Belgium's Pro League have pushed back the date for a meeting to decide whether or not the 2019-20 season should be cancelled.

Last week, organisers recommended rendering the season void, with the coronavirus pandemic having seen all but a handful of sporting competitions across the world put on hold.

The unprecedented move would have seen Club Brugge declared champions and Waasland-Beveren relegated.

UEFA later insisted that any such decision was premature and that cancelling the whole campaign must be seen as "a last resort" by all member associations.

A Pro League general assembly had been called for April 15 to discuss the findings of a working group tasked with assessing the sporting and financial implications of declaring the season over.

However, a statement on Thursday confirmed the assembly has been delayed until April 24, when all Pro League clubs will be invited to attend.

"The members of the working group appointed by the board of directors are now continuing their duties," the statement added.

Manchester United have donated medical equipment, food and gifts to local medical centres, with Alex Ferguson leading the praise of the NHS and the response to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Premier League club's foundation have delivered protective equipment, other medical supplies and over 3,500 United gifts to staff at NHS Foundation Trusts in Salford and Manchester.

United also said they would be willing to allow the NHS to use Old Trafford's facilities and 16 vehicles belonging to their foundation, while 30,000 items of food and drink stored at the stadium have been sent to food banks, hospitals and charities.

Former United manager Alex Ferguson, who had emergency surgery after suffering a brain haemorrhage two years ago, expressed his appreciation for the health service.

"I'm delighted we are now recognising the importance of our NHS - as I experienced two years ago after they saved my life," Ferguson said on United's official website.

"The response to this pandemic has been magnificent and has made me proud of the way the club and the British people have rallied round to help. Well done."

Those words were echoed by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, one of Ferguson's successors and the current incumbent of the United job.

"The NHS staff and the volunteers fighting the virus are putting themselves at risk to keep everybody safe and doing a truly amazing job," Solskjaer added.

"They deserve thanks and praise from everybody for their work and their efforts every single day."

On Wednesday, Premier League players announced the creation of a fund to help health services, with United captain Harry Maguire coordinating the effort from Solskjaer's squad.

"On behalf of all the players, our thoughts are with all those that have been affected by this terrible virus," the England international said.

"It has been heart-warming to see the nation come together to show their appreciation to the NHS and other critical workers."

Real Madrid star Toni Kroos said it was logical for players and coaches to take a pay cut amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Madrid announced that players and coaches from their football and basketball squads agreed to reduction in wages on Wednesday, with LaLiga and professional sport in Spain on hold due to COVID-19.

Directors at Madrid also accepted to voluntary reductions in pay for 2019-20 – the pay cuts will be between 10 and 20 per cent "depending on the circumstances that may affect the closing of the 2019-20 season", the club said in a statement.

Prior to the midweek announcement, Kroos had stated he was not in favour of pay cuts amid financial concerns but the Germany international explained his comments.

"It is possible that it [the interview] has not been translated correctly or that some do not want to understand," Kroos wrote via Twitter.

"From the first moment, my opinion, you know me well, is this: if we can help the workers and areas of the club, I see it as logical to renounce part of our salary, something that could be proven today."

In an interview with SWR Sport podcast on Tuesday, Madrid midfielder Kroos said: "Cutting salaries is like a donation in vain – or for the club.

"I am in favour of paying the full salary and let everyone do sensible things with it. Everyone is being asked to help where necessary, and there are many places where it is necessary."

St Louis Blues star Vladimir Tarasenko is set to return to the ice when and if the coronavirus-hit NHL season resumes.

Tarasenko underwent shoulder surgery in October and the Russian forward has not played for Stanley Cup champions the Blues since.

The three-time All-Star had three goals and seven assists in 10 games up until October 24.

Tarasenko began skating for the first time since the procedure in early February and was inching closer to a return before the season was paused on March 12 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"I was lucky enough to travel a couple road trips before this all started to feel like a part of the team again more," Tarasenko said on the Blues' full-team conference call on Wednesday.

