The latest on how the coronavirus outbreak is affecting sports around the globe:
- Cavalry FC, defending CPL champs Forge FC to resume training
- U Sports scraps Vanier Cup, other championships
- NFL teams have planner for total reopening of facilities
- Dan Evans dismisses Djokovic’s U.S. Open concerns
- F1’s Lewis Hamilton big voice in Black Lives Matter movement
Pair of CPL clubs to resume training Monday
Cavalry FC and defending CPL champion Forge FC have got the green light to resume training.
Both teams were set to begin voluntary training sessions Monday after receiving approval from local health authorities and the Canadian Premier League.
Cavalry FC will hold its workouts at Calgary’s Spruce Meadows while Forge FC will train at Hamilton’s Tim Hortons Field.
HFX Wanderers FC, Pacific FC, York 9 FC, Valour FC and expansion Atletico Ottawa resumed training last week. FC Edmonton is the lone franchise waiting on approval.
The eight-team CPL is taking a phased approach in its return to training, starting with non-contact individual and then small group workouts with players and staff observing safety protocols and physical distancing measures.
The CPL was scheduled to start its second season on April 11 but postponed the kickoff on March 20, due to the global pandemic.
U Sports cancels Vanier Cup, other fall championships
Canadian university sport fall national championships are being cancelled in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
U Sports announced Monday it is cancelling the women’s field hockey, men’s and women’s cross-country running, men’s and women’s soccer, women’s rugby, and football championships, including the national semifinals (the Mitchell and Uteck Bowls) and the Vanier Cup.
The hosts of the cancelled fall 2020 national championships will have the opportunity to host in future years.
The Vanier Cup, one of the most prominent sports affected is the men’s football season and its championship game, was originally scheduled for November. It will be the first time the game has not been contested since it began in 1965.
While U Sports has cancelled the national championships, it’s up to the four conferences across the country to decide how they want to move forward with their regular seasons and conference championships.
NFL gives teams planner for total reopening of facilities
The NFL and the players’ union sent a planner to the 32 teams Monday outlining procedures for the full reopening of their practice facilities, which were closed because of the coronavirus pandemic.
In a lengthy four-part memo to the clubs written by commissioner Roger Goodell and approved by the NFL Players Association, the league described protocols focusing on screening, testing, infection prevention and treatment for COVID-19, including response for new infections.
Also included were instructions on proper facility access, cleaning and disinfecting; physical distancing; hygiene, health education and medical services; food preparation; supplies; and team travel.
No timetable has been set for the return of most players to team complexes, only players rehabilitating injuries have been allowed to enter the buildings. But this is the next major step toward allowing all players back in club facilities.
Goodell ordered all of those facilities closed in late March, and the league has taken small steps toward reopening them. Last week, coaching staffs were approved to return, but only if local governmental rules allowed it.
Evans dismisses Djokovic’s U.S. Open concerns
Britain’s Dan Evans believes Novak Djokovic’s concerns about players having only one member of their support staff at the U.S. Open does not apply to the majority of the field and compromises should be made when action resumes.
The U.S. Open organizers are assessing safety measures for the tournament scheduled to begin on Aug. 31 without spectators after the COVID-19 pandemic stalled the season in March.
World No. 1 Djokovic said hosting the tournament would be impossible due to “extreme” COVID-19 protocols, but Evans said there has to be some “give and take” from the players.
“I don’t think having one person of your team only allowed is such a big deal – the majority of the draw would only travel with one coach,” Evans told BBC 5 Live.
“Not everyone’s traveling with physios and fitness trainers like Novak said, so I think his argument there is not really valid for the rest of the draw, apart from the real top guys.”
The U.S. Open will be the first Grand Slam to be played after the novel coronavirus outbreak, and will be followed by the French Open which was moved to September.
F1’s Hamilton big voice in Black Lives Matter movement
Prevented from doing his day job by the coronavirus outbreak, Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton is standing out during the pandemic through his passionate campaigning against racial injustice.
The Mercedes driver took to Instagram on Monday in support of demonstrators who toppled a statue of a 17th-century slave trader in the English city of Bristol during one of the many global protests in the Black Lives Matter movement.
“All statues of racist men who made money from selling a human being should be torn down!” Hamilton wrote on the social-networking site. “Which one is next?”
In a later post to his 16.5 million followers, the Briton issued a challenge to governments worldwide “to make these changes and implement the peaceful removal of these racist symbols.”
Hamilton was just as vocal last week following the death of George Floyd, a black man who died after a white Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee on Floyd’s neck even after he pleaded for air while lying handcuffed on the ground.
Rugby fans allowed at Super competition
New Zealand Rugby said on Monday fans will be allowed into stadiums to watch the opening weekend of its domestic rugby union competition after the country lifted virtually all coronavirus restrictions.
Super Rugby Aotearoa, which includes New Zealand’s five Super teams, is the first professional rugby union competition to resume after governments imposed restrictions to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.
There would be no restrictions on the size of crowds for the first weekend of matches at Otago Regional Stadium in Dunedin on Saturday and at Eden Park in Auckland on Sunday, NZR added.
Health officials said there were no active infections left in the country and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced the government would lift virtually all COVID-19 restrictions later Monday.