The Latest: German soccer sets dates for more leagues
The Latest on the effects of the coronavirus outbreak on sports around the world:
The German soccer federation has set dates for the return of the women’s Bundesliga, men’s third division and new dates for the remaining German Cup matches.
Soccer in the country has been suspended since March 13 because of the coronavirus pandemic but Chancellor Angela Merkel said last week it could return subject to strict measures. The league then announced the men’s Bundesliga and second division would resume on May 16.
The women’s Bundesliga has six rounds remaining and is to restart on May 29. The men’s third division has 11 rounds remaining and will resume on May 26 and conclude on June 30. Relegation-promotion playoffs will be scheduled in July.
The German Cup final has been rescheduled for July 4. The semifinals will be played on June 9 and 10. The women’s cup final is slated for the same day as the men’s.
Federation president Fritz Keller says all the matches will likely be played in empty stadiums “but I am convinced that this is by far the best solution.”
The Premier League says it hopes government authorities will allow all 20 stadiums to be used if the competition resumes next month.
The police had asked that games be played in neutral venues but that plan was opposed by many relegation-threatened clubs who believe it harms the sporting integrity of the league.
Liverpool led the league by 25 points when it was halted in March because of the coronavirus pandemic. There are nine games remaining.
Premier League chief executive Richard Masters says “it is the preference of all of our clubs to play at home if possible.”
Masters says clubs discussed what would happen if the season had to be curtailed for the first time.
The Turkish Basketball Federation says it is canceling its season amid the coronavirus outbreak.
Federation president Hidayet Turkoglu says the decision was reached following consultations with all basketball clubs and no team will be declared champion.
Turkoglu says “this was the best decision for basketball.”
Turkey suspended all league sports in March but the country’s soccer federation announced last week it plans to resume games on June 12 and host the Champions League final in Istanbul in August.
The American Hockey League has canceled the rest of its season because of the coronavirus pandemic.
President and CEO David Andrews says “the resumption and completion of the 2019-20 season is not feasible in light of current conditions.”
The league’s board of governors made that determination in a conference call Friday.
The AHL suspended its season on March 12 after the NHL did. The league hopes to be back next season but that is in jeopardy if sports must be played in empty arenas.
The British government has told sports bodies to prepare for the resumption of events in England but not before June and not with fans in stadiums.
Sports have been shut down in Britain since March because of the coronavirus pandemic.
A government document says Step 2 of the plan for easing the lockdown includes “permitting cultural and sporting events to take place behind closed doors for broadcast.”
The document states that the resumption cannot happen before June 1.
The government says permitting large crowds in sports stadiums “may only be fully possible significantly later depending on the reduction in numbers of infections.”
The Turkish volleyball league has been canceled amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Turkish Volleyball Federation president Mehmet Akif Ustundag says no team will be declared champion and no team will be relegated.
He says “the men’s and women’s leagues have been registered as they stand.”
Turkey suspended all league games on March 20 but the country’s soccer federation announced last week it plans to resume games on June 12 and host the Champions League final in Istanbul in August.
Two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova and third-ranked Karolina Pliskova will lead teams in a tennis charity event during the coronavirus pandemic.
Pliskova’s team will include her twin sister Kristyna, 2019 French Open runner-up Marketa Vondrousova, Tereza Martincova and Nikola Bartunkova.
Kvitova will be joined in her squad by Barbora Strycova, Katerina Siniakova, Barbora Krejcikova, Linda Fruhvirtova and Russian player Ekaterina Alexandrova.
Pliskova says “it’s a great opportunity for us to play a unique tournament.”
The first of the four tournaments that are part of the competition is scheduled for June 13-15 in Prague.
Real Madrid has become the latest Spanish league club to resume individual training.
Players were back in action at the team’s training center two months after the league was suspended because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Most clubs had already resumed individual sessions. Barcelona restarted on Friday and Atlético Madrid on Saturday.
All players were tested for COVID-19 before being allowed to practice.
The league says five players on first- and second-division clubs have tested positive. Three staff members have also tested positive.
Spanish league president Javier Tebas hopes to restart the league on June 12.
The head of Japanese baseball says the 12-team league is hoping to start play next month but no specific date has been set.
Japan is living under a state of emergency that is in effect until May 31.
Commissioner Atsushi Saito says “I don’t think anyone can make preparations by setting a specific opening day.”
Saito says the All-Star game in July has been canceled for the first time since it was initially held almost 70 years ago. The Japanese season was originally scheduled to open on March 20.
Tohoku Medical and Pharmaceutical University professor Mitsuo Kaku says it would be difficult to set a date for the season to start with the state of emergency still in effect.
Baseball has begun in Taiwan and South Korea in empty stadiums.
The Portuguese soccer federation says the league, clubs and players must take responsibility for the consequences of the return to soccer in the country amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The federation says that is the first condition stipulated by government authorities to allow the Portuguese league and the Portuguese Cup to resume as planned by the end of the month.
The federation says the league, clubs and players at all times “assume the risk of infection” and “bear the responsibility” of all possible consequences related to the disease and to “the risk for public health.”
The federation says it received a set of conditions from the government on Sunday.
The government recently said it would allow the league and the cup to resume on May 30. The second division was canceled.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic is expected to return to Italy to spend two weeks in quarantine ahead of the potential return of the Serie A season with AC Milan.
He leaves behind plenty of questions in his native Sweden.
Ibrahimovic has been keeping up his fitness by training with Hammarby. He bought a nearly 25% stake in the Stockholm-based club last year in his first move into soccer ownership. The striker practiced with the men’s and women’s teams and played in a training match because Sweden is not under strict lockdown measures during the coronavirus pandemic.
The 38-year-old Ibrahimovic could return to the club as a player in the final years of his career.
Milan and most of the other Italian league clubs resumed training on an individual basis last week before full team training restarts next Monday.
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