"Just looking forward to joining the guys on the ice, practice normally and hopefully play some hockey. It's been a long year, but hockey will start some day and we're just waiting for the day."

Tarasenko and Alex Ovechkin are the only players in the league to score at least 30 goals for five consecutive seasons entering 2019-20. 

The Blues' Tarasenko had 11 goals and six assists in 26 games last season to help St Louis win the Stanley Cup for the first time. 

The Formula One season could start behind closed doors in Europe amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to F1's managing director of motorsports Ross Brawn.

On Tuesday, the Canadian Grand Prix – scheduled for June 14 – became the ninth race of the 2020 F1 season to be postponed due to COVID-19, joining Australia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, China, Netherlands, Monaco, Spain and Vietnam on the list.

F1 organisers remain determined to begin the season as soon as possible and whatever a revised calendar looks like, it could exclude fans from the circuit.

"If we were to start at the beginning of July, we could do a 19-race season," Brawn said on the Sky F1 Vodcast. "It's tough, three races on, weekend off, three races on, weekend off - but we've looked at all the logistics."

Brawn added: "Our view is that probably a European start would be favourable, and that could even be a closed event.

"We could have a very closed environment where teams come in on charter [planes], we channel them into the circuit, we make sure everyone's tested, cleared, there's no risk to everyone and we have a race without spectators. That's not great, but I think it's still better than no racing at all."

"Eight races would be the minimum [for the championship], and we could achieve eight races by starting in October," Brawn continued.

"But there's always the possibility we could run into next year. That's being explored and we could stray into January to finish the season, though there's all sorts of complications with that. The choice this year is anything between eight and 19."

 

Kawhi Leonard would be in "phenomenal shape" if the NBA season resumes, according to Los Angeles Clippers head coach Doc Rivers.

The NBA was suspended on March 11 amid the coronavirus pandemic, which has claimed at least 88,200 lives globally.

It remains to be seen when and if the 2019-20 season will restart amid the coronavirus crisis, with commissioner Adam Silver saying the league will not be able to make any decisions regarding the campaign until at least May.

Clippers superstar Leonard – who moved to Los Angeles in the offseason after leading the Toronto Raptors to the title last season – has been the subject of load management this term to deal with a knee problem.

But Rivers told reporters on Wednesday: "I know Kawhi's overworking, I can guarantee you that. And the difference is, during the summer, Kawhi couldn't work, you know, so now he's got this break and he's able to train.

"So the Kawhi we'll see will be in phenomenal shape. PG [Paul George] is another guy that's gonna be in phenomenal shape."

"If this gets started, you can tell our players are invested in the season," Rivers said. "And they don't want this season to go away. And they're working like it is not going to go away."

The Clippers (44-20) had won seven of their last eight games to be second in the Western Conference, behind city rivals the Los Angeles Lakers (49-14), before the NBA was shut down.

Various options are being discussed, including playing behind closed doors and the season heading straight into the playoffs if the campaign resumes.

"If it means we get to play and continue our pursuit for the goal that we want, I feel like Dr. Seuss: 'I will play anywhere. I will play in a house, I will play in a mouse,'" Rivers said. "I think that's how our team feels. We don't care where, when, why, what. We just want to go after our goal. I'm speaking by myself on that."

On the Clippers' season up until the postponement, Rivers added: "We're really good. What I know for real was the last 10 games, we were turning into the Clippers. You could literally feel it... We started understanding each other... we were playing seamlessly through Kawhi and PG -- it wasn't forced anymore. Guys weren't trying to stay out of each other's way.

"You could feel the rhythm. Even the Lakers loss [on March 8] where we, in my opinion, played horrendous in that game, and that was one of our step-back games... we still had a chance and it was our D game, you know?"

"I really thought we were about to make a crazy run down the stretch. And unfortunately, bam, it stopped. ... I love where we were at. And seeing the way we play and how we were coming together, this team's good, I think we could beat anybody."

