The 2020 Open Championship has been cancelled because of the cornavirus pandemic.

The 149th edition of the major was due to start at Royal St George's on July 16.

However, the course in Sandwich will have to wait until 2021 to host the event due to a virus that has killed nearly 5,000 people in the United Kingdom.

St Andrews will be the venue for the 150th Open in 2022.

"I can assure everyone that we have explored every option for playing The Open this year but it is not going to be possible," R&A chief executive Martin Slumbers said.

"Our absolute priority is to protect the health and safety of the fans, players, officials, volunteers and staff involved in The Open. We care deeply about this historic Championship and have made this decision with a heavy heart.

"We appreciate that this will be disappointing for a great many people around the world but we have to act responsibly during this pandemic and it is the right thing to do.

"There are many different considerations that go into organising a major sporting event of this scale. We rely on the support of the emergency services, local authorities and a range of other organisations to stage the Championship and it would be unreasonable to place any additional demands on them when they have far more urgent priorities to deal with.

"In recent weeks we have been working closely with those organisations as well as Royal St George's, St Andrews Links Trust and the other golf bodies to resolve the remaining external factors and have done so as soon as we possibly could. We are grateful to all of them for their assistance and co-operation throughout this process.

"Most of all I would like to thank our fans around the world and all of our partners for their support and understanding.

"At a difficult time like this we have to recognise that sport must stand aside to let people focus on keeping themselves and their families healthy and safe. We are committed to supporting our community in the weeks and months ahead and will do everything in our power to help golf come through this crisis."

The Masters and US PGA Championship were postponed last month but there is said to be hope those events, along with the U.S. Open at Winged Foot, can be contested later in the year.

Shane Lowry, winner at Royal Portrush last year, will hold on to the Claret Jug as a result of the cancellation.

In a post on Twitter, Lowry wrote: "Obviously I'm disappointed that I won't get to defend the Open Championship this year but I feel the R&A have made the right decisions based on people's health and safety. See you all in Royal St George's in 2021."

 

 

Pep Guardiola's mother has died aged 82 after contracting coronavirus, Manchester City have confirmed.

Dolors Sala Carrio passed away in Barcelona on Monday, with the club releasing a statement on their official Twitter account.

It read: "The Manchester City family are devastated to report the death today of Pep's mother Dolors Sala Carrio in Manresa, Barcelona after contracting coronavirus. She was 82 years old.

"Everyone associated with the club sends their most heartfelt sympathy at this most distressing time to Pep, his family and all their friends."

Guardiola was reported to have returned home to Spain before the country was put on lockdown in an attempt to curb the spread of COVID-19.

He made a €1million donation to the Angel Soler Daniel Foundation last month, with a view to boosting investment in medical equipment in Catalonia.

Spain has been affected by COVID-19 more than any other European country, with over 135,000 confirmed cases as of Monday.

More than 13,000 people have lost their lives after contracting the virus, which emerged in China late last year.

England's Football Association (FA) has announced up to 30 per cent temporary pay cuts for its highest earners and proposed staff paid more than £50,000 yearly accept a reduction to mitigate financial issues caused the coronavirus pandemic.

COVID-19 has claimed the lives of over 70,000 people worldwide since its emergence in China late last year, impacting everyday life for almost everyone on the planet.

Top-level sport has consequently been interrupted and the knock-on effect of that is financial strain on leagues, clubs and governing bodies.

Some Premier League clubs have taken advantage of the United Kingdom government's furlough scheme, which allows members of the workforce affected by the pandemic to claim 80 per cent of their wages – up to £2,500 a month – from the state.

The FA is yet to follow suit, with the likes of Tottenham and Liverpool attracting widespread criticism for using the scheme, instead proposing staff earning more than £50,000 a year accept a reduction of 7.5 per cent, while the highest earners – including the likes of England manager Gareth Southgate – face a cut of up to 30 per cent as the organisation predicts a financial impact that could exceed £150million.

A statement from FA CEO Mark Bullingham read: "We've taken an immediate and significant financial impact due to the postponement of England internationals, FA Cup matches and Wembley events, and there is currently no clear timescale on when they will return.

"The total financial impact is currently forecast to be around £100m, but it could easily exceed £150m depending on the duration of the government's necessary medical measures.

"Along with many other organisations across the country, we are currently reviewing our financial model during this challenging period. We want to take prudent and appropriate steps to help protect and support the FA and our employees during this unpredictable time.

"We are proposing that all employees earning £50,000 or more per annum will take a temporary pay reduction of 7.5 per cent. In the spirit of those on higher salaries taking the greater responsibility, the senior management team have agreed to cut their pay by 15 per cent with the highest earners in the organisation agreeing to reduce their pay by up to 30 per cent.

"We are also looking into what options are available to us through the government's furlough scheme as a contingency plan, while we continue to plan for the return of football, once it is safe to do so.

"These are extraordinary and challenging times and we do not take these decisions lightly. However, as an organisation we will support each other as best we can."

Buffalo Bills fans who donate to a local coronavirus fund will enter a prize draw to be on the phone when their first draft pick is called in later this month.

Bills general manager Brandon Beane has encouraged fans to follow his lead after donating $20,000 to an effort set up for organisations impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

As an incentive to encourage people to contribute to the WNY COVID-19 Community Response Fund, the Bills are offering numerous prizes.

One winner will be on the phone with Beane when he calls in the Bills' first selection in the 2020 NFL Draft, which is due to be the 54th overall pick in the second round.

