, such as Canada and Australia, have already prohibited their athletes to participate under current conditions.

     

    Premier League: End of season in a rush?

    According to The Daily Telegraph, the Premier League is planning to end the season in a fast-forward. The remaining ten matchdays will most likely be held within six weeks starting on June 1. In this way, the FA is trying not to endanger the planned start of the Premier League season 2020/21 on August 8th.

     

    Saturday, 21.03.2020

    NBA possibly not recouping players salary for cancelled games

    IIHF cancels Ice Hockey World Championship 2020

    The World Cup in Zurich from 8 to 24 May will therefore not take place. The IIHF Council will discuss an alternative date at a congress later this year.

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