The Latest: Pro Motocross cancels season-opening event

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

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The Pro Motocross Championship has canceled the season-opening Hangtown Classic due to concerns over the coronavirus.

The race outside of Sacramento, California, had been slated for May 16.

MX Sports Pro Racing, which operates the motocross series, is monitoring ongoing developments and discussing how to handle the rest of the schedule. The next scheduled race is May 23 at Pala, California.

The Hangtown Classic is the longest-running motocross national, dating to 1968.

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South Korea’s women’s professional basketball league says it has canceled the rest of its 2019-20 season because of concerns about the coronavirus outbreak.

It’s become the first professional sports league to close early its entire season in South Korea due to the virus. Many other sports associations have suspended their ongoing leagues or put off their season openings.

The Women’s Korean Basketball League says in a statement that it reached the cancellation decision Friday to support national quarantine efforts aimed at curbing the further spread of the virus.

The WKBL had earlier suspended its league from March 10 after holding its games without spectators.

Its regular session was originally supposed to end on March 19 and a post-season in early April.

It’s first time for the WKBL to close its league early in the middle of its league since its launch in 1998.

South Korea on Friday reported 87 new cases of the coronavirus, bringing its total to 8,652.

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Conference USA is canceling all formal and organized practice for the spring, effective immediately.

The move, announced Thursday, comes after discussions among C-USA athletic directors, with the approval of the Board of Directors.

The conference said that all other team activities will be governed by NCAA rules within each school’s discretion.

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Carolina Panthers owner David Tepper and Bank of America announced Thursday they’re each donating $1 million to the Covid-19 Response Fund, a community-wide effort in the Carolinas to assist those affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

The fund has collected more than $7.8 million in donations in just four days.

Foundation For The Carolinas and United Way of Central Carolinas launched the fund March 16 to support a range of nonprofit organizations assisting members of the community, particularly those most vulnerable. Donations have come from various sectors: corporations, local governments, individual philanthropists and foundations.

Foundation For The Carolinas president and CEP Michael Marsicano says that Tepper “has emerged as one of our most influential leaders and a champion in the philanthropic field” and that “this generous gift is an expression of his heartfelt commitment to the well-being of our citizens. Now is the time for us all to come together to help one another.”

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Celtics guard Marcus Smart says he has tested positive for the coronavirus.

The Celtics said in a statement Thursday night that they received word of a positive COVID-19 test by a player who had been exposed to a known positive case.

They didn’t identify him, but Smart confirmed it was him in a video posted on Twitter. He added that he is not exhibiting any symptoms and is feeling well thus far.

Boston played the Utah Jazz on March 6. Since then, Jazz All-Star players Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell have both tested positive for the virus.

The Celtics said Smart will continue to be in isolation for several days and will be monitored by team medical staff.

The statement said the team is awaiting further testing results and says it will communicate the results.

— Kyle Hightower, reporting from Boston

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Seattle’s expansion NHL franchise will “look for the right time,” before revealing the team’s nickname and brand, according to CEO and team president Tod Leiweke.

In a statement posted on the team’s website on Thursday, Leiweke said the “unprecedented times” with the coronavirus outbreak is changing plans for the team. They are delaying general seat selection for fans and are deferring payments due in April, May and June for those that bought and selected premium seating in Seattle’s home arena.

The team nickname, logo and colors have been highly anticipated for months and were expected to be unveiled in the first quarter of this year. The unveiling continued to be delayed as the team worked with the league on the name and an announcement was expected sometime in April.

The team also announced it’s continuing to work on its charitable foundation and is making a $100,000 donation to Youth Care to help address youth homelessness in the Seattle area.

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The Philadelphia 76ers say three members of the organization have tested positive for the coronavirus.

The Sixers did not identify the members. They say players, coaches and specific basketball operations support staff were tested for COVID-19. The tests were secured and processed privately. All other tests results are currently negative.

The individuals are in self-isolation and will be monitored closely by medical professionals.

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CBS will air classic NCAA Tournament games on Saturday and Sunday afternoon to offset last week’s cancellation of March Madness.

Saturday’s schedule starts at noon Eastern with the 1982 title game between North Carolina and Georgetown followed by North Carolina State vs. Houston in the 1983 championship and the Duke vs. Kentucky 1992 East Regional final.

Sunday’s games are all championship matchups. The day also starts at noon Eastern with Kansas vs. Memphis (2008) followed by last year’s game between Virginia Tech and Texas Tech and finishes with Villanova vs. North Carolina in 2016.

