The Latest: Becher defends Sharks’ games amid county caution

The Latest: Becher defends Sharks’ games amid county caution

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

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San Jose Sharks President Jonathan Becher says the team made the best decision with the information at the time when it played three home games following a recommendation by the county against large gatherings in early March.

Santa Clara County issued a recommendation on March 5 that mass gatherings should be postponed or canceled to control the spread of the new coronavirus. The recommendation also said that if large gatherings can’t be avoided that people who are sick or at high risk shouldn’t attend and extra cleaning precautions should be taken.

The Sharks followed the second list of instructions and played three home games before the county banned all large gatherings March 9. The NHL season suspended later that week.

Becher says it’s important to remember that “early March felt a lot different than we are today and we were all making the best decision we could with the information we had at the time.”

Becher says the team is continuing to pay full and part-time employees and anticipates a financial hit from the suspension of the season. He also said the team has delayed the Tuesday deadline for season-ticket holders to renew their packages.

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The Lambeau Field dining staff that typically serves meals to Green Bay Packers players, coaches and personnel are instead preparing and delivering food throughout the community while the stadium is closed.

Packers officials said the Lambeau Field staff has given out 400 meals per week to feed local school district employees responsible for ensuring all students have lunch access and 1,000 meals per week to staffers at area health-care facilities.

Packers officials added that 5,000 protein bars and 3,500 protein shakes that had been stored for future player use have instead gone to local public schools to help feed students in the community. The Lambeau Field staff also has provided as many as 300 meals plus non-perishable food items to supporting area food pantries and shelters.

Packers director of performance nutrition Adam Korzun and his team dining staff are leading the effort.

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The Minnesota Vikings are steering their charitable foundation’s food truck to support community members disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Vikings Table food truck is being used to help distribute free, nutritious meals to at-risk youth via a local food pantry. The goal is to provide 100 individually packaged meals each weekday over a two-week span, to be delivered to neighborhoods lacking transportation options or access to free meals being served at schools.

The food truck is also employing recently laid off restaurant workers for preparation and delivery.

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Baseball fans who want to brush up on the history of Stan Musial, Roberto Clemente and others from yesteryear now have an extra opportunity.

The magazine Baseball Digest has made its entire archive file -- dating to its first issue in 1942 -- available for free through July 15. Publisher Norman Jacobs said he wanted to provide the service to help fill the void while the season is delayed because of the new coronavirus outbreak.

Baseball Digest has produced features, crossword puzzles, cartoons, stats and schedules over the years, along with stories written by players and popular quizzes, including the well-known, So You Think You Know Baseball?

Fans can access the archives by going to baseballdigestarchive.com/free and registering.

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The Southeastern Conference now has canceled its spring meetings because of the coronavirus.

Commissioner Greg Sankey announced the move Tuesday and said the league will figure out a different way to meet to consider SEC operations and how to recognize award winners.

The SEC meetings have been held annually the last week of May in Destin, Florida, since 1985.

Sankey says the spring meetings are one of the SEC’s great traditions to celebrate the past year and plan for the future. He says the SEC knows canceling is the right move during this unprecedented public health crisis.

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NASCAR star Joey Logano has established a $1 Million COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund.

The fund is from the Joey Logano Foundation in partnership with Elevation Church.

The money will be used to address a variety of needs, including educational equity and access, medical supplies, food distribution, and financial shortages throughout the greater Charlotte, North Carolina area and communities across the United States.

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The National Hockey League has extended its self-quarantine recommendation for players and staff until April 15.

Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly confirmed the extension in an email to The Associated Press on Tuesday. The league had previously sent out a memo recommending self-quarantining until April 4.

So far, four NHL players -- two each from the Ottawa Senators and Colorado Avalanche -- have tested positive for COVID-19.

-- Reporting by Hockey Writer Stephen Whyno

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The postponement of the Tokyo Olympics to the summer of 2021 will have an impact on numerous other events — including an Olympic-style event for sports that are not part of the Summer Games.