The Bundesliga is aiming to resume in early May with games behind closed doors, German Football League (DFL) chief executive Christian Seifert has revealed.

Germany's top two divisions have been suspended until April 30 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

According to the John Hopkins University, the country has had over 110,000 cases of COVID-19 infection – the fourth most in Europe – with more than 2,100 deaths.

Seifert confirmed to the New York Times plans are being put in place for the Bundesliga and 2. Bundesliga to restart with spectator-free matches next month.

"We are part of the culture in the country, people long to get back a short piece of normal life, and that could mean the Bundesliga plays again," Seifert said.

"This is why we have to play our role here, and that means to support the government and to talk with the government about when we will be able to play again.

"The sooner we are finished, the more flexibility we can provide to the European football landscape."

Seifert also suggested that cancelling the season could put five Bundesliga clubs in serious financial trouble, while half the teams in the second tier would be "very much in danger to file for bankruptcy".

Bayern Munich chief executive Herbert Hainer said he expects the pandemic to lead to a significant reduction in transfer fees. Seifert believes a full collapse is on the cards.

"In the short term, I would say the transfer market this summer will not exist, it will collapse," he said.

"Some agents will suddenly understand that they will have to work hard, or at least work; some leagues will understand that money is nothing that is coming automatically every month from heaven."

Premier League stars have announced the creation of a charity fund to help health services in the United Kingdom during the coronavirus pandemic.

Players including Liverpool and Manchester United captains Jordan Henderson and Harry Maguire confirmed the plans in a social media statement on Tuesday.

The announcement comes after UK health secretary Matt Hancock had urged the highest-paid footballers in the country to "play their part" in helping key services during the COVID-19 crisis.

Those comments attracted criticism from some in the sport, including United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who said it was unfair to paint players as an easy target while discussions about contributions to health services and charities were ongoing.

The statement said: "Over the course of the last week we, as a group of Premier League players, have held numerous talks together with the vision of creating a contribution fund that can be used to distribute money to where it's needed most in this COVID-19 crisis; helping those fighting for us on the NHS frontline as well as other key areas of need. This is a critical time for our country and for our NHS, and we are determined to help in any way that we can.

"We can confirm that after extensive conversations between a huge number of players from all Premier League clubs we have created our own collective player initiative, #PlayersTogether, and have partnered with NHS Charities Together (NHSCT) in order to assist them in generating and distributing funds quickly and efficiently to where they are needed most.

"NHSCT is the national umbrella organisation for over 150 registered charities, working closely with the Charity Commission, Department of Health and Social Care, and NHS England to represent, champion, and support the NHS' official charities. NHSCT are the official charity partner of the NHS nationally.

"The contributions that this initiative will generate will help NHSCT quickly grant funds to the front line to support in a number of ways, including to help enhance the well-being of NHS staff, volunteers and patients impacted by COVID-19 as well as helping them in their work supporting many other critical areas of need both now and in the longer term.

"#PlayersTogether is about we, as players, collaborating together to create a voluntary initiative, separate to any other club and league conversations, that can help get much needed funds to those that need it right now. To try and help, along with so many others in the country, make a real difference.

"Our prayers and thoughts go out to everybody affected by this crisis. By sticking together, we will get through this."

Fabian Cancellara has questioned whether the Tour de France will be able to start a month later than scheduled amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Tour organisers are reportedly considering moving the beginning of the most prestigious Grand Tour race back from June 27 to July 25.

Staging the event without crowds had been talked of, but that option is said to have been ruled out.

Retired four-time world time trial champion Cancellara believes putting the Grand Depart in Nice back by just a month may be unrealistic.

Asked about a Tour with no spectators, the Swiss told Stats Perform: "For sure, the riders want to race and people at home want to watch a bike race.

"But you still have people there that want to see the riders on the road. I think the Tour de France is the last big sporting event that hasn't been cancelled or postponed, but they've been having a lot of discussion.