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Santa Anita and Golden Gate Fields are tightening restrictions on jockeys, trainers and stable areas in California.

Only jockeys scheduled to ride in races will be allowed in the jockeys’ room and they will have their temperatures tested daily. Lockers will be spaced a minimum of six feet apart and all jockeys must wear riding gloves at all times.

Only licensed trainers and essential personnel who have horses running that day are allowed on the track in the afternoon. Owners, fans and media have been barred from the premises.

Jockeys will mount their horses in the saddling barn, not the paddock. All starting gates will be disinfected between every race and gate crew will have to wear gloves.

Horses shipping into either Santa Anita in suburban Los Angeles or Golden Gate in the San Francisco Bay area must stay with a trainer who currently has a barn at one of the tracks.

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The San Jose Sharks and their foundation have announced a plan to donate $300,000 to a local food bank in response to the spread of the new coronavirus.

The Sharks say the donation to Second Harvest of Silicon Valley will provide enough food for more than 600,000 meals for those in need.

The Sharks are also partnering with food service provider Aramark to donate more than 2,000 pounds of perishable food items from SAP Center to a local nonprofit that feeds the underserved in the community.

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At least 35 NASCAR drivers will compete in the inaugural “eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series” event on Sunday.

The event drew so many professional drivers it will now be aired on Fox Sports 1. The main booth of Mike Joy and Jeff Gordon, along with analyst Larry McReynolds, will call the event.

The 90-minute, simulation-style eSports program includes a cross-section of competitors who will virtually race at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

The group of drivers participating is headlined by Dale Earnhardt Jr., Hall of Famer Bobby Labonte, two-time and defending Cup champion Kyle Busch and three-time Daytona 500 winner Denny Hamlin.

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Major League Soccer’s New York City team says a member of its sporting department has tested positive for the new coronavirus.

The team says in a statement the person had mild symptoms, is feeling well and is observing appropriate isolation protocols.

Players, staff and people believed to have come in close contact have been instructed to self-isolate and report any symptoms.

NYC is majority-owned by City Football Group, the parent company of England’s Manchester City.

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Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield and his wife, Emily, are donating $50,000 toward food during the coronavirus outbreak.

The Mayfields announced on Instagram that they’re making their donation to the Greater Cleveland Food Bank, an organization they’ve worked with in the past. Mayfield says they “wanted to give back and help out any way we can.”

They asked others to donate and pledged to match those contributions. The No. 1 overall pick in 2018 has recently been working out at his high school in Lake Travis, Texas.

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USA Cycling is tweaking its selection timeline for the Tokyo Olympics after the UCI, the sport’s global governing body, instituted a freeze on points accumulation and results due to the outbreak of the coronavirus.

The first deadline for the American team is May 1 for track cyclists. The BMX freestyle team will be May 15, followed by the mountain bike and road racin teams on June 1. The BMX racing team will be June 3.

USA Cycling has an ambitious goal of bringing home seven medals from the Summer Olympics, which at this point are still scheduled to begin in July.

The organization says it will adjust its schedule if the International Olympic Committee alters the date of the Tokyo Games.

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The American East Conference announced that two people on the floor during recent tournament games have tested positive for the coronavirus.

The conference and the Collegiate Officiating Consortium issued a joint statement saying the games involved teams in the America East, Horizon League and Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference during play from March 7-11.

The teams involved were Maine at Vermont (Burlington, Vermont); UIC vs. Wright State; (Indianapolis); Manhattan vs. Fairfield and Manhattan vs. Siena (Atlantic City, New Jersey).

The American East Conference says it continues to adhere to the guidance issued by the CDC and federal and state governments and encourages fans to do the same.

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The Monaco Grand Prix is among three Formula One races postponed because of the coronavirus outbreak.

The Dutch and Spanish GPs in May were also called off by governing body FIA.

It is not yet clear when the first race of the season can be held.

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The first player under the PGA Tour umbrella has tested positive for the new coronavirus.

The tour says Victor Lange of South Africa was diagnosed with COVID-19 upon returning home to Johannesburg on March 9 from playing a PGA Tour Latinoamerica event in Mazatlan, Mexico. He was tested as a precaution while going to a non-virus related doctor’s appointment with a friend. Lange received the diagnosis on Tuesday.

The tour says Lange has no symptoms and is expected to make a full recovery while under quarantine at home in South Africa.

The PGA Tour Latinoamerica is one of six circuits the tour runs. It says in a statement Lange’s diagnosis will allow the tour to alert those with whom he might have come in contact.

Lange has played three events this year — two in South Africa in January and February, and Mexico two weeks ago.