The new dates for the Olympics — July 23-Aug. 8, 2021 — now overlaps with the 2021 World Games, which were set to be held in Birmingham, Alabama between July 15-25.

The International World Games Association says it will shift the dates of its signature event to an earlier date in 2021 or to a similar time in 2022.

The World Games began in 1981 and are held every four years to showcase disciplines that are not on the Olympic program, such as sumo, floorball, billiards, lifesaving, orienteering, dance sport and tug of war.

Birmingham won the right to stage the 11th edition, beating out Lima, Peru and Ufa, Russia to become the first U.S. host since Santa Clara, California for the inaugural World Games.

Birmingham expects some 3,600 athletes from more than 100 nations to participate.

The IWGA has been especially affected by the coronavirus outbreak that has largely shut down sports around the world. The organization’s president, José Perurena, has tested positive in Spain.

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A $75 million rescue package was rolled out by English cricket’s governing body on Tuesday to help teams at all levels withstand the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

The England and Wales Cricket Board said 40 million pounds (about $50 million) was being made available at the top-tier level. More than 20 million pounds (about $25 million) will go to the local cricket clubs, via loans and grants.

“It will be months before the full financial fallout is made clear,” ECB chief executive Tom Harrison said. “We will continue work with all of our partners to protect the ongoing health of the entire game in the short term and beyond.”

The start of the English cricket season has been delayed until May 28 at the earliest. A range of options for cricket to begin in June, July or August are being modeled.

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Colombia’s soccer league has asked the country’s government to help clubs affected by the new coronavirus outbreak.

The league tournament was stopped on March 13, with initial hopes for a restart in April.

The head of the league, Jorge Enrique Vélez, says he doesn’t want taxpayer money but policies to support the affected.

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Reigning NCAA women’s singles tennis champion Estela Perez-Somarriba has decided to delay the start of her professional career and remain at the University of Miami for another year.

Perez-Somarriba, a senior, will take advantage of an NCAA decision Monday to give Division I spring-sport athletes an additional year of eligibility after the coronavirus pandemic curtailed their 2020 season.

Perez-Somarriba won the singles title last May. She’s 141-23 at Miami and holds the school record for match victories.

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Former U.S. Davis Cup captain Patrick McEnroe says in a video posted on social media that he tested positive for the coronavirus.

McEnroe, younger brother of eight-time major champion John, said he did a drive-through test in upstate New York after developing what he called “minor symptoms” about 10 days ago.

Patrick McEnroe said: “The good news is I feel fine. My symptoms have passed. I feel, really, 100 percent.”

As a player, he won one tournament in singles and 16 in doubles, including the 1989 French Open.

He succeeded his brother as Davis Cup captain and served in that job for nearly a decade, leading the United States to the title in 2007.

The younger McEnroe also served as general manager of player development for the U.S. Tennis Association.

He and his brother now are both TV analysts for tennis matches, sometimes working alongside each other in the booth.

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Dr. Vivek Murthy, the former surgeon general of the United States under President Barack Obama and someone who has advised the NBA throughout the global coronavirus pandemic, will take questions from NBA fans later this week.

The league is setting up a live question-and-answer session on its Twitter account with Murthy, beginning Wednesday at 4 p.m. Eastern.

NBA fans are being urged to send in questions ahead of time to Murthy with the hashtag of #NBATogether.

The NBA Together initiative was born “to support, engage, educate and inspire youth, families and fans in response to the coronavirus pandemic” and has seen members of the NBA family engaging globally with followers.

Murthy’s new book, “Together: The Healing Power of Human Connection in a Sometimes Lonely World,” examines loneliness as a public health concern. It will be released April 28.

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China’s government has ordered all major sports events to remain suspended because of the coronavirus outbreak, meaning the country’s basketball league will have to push back its planned restart.

The Chinese Basketball Association had hoped to resume play in mid-April but was denied government approval to do so. Instead, China’s General Administration of Sport issued a statement saying any large sporting events that draw crowds “are temporarily not being resumed.”

