NASCAR updates schedule through Aug. 2

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

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NASCAR is set to run its All-Star race on a Wednesday night at Charlotte Motor Speedway and added one more weeknight Cup Series race as part of its latest revised schedule through July.

NASCAR has revamped its schedule in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic and announced even more changes on Thursday.

NASCAR will keep its scheduled twinbill weekend later this month at Pocono Raceway. The track is still scheduled to hold a Truck Series and Cup Series race on June 27 and an Xfinity Series and Cup Series race on June 28. The compressed schedule because of the pandemic has forced NASCAR to run races from all three national series multiple days a week. NASCAR crammed five Cup races on the schedule from May 17 to May 30.

The rest of the Cup schedule includes a July 5 race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, July 12 at Kentucky Speedway, the All-Star race on July 15 at Charlotte, July 19 at Texas Motor Speedway and July 23 at Kansas Speedway. The new schedule wraps Aug. 2 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

The All-Star race is usually held in May and New Hampshire was bumped from its July date. Pocono, Indy and Kentucky stayed the same.

NASCAR also scheduled five Truck races and six second-tier Xfinity races. The Cup Series races again Sunday at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

The schedule for the rest of the season will be released at a later date.

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A day after announcing a deal with its players’ association to resume the season with a tournament in Florida, Major League Soccer says teams may resume training.

MLS says each player and staff member must complete two tests for the coronavirus 24 hours apart, 72 hours ahead of the start of training. Every player also must have a test for antibodies and a physical.

Once training starts, players, coaches and some staff must be tested for the virus every other day. An individual who tests positive would be isolated, tested again at least 24 houts later, and all close contacts would be tested. High-risk individuals must be cleared to participate by the team’s chief medical officer in consultation with the MLS medical staff.

Testing for antibodies will take place every three months. Testing providers must be authorized by the FDA or Health Canada.

Training rooms and gyms will be restricted to a maximum five people, and lockers should be spaced a minimum 10 feet apart. Doors should be left open.

Food is restricted to individual, prepackaged meals and individually wrapped utensils, and 10 feet of distancing is necessary while eating.

Staff is to use appropriate personal protective equipment.

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Michigan State says a student-athlete’s father died of COVID-19 and the athlete tested positive but remained asymptomatic.

Athletic director Bill Beekman was part of a video conference with reporters Thursday to discuss the school’s plans to have athletes back on campus. When asked if any athlete or athletic department personnel had tested positive in the past three months, Beekman said nobody that he was aware of — but that he might not necessarily have all the information.

Dr. Jeffrey Kovan, the school’s director of sports medicine, was also part of the video conference. He quickly said that one student-athlete had tested positive, his father died, and his mother and sister also tested positive. Kovan said the athlete was asymptomatic and retested negative a few weeks later.

The school did not disclose the athlete’s identity or his sport.

“We’ve had a couple others that have had symptoms, without testing positive that we know of,” Kovan said.

Michigan State athletes can begin returning to campus June 15 in preparation for voluntary workouts. Football, basketball and volleyball players will be the first to undergo testing.

After testing, athletes will be instructed to self-isolate for a week, and those testing positive will be quarantined for 10 days. On June 22, athletes who initially tested negative will be given a second round of testing. Athletes who receive a second negative test will be cleared to begin voluntary workouts. They will be split into small workout groups based on people they live with.

“The intent is that if we keep our volume, our number of athletes together in a small set, and their strength coach works with just that group when they work out, and somebody in that group is positive, then we can isolate that individual group as opposed to the whole team,” Kovan said.

Common areas like locker rooms and lounges will remain closed. Athletes will be given masks and required to wear them while in facilities, except during workouts.

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A member of the Pittsburgh Penguins has tested positive for COVID-19.

The team announced Thursday that an unidentified player has been diagnosed with the coronavirus. The team says the player was not in Pittsburgh at the time of test and has been at his home since first experiencing symptoms. The club said the player is “recovering and feeling well” and those who have been in close contact with him have been notified.

The NHL’s season remains “on pause,” but the Penguins will participate in the approved playoff format whenever the season resumes.

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Atalanta coach Gian Piero Gasperini says the reaction from Champions League opponent Valencia after he acknowledged testing positive for the coronavirus is “really very offensive.”

Valencia expressed “surprise” and a top health official in the Spanish region said Gasperini “lacked responsibility” for traveling to Spain with symptoms of the virus. He recently told Italian media he felt sick the day before the March 10 match in Valencia.

Gasperini tells Sky Italia, “I know that I respected the protocols. I was in quarantine like everyone else until training resumed. I never had a test. It was only in May when (the entire team) had blood tests that I realized that I had had the virus.”

Valencia said after the March 10 game that about 35% of its team had the virus.

Gasperini adds, “Looking back, I think that was the period when I didn’t feel well. But I never had a fever or any sort of respiratory problems. When I left from Bergamo I felt fine. I had some problems that evening and the day after (the match).”

Experts say the first leg on Feb. 19 in Milan was one of the biggest reasons why the virus was so deadly in Atalanta’s home city of Bergamo. The match has been dubbed “Game Zero” by Italian media.

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Seven Arkansas State athletes have tested positive for COVID-19 and are self-isolating for 14 days.

Chancellor Kelly Damphousse said the seven athletes are from three sports, and all were asymptomatic Thursday. They learned of the positive results Wednesday night.

The athletes who tested positive and are living off campus will self-isolate there or at home for 14 days. Those living on campus will self-isolate in their residence hall or at home for 14 days.

Damphousse said contact tracing has begun, and anyone who has been exposed to any of the seven athletes will be required to quarantine for 14 days.

