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Coronavirus: Here’s what’s happening in the sports world on Friday

The latest on how the coronavirus outbreak is affecting sports around the globe:

  • Former Olympic minister says March is possible deadline for Tokyo decision
  • MLB players holding firm on prorated pay
  • National Rugby League set to allow fans back
  • Chelsea declared champion of curtailed Women’s Super League

Possible March deadline for decision on Olympics

Next spring has been set as a possible deadline by a local lawmaker for deciding if the postponed Tokyo Olympics can go ahead.

That’s the judgment of former Japanese Olympic minister Toshikai Endo. Japanese television NHK quoted him at a meeting of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party.

The Tokyo Olympics are to open on July 23, 2021. They were postponed this year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Endo is the latest powerful politician to speak out this week about the games, bracing the Japanese public for possible changes and costs.

Tokyo Governor Yurkio Koike said Thursday the games were likely to be downsized and undergo many changes.

MLB players reaffirm stance for full prorated pay

Major League Baseball is no closer to framing an agreement for starting the season.

Players have reaffirmed their stance for full prorated pay, leaving a huge gap with teams that could scuttle plans to start the coronavirus-delayed season around the Fourth of July and may leave owners focusing on a schedule as short as 50 games.

More than 100 players, including the union’s executive board, held a two-hour digital meeting with officials of the Major League Baseball Players Association on Thursday, a day after the union’s offer was rejected by Major League Baseball.

Management on Sunday pitched an 82-game schedule that included a sliding scale for prorated salaries, with the richer players receiving a reduced share. The union countered on Tuesday with a 114-game schedule with prorated salaries and no adjusted scale.

National Rugby League set to allow small groups of fans

Small groups of fans will be allowed to attend National Rugby League games at some venues from next weekend to keep sports in line with the relaxation of COVID-19 pandemic restrictions in New South Wales state.

Gatherings of 50 or fewer will be allowed to watch games, but only in corporate suites, and only at the three venues in and around Sydney in Round 5, providing distancing rules that require people to stay 1.5 metres (5 feet) apart are observed. Seating in regular stands will remain closed to spectators.

Chelsea awarded Women’s Super League title

Chelsea regained the Women’s Super League trophy after being declared champion on Friday because the season was curtailed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The English Football Association’s board decided to determine the final standings on a points-per-game basis. Manchester City was a point ahead of Chelsea but had played an extra game when the season was suspended in March.

“Football pales into insignificance at a time like this, but it also has the capacity to bring joy and happiness to fans and communities everywhere,” Chelsea manager Emma Hayes said.

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