The agency did not give a timeline for when the suspensions may be lifted, but said it will “make timely adjustments according to the epidemic prevention and control situation.”

The CBA has been suspended since Jan. 24 because of the spread of COVID-19. The league is reportedly considering a proposal to bring all 20 teams to one or two cities and play the remainder of the regular season in empty arenas.

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Bellator has postponed its three cards set for May in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

The MMA organization says it will try and reschedule Bellator 242 set for May 9 in San Jose, California, a May 16 card in London and Bellator 243 on May 29 in Temecula, California.

Bellator says it will try to reschedule the events as soon as it can.

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Soccer players in Germany could be tested for the coronavirus before games if the season resumes.

The German Football League says it has set up a medical task force which is working on a “procedure for the strict and independent testing of players and other staff members, including immediately prior to matchdays.”

The league is also relaxing its financial fair play rules because it expects clubs will struggle to adapt to a prolonged shortfall in TV, ticket and sponsorship revenue.

Clubs which start insolvency proceedings this season won’t be hit with a mandatory nine-point deduction. The teams’ “liquidity situation” also won’t be considered when issuing licenses for next season.

The Bundesliga hasn’t played a game since March 11. Clubs from the top two divisions have voted to extend the suspension to at least April 30.

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The new ownership group of the Kansas City Royals, along with players, staff and the organization’s charitable arm are donating more than 500,000 meals to Harvesters, a local food bank helping those in need during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Royals chairman John Sherman, who purchased the club late last year from David Glass, said in a statement that his group of players, executives and investors “share a deep connection to the Kansas City community, which is why the entire Royals family is coming together to do our part.”

The Royals would have opened their season against the White Sox last week in Chicago. Their home opener would have been Thursday against the Mariners. At this point, nobody is quite sure when the club will take the field.

Longtime outfielder Alex Gordon donated to the Royals’ food drive. He says that his family is staying home during the pandemic, but “we feel very blessed, and we want to make sure our neighbors are taken care of.”

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Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame President & CEO John Doleva said the organization is moving forward with its planned London Showcase doubleheader in December that will match Kentucky against Michigan and Marist against UMBC.

Doleva said in a statement that it “remains diligent in monitoring the situation and making decisions in the best interest of public health.” He added that the health and safety of players, fans and staff is of the “utmost importance” and will communicate with the four schools with updates as needed.

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Global soccer union FIFPro says soccer players in Belarus are worried about the continuing despite the coronavirus pandemic.

FIFPro general secretary Jonas Baer-Hoffmann says “it’s not comprehendible” that the Belarus league is still playing after kicking off this month. It’s the only top-tier European league in action.

Baer-Hoffmann says “there are players who are reaching out concerned.”

Fans entering the stadiums in Belarus over the weekend were given antiseptic hand gel but few wore masks for protection.

Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko has been defiant about not limiting people’s movement, saying “it’s better to die standing than to live on your knees.”

Baer-Hoffmann says FIFPro does not have a member union in Belarus but “we will be lobbying” to introduce precautions.

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The Bundesliga soccer season will remain suspended through April because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The 36 clubs in Germany’s top two divisions have agreed to accept the recommendation of the league authority to extend the period without games to April 30 at least.

The last game played was on March 11.

League president Christian Seifert says “the most important thing without question is controlling the outbreak of the virus and especially protecting groups at risk.”

Training for the 36 clubs is to remain stopped until April 5.

UEFA is to meet with its 55 members on Wednesday with the fate of the remaining Champions League, Europa League and international games to be discussed.

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Scotland rugby coach Gregor Townsend has agreed to a 25% salary deferral from April 1 to Sept. 1.

The coaches of two professional sides, Richard Cockerill at Edinburgh and Dave Rennie at Glasgow, have made the same agreement, though Rennie begins his new job as Australia coach in July.

Scottish Rugby also announced CEO Mark Dodson was taking a 30% deferral, and the board 25%.