"What will come? They have potential possibilities – I think the start of end of July and then finish off August 16. But in the end, no one knows what is in two months and what is good that day.

"They said they will wait until the middle of May, which is still a month to go. In one month, a lot of things can happen, a lot of new regulations might come."

He added: "But even if they say they can do it, what's with the other bike riders? They are home. They have certain regulations. Can people travel? Do they allow them to travel?

"Cycling is not just a French race of French people on the Tour de France. Cycling is a global sport. So, people from Spain, Portugal, people from Italy, from Austria, Germany, from Belgium, from Switzerland, Holland...

"From Denmark, from Norway, cycling is from everywhere. That's why I'm quite curious how this is going to be managed."

It remains to be seen if the Giro d'Italia will take place this year after it was postponed last month, but Cancellara thinks it is too early to make a decision on the Vuelta a Espana, which is due to get under way on August 14.

The double Olympic gold medallist said: "To cancel it, I honestly think it's too early. I think they have to work on some solutions with a Plan A and B or C.

"And the Giro, of course, if you look at the calendar, if from August things will go on slightly, then I don't know where is the space. Who will make the space? So, what will be is we have the regulation routes, the political aspect.

"And we have to see the economy situation towards all those races because there is a calendar and you just can't cancel or [make] too many changes off the calendar because all the other events that are being held in August, September, October, they have fixed dates.

"They've been working for it. And just the big one comes and want to have space. It's not so easy. That's why there are a lot of discussions for sure at the UCI in Switzerland with the organisers of the Giro.

"And like every cycling event, everyone tries to find the best possibilities to go on. So, it's a quite complex situation."

Real Madrid have announced that players and coaches from their football and basketball squads have agreed to a pay cut during the coronavirus pandemic.

Directors at the club have also accepted to voluntary reductions in pay for 2019-20, with all professional sport in Spain on hold as the country remains in a state of alarm.

The wage reductions will be between 10 and 20 per cent "depending on the circumstances that may affect the closing of the 2019-20 season", the club said in a statement.

"This decision, taken by players, coaches and employees, avoids traumatic measures that affect the rest of the workers, as well as contributing to the economic objectives of the entity in view of the decrease in income that it is suffering these months as a result of the suspension of competitions and the paralysis of a large part of its commercial activities.

"The club's business committee strongly supports this decision, which it considers responsible and exemplary.

"Real Madrid is proud of all those who make up this great family and of its unwavering culture of values, which is especially valuable in difficult times such as these.

"In the same way, Real Madrid, its members and fans, want to show all their love and solidarity to those who have suffered the direct consequences of this disease that is hitting us all, especially those who have lost a family member or loved one.

"The club wishes a quick recovery to all the sick people and wants to transmit its deepest gratitude to all the people who are playing an essential, exemplary and solidary role in the fight against COVID-19.

"From Real Madrid, we offer all our support and strength with the conviction that together we will overcome, without a doubt, this difficult moment."

Madrid's pay reduction is lower than those adopted by Atletico Madrid and Barcelona, whose players agreed to 70 per cent cuts to wages to soften the financial impact on their clubs during the coronavirus crisis and ensure other members of staff could still be paid in full.

At the start of the month, it was reported by AS that Madrid were holding off from drastic cost-cutting measures as the board considered the club's financial position to be strong enough to withstand the initial impact of the pandemic.

Zinedine Zidane's side were two points behind LaLiga leaders Barcelona at the top of the table when Spanish football was suspended in March.

The Coronavirus pandemic has forced the world of sports into a standstill and as a consequence, has significantly impacted the ability of athletes to earn a living.

The 2021 World Athletics Championships have been moved back to 2022 to accommodate the rescheduled Tokyo Olympic Games, governing body World Athletics has confirmed.

Last month, the International Olympic Committee elected to move Tokyo 2020 back 12 months in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

That announcement was made possible after World Athletics confirmed its willingness to move its own event and the championships originally slated for August 6-15 next year will now take place between July 15-24 next year, with Oregon still the location.

