Here is the latest on the effects of the coronavirus outbreak on sports around the world. Photo: AP Photo/Joan Monfort
Here is the latest on the effects of the coronavirus outbreak on sports around the world. Photo: AP Photo/Joan Monfort

The Latest on coronavirus v sport: Softball World Cup pushed back to 2022

By Associated Press Time of article published Apr 23, 2020

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Here is the latest on the effects of the coronavirus outbreak on sports around the world:

Softball

The men’s softball World Cup has been pushed back from 2021 to 2022 because of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on qualifying tournaments.

The World Baseball Softball Confederation says it decided to delay the tournament, initially scheduled for February next year, after consultation with hosts New Zealand.

The confederation says, ”Important health and safety measures, including travel restrictions applied by governments worldwide to help stop the spread of COVID-19 have caused modifications to the global baseball softball events calendar."

The WBSC and Softball New Zealand are working to confirm new dates.

New Zealand, which has won the men’s world championship seven times, last hosted the tournament in 2013.

Nikoloz Basilashvili, of Georgia, serves to Dominik Koepfer, of Germany, during the third round of the 2019 U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York. Photo: AP Photo/Adam Hunger

Tennis

The U.S. Tennis Association is warning folks: “No Bryan Brothers chest bumps.”

The USTA thinks it will be safe to again play tennis “in some cities and states sooner than in others.”

One of the recommendations is to maintain social distancing by staying 6 feet apart from other people — and, therefore, to avoiding playing doubles, because it “could lead to incidental contact and unwanted proximity.”

The group that runs the U.S. Open went on to add: “If you do play doubles, avoid all incidental contact, no Bryan Brothers chest bumps and no whispering to each other from a close distance to strategize.”

American twins Bob and Mike Bryan have won 16 Grand Slam titles in men’s doubles together and celebrate wins by jumping simultaneously and bumping chests.

All professional tennis has been suspended at least until mid-July. The U.S. Open is still scheduled to begin main-draw play in New York on Aug. 31.

World Games

The World Games in Birmingham, Alabama has unveiled an updated logo and title after being delayed a year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Olympic-style competition for sports and events that are not on the Summer Games program will now be known as The World Games 2022.

The event was initially scheduled for July 2021, but it will now be held in July 2022 to accommodate the one-year postponement of the 2020 Summer Olympics.

While those games will continue to be known as “Tokyo 2020,” the World Games decided to go with a more accurate moniker.

The NFL draft begins Thursday night, with the 2020 schedule expected to be released in early May. Photo: via Reuters

NFL

The head of the NFL Players Association says the new collective bargaining agreement does not have a similar clause to one that allows the NBA to start cutting players’ pay in mid-May.

Executive Director DeMaurice Smith said Wednesday on a call with reporters that the CBA with the NFL does not have a “force majeure” provision, which would prevent someone from fulfilling a contract because of unforeseeable circumstances.

The NFL began its new business year March 18 and allowed teams to begin virtual offseason programs Monday. The draft begins Thursday night, with the 2020 schedule expected to be released in early May.

Smith says it’s clear under the new CBA what happens if NFL games are canceled, and the union will follow that labor deal depending on developments.

“We’re bound by a contract that we call the collective bargaining agreement,” Smith said. “And certainly it has provisions in it that are different than other sports.”

Basketball

Charlotte Hornets coach James Borrego says he thinks some players could need “multiple weeks” to get back into true basketball shape if the NBA decides to return to action this season. The league hasn’t played games in nearly six weeks due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Borrego says unlike when there was a lockout — and players gathered routinely for five-on-five pickup games in gyms — he knows some players who don’t have access to a court to work on basketball-specific drills. The Hornets staff is monitoring players and helping them with their conditioning remotely during the lockdown, but Borrego cautions the league needs to be “very careful” not to rush back too soon because “nobody wants to get hurt or injured in this time.”

Borrego says when players return to practice, they’ll be monitored individually by the training staff to determine their physical condition.

Devin Sweetney poses during Denver Nuggets media day Monday, September 28, 2015. Photo: AP Photo/Jack Dempsey

Swimming

Canada has rescheduled its Olympic swimming trials for April 7-11, 2021, in Toronto.

It will be shortened to five days instead of seven, which was the original plan for this year. Selection and nomination policies for the team chosen from the trials will be developed with the Canadian Olympic Committee.

The date change is a result of the Tokyo Games being rescheduled for July 23-Aug. 8, 2021, because of the coronavirus.

Swimming Canada will hold its open water trials April 17-18, 2021, in the Cayman Islands.

Swimming Canada high performance director John Atkinson says that while swimmers are unable to train now, he’s hoping they will resume in this fall.

Fundraising for Covid-19

A 99-year-old World War II veteran who has raised more than 28 million pounds ($34.5 million) 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.

“I’d love you to give us a team talk at some point as well,” Root said in a video conversation with Moore, “and get all the lads in the right frame of mind.”

The Twitter account of Lord’s posted a message to Moore, saying he is “an inspiration to us all.”

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.

Retired British Army Captain Moore walks to raise money for health workers. Photo: via Reuters

Football

The Dutch soccer association has canceled 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.

Athletics

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 October 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.

Associated Press (AP)

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