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Turkey has suspended its soccer, basketball and volleyball leagues because of the coronavirus outbreak.

Youth and Sports Minister Muharrem Kasapoglu made the announcement after meeting with the heads of the three sports federations.

The soccer league had been continuing without spectators after most other leagues in Europe stopped. Turkish soccer federation president Nihat Ozdemir had argued that the country was one of the least affected by the virus.

Some players and coaches had complained about the league going ahead, expressing concerns for their health.

Trabzonspor announced this week that it had “mutually agreed” to part with former Nigeria captain John Obi Mikel after the former Chelsea player said he did not feel comfortable playing amid the pandemic.

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UEFA is giving European soccer clubs extra time and leeway to comply with financial monitoring rules during the coronavirus outbreak.

UEFA says it has extended a March 31 deadline by one month for clubs to show they have no outstanding debts for taxes and transfer fees.

The shutdown of European soccer has deprived clubs of match-day income and many risk getting less revenue from broadcasting contracts if games cannot be played.

The “Financial Fair Play” system monitors at least three years of accounts for hundreds of clubs which qualify to play in the Champions League and Europa League. Clubs which fail to break even on commercial income and spending on transfers and wages risk sanctions which include being expelled from competitions in the most severe cases.

UEFA says the established rules allow for unforeseen circumstances which “is taken into account as part of the clubs’ assessment on a case by case basis.”

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The Swedish soccer association says the start of the top professional leagues in the country have been postponed with the aim of playing again in late May or early June.

The decision comes a day after a request from clubs in Sweden’s top two men’s leagues to delay the start of the season until the beginning of June because of the coronavirus outbreak.

The season was due to start on the weekend of April 3-4.

The federation says a detailed program of games will be presented after UEFA clarifies dates for rearranged European club tournaments.

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Soccer in England will stay suspended until at least April 30 because of the coronavirus outbreak and the season could be finished in June.

The Football Association and Premier League say they have agreed to extend the suspension from April 4 to April 30. The FA board has waived a regulation which would normally oblige leagues to finish by June 1.

That means the English leagues can continue playing in space that opened up when UEFA postponed the European Championship to 2021.

The FA, Premier League and English Football League say they are “united in their commitment” that the season should be resumed.

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The International Weightlifting Federation says it has changed its Olympic qualifying criteria in response to the coronavirus outbreak but won’t say how the new system works.

Olympic qualifying in dozens of sports has been thrown into chaos as continental championships around the world have been postponed.

The IWF says it has drawn up a replacement set of qualifying rules and submitted them to the International Olympic Committee but it won’t tell athletes or national federations about the changes until the IOC signs off on the plan.

The IWF says it has ruled out extending the qualifying period beyond April 30. That means any rescheduled continental championships won’t count.

Weightlifting’s long-standing problems with doping caused the IWF to demand top lifters competed more regularly at international events to be eligible for the Olympics — and to be subject to more doping tests. They were required to compete at least once between November and April.

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Players from German soccer club Borussia Mönchengladbach have accepted pay cuts during the coronavirus pandemic.

Gladbach sporting director Max Eberl says the players approached the club with an offer of voluntary pay cuts, and the coaching staff, directors and executives have joined in.

Eberl says “I am very proud of the boys. A clear signal: we are standing together for Borussia in good and bad times.”

Gladbach is fourth in the German league and was on course to qualify for a spot in next season’s Champions League. Gladbach CEO Stephan Schippers says the club and Bundesliga are in their toughest financial situation in more than 20 years because of lost revenue from tickets, TV and sponsorship.

Gladbach played a game last week in an empty stadium. The club estimated it lost about 2 million euros ($2.16 million) in revenue by playing without fans.

In Scotland, Hearts has asked all its players and other fulltime employees to accept a 50 percent pay cut, or contract termination.

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The Olympic flame has been handed over, by proxy, to Tokyo organizers in Athens.

The coronavirus outbreak forced a bare-bones version of the usual elaborate ceremony in the stadium where the first modern Olympics were staged in 1896.

The 80,000-seat marble stadium was empty apart from a handful of officials and participants. The Japanese delegation was absent because of travel restrictions and Tokyo organizing committee head Yoshiro Mori delivered a speech by video from Japan. But his message was upbeat.

Mori says “I hereby pledge that on 24 July this flame will be lit at the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo.”

Greek Olympic committee president Spyros Kapralos handed over the flame to a Japanese Unicef official in Athens and former Olympic swimmer Naoko Imoto. It was then headed for the airport to board the flight for Japan.

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Categories: National Sports