The new date has been selected so as not to clash with the Commonwealth Games and European Championships, with World Athletics president Sebastian Coe enthused by the exposure that will be generated for athletics during six weeks of back-to-back international competitions.

"This will be a bonanza for athletics fans around the world," he said in a statement.

"They will be treated to six weeks of absolutely first-class athletics. 

"More than 70 of our member federations are part of the Commonwealth and more than 50 of our member federations are European so our guiding principle in rescheduling the World Championships was to ensure enough space was created around the centrepiece World Athletics Championship for athletes to choose other major events to compete in.

"We were also very mindful that we did not want to damage the other major championships in 2022, because they are also very important to our sport."

Sadio Mane would "understand" if the 2019-20 season was scrapped due to the coronavirus pandemic, even though Liverpool are just two wins away from claiming the title.

The Reds have been champions-in-waiting for some time, having taken 79 points from 29 games to open up a 25-point lead over Manchester City.

Yet the Premier League, like the vast majority of competitions across the world, has been halted due to restrictions designed to limit the spread of COVID-19.

It remains to be seen when, or even if, the Premier League will return as the hiatus has extended past the beginning of May already.

However, Mane insists there are bigger concerns given over 83,000 people have died after contracting coronavirus worldwide.

Asked if he felt like a champion already, Mane told talkSPORT: "I think not yet. I love my job and I love football, I want to win on the pitch.

"I want to win the games and I want to get the trophy, it's what I would love.

"But with this situation, whatever happens I will understand.

"It has been difficult for Liverpool, but it has been more difficult for many millions of people around the world. Some people have lost family members and that is the more complicated situation.

"But for myself, it's my dream and I want to win it this year.

"If that's not the case, I will accept. It's part of life. Hopefully we will win it next year."

Some - such as Manchester United's Luke Shaw - have suggested the Premier League should be voided if the season cannot resume.

However, UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin said earlier this week he sees "no way" in which Liverpool could be denied the title.

The Reds have not won a top-flight championship since 1989-90, prior to the inception of the Premier League.

Tiger Woods may have to wait to host the Masters Champions Dinner, but that did not stop him donning the green jacket to eat with his family on Tuesday.

The Masters was due to begin at Augusta this week, but the coronavirus pandemic meant the major was suspended and will likely now take place in November.

Prior to each Masters, the previous year's winner has the honour of deciding what is on the menu at the annual Champions Dinner.

On the night when Woods had been due to host the dinner, the five-time Masters winner uploaded a photo on social media of him wearing the green jacket preparing to eat alongside his family and two dogs.

"Masters Champions Dinner quarantine style," he wrote. "Nothing better than being with family."

Woods explained that his Masters Champions Dinner was due to consist of steak and chicken fajitas, along with sushi and sashimi, with milkshakes the desert of choice.

"Being born and raised in SoCal, having fajitas and sushi was a part of my entire childhood, and I'm going back to what I had in 2006," Woods had told the PGA Tour's website.

"So we'll have steak and chicken fajitas, and we'll have sushi and sashimi out on the deck, and I hope the guys will enjoy it."

The Royal Dutch Football Association (KNVB) is hoping Eredivisie can resume on June 19 amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The league was suspended last month with Ajax top of the table but level on points with AZ.

After conference calls on Tuesday, the KNVB revealed it was hoping to complete competitions in June and July, starting on June 19, but will know more during the week of April 24.

It said terminating competitions – and the consequences of those decisions – had not yet been considered.

"Many things are still open, due to external factors, circumstances and conditions from government, UEFA and FIFA," a KNVB statement read.

"These developments will be anticipated as soon as possible. We will do this in consultation with the people and bodies with whom we have been in close consultation today.

"And even then the focus will be on completing the competitions, although we are well aware that this will be a different task."

The Netherlands has reported more than 19,500 cases of coronavirus, with its death toll exceeding 2,100.

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