Last week, England coach Eddie Jones accepted a 25% pay cut.

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ABC/ESPN has moved up the premier of the 10-part docuseries “The Last Dance” featuring Michael Jordan and the 1990s Chicago Bulls to April 19. The docuseries will be shown on ESPN on Sunday nights and on Netflix outside of the United States.

It was originally scheduled to be released in June but sports fans have clamored on social media for the series to be moved up in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak and with most sporting events canceled or postponed.

The news was announced on Good Morning America.

The Bulls won six NBA titles during the 1990s and were led by Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Steve Kerr and Dennis Rodman.

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Hungarian Olympic swimmer Boglarka Kapas says she has tested positive for COVID-19.

The 26-year-old Kapas writes in an Instagram post that she had to submit to testing in order to return to training.

She says her first test was negative but a second test showed she has the virus. She is staying in quarantine at home for two weeks.

Kapas says “I don’t have any symptoms yet and that’s why it’s important for you to know that even if you feel healthy you can spread the virus.”

Kapas won gold in the 200-meter butterfly at the 2019 world championships in China and a bronze medal in the 800-meter freestyle at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

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Global soccer union FIFPro says seven-time Slovakian champion Zilina is opting for bankruptcy after offering players a “take it or leave it” 80% pay cut.

FIFPro says it believes Zilina is the first European club to go into liquidation since the coronavirus outbreak.

The union says Zilina “refused to negotiate with the (Slovak) player union.”

The move follows the club selling 20-year-old forward Róbert Boženík to Feyenoord in January for a reported fee of about 4.5 million euros ($4.9 million).

Zilina is second in the now-suspended Slovak league. The club played in the Champions League in 2010-11 but lost all six games in a group that included Chelsea and Marseille.

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The Badminton World Federation has frozen the world rankings while the circuit is suspended.

The rankings have been backdated to March 17. That was the day after the last international tournament, the All England Open. They will be the basis for entry and seeding into the next international tournaments, whenever they are.

The world circuit is suspended to the end of April, but the BWF expects more tournaments to be put off in May and June.

It says it has yet to decide how the rankings will be unfrozen.

The BWF says “it is difficult to outline the exact procedure until we have an exact overview of what the international calendar will look like once play resumes and suspended tournaments have been rescheduled.”

With the Tokyo Olympics delayed until 2021, the BWF says it is reviewing the Olympic qualification process. It notes the consequences of freezing the world rankings does not apply to Olympic qualifying.

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Two-time mixed doubles champion Jamie Murray says he believes Wimbledon will be canceled.

The All England Club board will hold an emergency meeting on Wednesday to discuss the fate of the 2020 tournament.

The grasscourt season lasts only six weeks and Wimbledon is staged when daylight hours are the longest in Britain. The club has acknowledged the short window available to it and ruled out playing without spectators.

The French Open has been postponed from May to September.

The brother of two-time Wimbledon singles champion Andy Murray was asked whether he thinks a cancellation is more likely than a postponement. He told BBC Radio 4: “I think so. I think for them it is difficult to move the tournament back for many reasons, because you are running into other tournaments.”

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Organizers of the Swiss Indoors tennis tournament in Roger Federer’s hometown of Basel say ticket sales will start on schedule on Thursday.

The tournament is due to run from Oct. 26 to Nov. 1. Organizers say tickets will be refunded “should the coronavirus crisis continue and the Swiss tennis highlight not take place.”

The ATP Tour is currently suspended until at least June.

Federer and his wife donated 1 million Swiss francs ($1.04 million) last week to help families in need in his home country during the pandemic.

Federer is a 10-time champion at the Swiss Indoors and will turn 39 before this year’s tournament. He was twice a ball boy at the event and made his debut as a player in 1998 when he was 17. He lost in the first round to Andre Agassi.

Federer posted footage on his social media accounts on Monday of him practising trick shots in his rehabilitation after surgery on his left knee in February.

Published on: Apr 01, 2020 12:55:36

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