Mathieu Bastareaud during France's Six Nations game against England in London. Photo: Rebecca Naden/Reuters
Mathieu Bastareaud during France's Six Nations game against England in London. Photo: Rebecca Naden/Reuters

The latest on sport during Covid-19: French rugby season cancelled

By AP Time of article published Apr 28, 2020

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The Latest on the effects of the coronavirus outbreak on sports around the world:

Golf

The 2021 PGA Championship at Kiawah Island’s Ocean Course is delaying the start of ticket sales until August.

Tickets were originally set to go on sale to those who registered online in May. Instead, PGA Championship tournament director Scott Reid said that with the world grappling with the coronavirus pandemic it was not appropriate to ask potential spectators to make purchasing decisions at this time.

The tournament said the 2021 event remains set for its May dates. This year’s PGA Championship in San Francisco was moved from its original dates next month to early August.

Spanish sport

The Spanish government says professional athletes in the country can resume training individually next week.

The government made the announcement while revealing a four-phase plan to get the country back to normal following the coronavirus outbreak.

Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez says “basic” training for professional athletes will be permitted beginning Monday. It's the start of the first phase of the plan aimed at easing the lockdown measures that have been in place since March 14.

High-performance sports facilities will be allowed to reopen in the second phase of the plan, which will begin as early as May 11, depending on the situation in each province.

Sánchez did not say when sports competitions, such as the domestic soccer league, are expected to resume. The Spanish league has said it doesn’t plan to restart before the end of May. The league has already sent clubs a detailed protocol with safety guidelines on how to return to practice.

French sport

The French government says the rest of the soccer and rugby seasons won’t be completed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Prime Minister Edouard Philippe says “the 2019-20 season of professional sport ... won’t be able to resume.”

The top two divisions in French soccer both had 10 league games left to play. Rugby’s Top 14 league had reached the semifinal stage.

France is expected to end its lockdown on May 11.

France’s president Emmanuel Macron poses for photos with French Rugby Federation president Bernard Laporte in Paris. Photo: Christophe Ena/EPA

French rugby

The French Rugby Federation has announced a support package worth 35 million euros ($38 million) to help ease the financial concerns of its amateur clubs during the coronavirus pandemic.

Amateur rugby competitions in France were canceled for the season on March 27 after strict social measures were put in place to deal with the outbreak.

The FFR has now arranged a package that will see 14 million euros ($15 million) go to clubs to cover losses and fees for this season and a further 21 million euros ($22.5 million) for the 2020-21 season.

It means they will not have to pay for such things as insurance costs and license fees.

Rugby officials are waiting to see what rules the government sets out following the end of lockdown before definitively deciding if a resumption is possible in the country’s top league.

World Athletics

Athletes in track and field can apply for money from a $500,000 fund to help them get through the coronavirus pandemic.

World Athletics and the International Athletics Foundation have launched the fund to help athletes who have lost income because competitions are suspended.

World Athletics president Sebastian Coe says the fund will try “to help as many athletes as possible.”

It’s unclear when or if the track season can begin. Diamond League meets and the Olympics have been postponed.

Coe says the fund was the idea of 1,500-meter world record holder Hicham El Guerrouj. The Moroccan runner will be part of the team examining applications from athletes.

World Athletics chief Sebastian Coe. Photo: EPA

Argentina soccer

The end of the Argentine league soccer season is expected to be ratified by the national association executive committee.

AFA president Claudio Tapia says there will be no relegation until 2022 to ease club finances burdened by the coronavirus pandemic.

The end of player contracts on June 30 will be honored.

Boca Juniors won the title shortly before the AFA suspended all soccer on March 15.

How teams qualify for the 2021 Copa Libertadores and Copa Sudamericana is also to be resolved.

Tapia tells TNT Sports “everyone wants to play again when we can, and if we have to play in January because we couldn’t do it earlier in the year, we will.”

Associated Press (AP)

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