“This is a day that we knew would come, not just at A-State, but for colleges and universities across America,” Damphousse said.

An Arkansas State spokesman said he didn’t know how many athletes have been tested since they began returning to campus for voluntary workouts.

Oklahoma State and Marshall have announced they’ve each had three athletes test positive.

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English soccer club Tottenham says it is expecting to lose more than $250 million in revenue with Premier League matches being played without fans and its stadium no longer being used for two NFL games this year.

Tottenham’s stadium opened last year and can hold more than 60,000 people. It is unclear when spectators will be allowed into events again.

Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy says “it is imperative that we now all work together … to find a safe way to bring spectators back to sport and entertainment venues.”

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Badminton tournaments in Australia, India and South Korea have been canceled amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The suspended Australian Open can’t find new dates. The Hyderabad Open in August and Korea Masters in November were part of the revamped calendar announced last month but have now been put off.

The Korea Open in September is still on.

The world tour is scheduled to resume at the end of August in Lingshui, China.

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The International Olympic Committee is in talks with insurers over compensation for the postponed 2020 Tokyo Games.

Olympic operations director Pierre Ducrey says there is “an open discussion” between the IOC and insurance brokers “to try and find the right level of compensation to help us bear the cost of having to wait another year.”

The IOC pays for insurance against the cancellation of an Olympics but it is unclear if its policy covers a one-year postponement.

Cancellation policies detailed in IOC accounts cost $14.4 million for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics and $12.8 million for the 2018 Pyeongchang Games.

The IOC said last month it set aside $650 million to cover potential extra costs for the postponement.

Costs for organizers in Japan are expected to run to billions of dollars.

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Borussia Dortmund has defended a group of players who were accused of breaking Bundesliga hygiene rules while getting haircuts.

German newspaper Bild reports that some of the players were pictured without face masks during appointments at home with a celebrity barber. Forward Jadon Sancho was among the players.

League rules during the coronavirus pandemic say players should minimize contact with people from outside their household. They have to wear masks for large parts of game days unless actually on the field.

Dortmund sporting director Michael Zorc says he spoke with the players about their behavior and adds that they only removed their face masks to pose briefly for pictures. Zorc adds that the 20-year-old Sancho is still “very young.”

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All referees in Italy’s top soccer league have tested negative for the coronavirus.

The Serie A referees and some from the second division were tested at the Italian federation’s training headquarters on the outskirts of Florence.

They will remain there until June 10 to have further tests and continue training and preparing for the resumption of Serie A on June 20.

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Premier League clubs have agreed to allow five substitutions in soccer matches.

They will adopt the temporary law change when the league resumes on June 17 amid the coronavirus pandemic.

There can still only be three pauses to bring on substitutes.

Premier League clubs have also agreed to temporarily increase the number of substitute players from seven to nine.

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The Italian soccer federation is launching a fund of nearly $25 million to help clubs and their members following the crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The Save Soccer Foundation will need definitive approval at a federation meeting on Monday.

Federation president Gabriele Gravina says “it’s an initiative which doesn’t have precedents and represents a great assumption of responsibility which the (federation) is taking in favor of the whole soccer system.”

The fund consists of 21,700,000 euros ($24,500,000). It will give up to 5 million euros ($5.6 million) to each of the two divisions below Serie A as well as the same amount to support clubs from the amateur soccer league.

It will also give up to 3 million euros ($3.4 million) to soccer players and the same amount to coaches and their staff.

The fund will also provide 700,000 euros ($800,000) to help women’s soccer clubs that are set to complete the season.

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The European gymnastics championships have been moved to December after being postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The men’s event will run from Dec. 9-13 and the women’s championships from Dec. 17-20 in Baku, Azerbaijan.

Baku was originally supposed to host only the men’s championships but France couldn’t reschedule the women’s event after missing its planned dates in Paris in April and May.

European Gymnastics president Farid Gayibov says the body will review the coronavirus situation and react accordingly “should the situation at a later date not be considered safe enough any more.”

The European championships for rhythmic gymnastics will stay in Kyiv, Ukraine, but are now set for Nov. 26-29. That is six months later than originally planned.

All three championships were supposed to be tune-ups for the Tokyo Olympics but that event has been postponed to 2021.

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Pope Francis is promoting a charity auction of sports items and experiences in support of two of the hospitals hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic in Italy.

The “We Run Together” auction includes a personalized bicycle given to Francis by world champion Peter Sagan, a team jersey and captain’s armband signed by former Roma forward Francesco Totti and a swim suit and hat from Olympic champion Federica Pellegrini.

There are also experiences such as training sessions and dinners with various athletes.

Francis says “the true values of sport are particularly important to face this period of pandemic and especially the difficult restart.”

The auctions will take place on the site Charitystars.com starting Monday for two months. There will be a new one every week and each auction will last 10 days.

All funds raised will go to the Papa Giovanni XXIII hospital in Bergamo and Fondazione Poliambulanza in Brescia.

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German soccer club Schalke has apologized to fans for asking them to justify their refunds for games played in empty stadiums because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Schalke had asked for evidence of financial hardship if fans wanted tickets refunded this year rather than waiting until 2022.

Schalke says it used “impersonal formulations lacking empathy” and fans will no longer be asked to submit documentary evidence of their personal finances. But the club says the approach was legal under German law.

The Bundesliga was suspended in March because of the coronavirus outbreak and spectators have not been allowed to attend any of the games since the league restarted on May 16.

Schalke has been hit hard financially by the pandemic. Executive board member Alexander Jobst said in March the club faced an existential threat.

The team has also struggled on the field and hasn’t won a league game since January.

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Categories: National Sports