Beane has also offered to host a lunch, take part in a one-to-one Zoom question-and-answer session and bring a fan to a Bills practice session.

Game tickets and an autographed Josh Allen jersey are some of the other prizes on offer.

"I thought with the draft coming up in a few weeks, that this would be a nice distraction for people who are going through tough times right now," Beane said.

"We know how enthusiastic Bills fans are, so I'm just trying to find a way to engage them and to open up opportunities that fans don't have access to generally and to inspire them to get involved."

He added: "We're a community that's blue-collar. We're going to all work together and get through this.

"While we're facing a worldwide pandemic, we must start relief efforts in our area first. What better way to get our fans involved? We've seen how passionate they are from their work with other charitable groups."

Bayern Munich players made their return to training in small groups at Sabener Strasse on Monday.

Amid the coronavirus pandemic, the club's return to training is in line with the German Football League's (DFL) recommendation that teams took a break until April 5.

The Bundesliga was suspended on March 13 initially until April 2, but a meeting of clubs on March 31 extended the suspension to April 30 at the earliest.

Bayern will be training in the meantime, though they have asked fans to stay away from the club facilities as the players return to work.

Ahead of the session, which began in glorious sunshine, the club confirmed they would follow strict guidelines on hygiene and the distance kept between players.

"This will be done in coordination with government policy and the relevant authorities," read their statement on Sunday.

"It goes without saying that all hygiene regulations will be strictly observed."

Bayern are top of the Bundesliga table, four points clear of second-placed Borussia Dortmund.

 

The Trophee Hassan II has been postponed and the Scandinavian Mixed cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, the European Tour announced on Monday.

Rabat was due to host the Trophee Hassan II and the Lalla Meryem Cup on the Ladies European Tour concurrently from June 4-7, but the tournaments have been pushed back.

The inaugural Scandinavian Mixed, which was to be hosted by major champions Henrik Stenson and Annika Sorenstam from June 11-14, has been called off.

The event would have seen men and women go head-to-head for the first time, competing for one prize fund and one trophy. It will instead begin on the 2021 schedule.

European Tour chief executive Keith Pelley said: "We will continue to monitor the global situation in relation to coronavirus and evaluate its impact on all our tournaments, with public health and well-being our absolute priority.

"We thank all stakeholders involved in Trophee Hassan II and the Scandinavian Mixed – including His Royal Highness Prince Moulay Rachid and the Hassan II Trophy Association, the Ladies European Tour and Henrik Stenson and Annika Sorenstam.

"Discussions regarding the possible rescheduling of all postponed tournaments will remain ongoing until we have clarity on the global situation."

Reports last week claimed a revised calendar was close to being agreed that would see three major championships and a Ryder Cup contested in the space of four months.

Premier League clubs, players and owners "should be thinking very carefully about their next steps" as the row over pay continues, says United Kingdom culture secretary Oliver Dowden.

Football in England has been placed on hold indefinitely due to the coronavirus pandemic and the Professional Footballers' Association (PFA) did not agree to a proposed wage reduction of 30 per cent during a meeting with Premier League stakeholders on Saturday.

The PFA claimed the loss of tax contributions would adversely affect government-funded services, with chief executive Gordon Taylor insisting players simply want clarification on where any money they sacrifice will go.

Health secretary Matt Hancock placed pressure on footballers to do their bit as Premier League sides Newcastle United, Tottenham, Norwich City, Bournemouth and Liverpool put non-playing staff on furlough.

However, Wayne Rooney, Gary Neville and Gary Lineker have been among the high-profile figures stating it is unfair for players to be singled out during the debate over salary reductions.

Dowden warned the public "will take a very dim view" if footballers and owners do not make a sizeable sacrifice while those with less financial resources struggle.

"We're all missing the drama of sport right now, but this weekend we saw news on the back pages return for all the wrong reasons," he wrote in The Telegraph.

"Given how central sport is to British life, it's perhaps no surprise that its contribution to the coronavirus battle is under the microscope.

"But the deadlock between the Professional Footballers' Association and Premier League clubs on player wage cuts is deeply concerning, especially at a time when more clubs have announced they are furloughing many of their lowest paid staff.

"Players and managers are able to reach people in ways politicians can only dream of. In times such as these, people will look to football for leadership and they have a right to expect it.

"So clubs, players and owners should be thinking very carefully about their next steps.

"Leaving the public purse to pick up the cost of furloughing low paid workers, whilst players earn millions and billionaire owners go untouched is something I know the public will rightly take a very dim view of.

"At a time of national crisis, our national sport must play its part. I expect to see the football authorities judge the mood of the country and come together with an agreement urgently."

Dowden highlighted Marcus Rashford's work to raise money for children relying on free school meals and the fact Harry Maguire and Trent Alexander-Arnold urged members of the public to follow government advice and stay at home.

"It's especially important that a disagreement over players' wages doesn't undermine all the good work that sport - including football - is doing to help the government's efforts to tackle coronavirus," Dowden continued.

"I have the privilege of representing many brilliant industries, but sport was the first to knock on my door with a long list of offers to support the NHS, to help the most vulnerable in our country and keep families occupied and healthy at home.

"Millions of us have benefited from individual sports men and women offering to do their bit."

He concluded: "Sport is vital to Britain's sense of self. It will help us cope with the most difficult times and when, and only when, the time is right and it is safe to do so, the return of live sport will lift the nation like nothing else could.

"And when we are through this and live sport brings us that joy once more, the sector should be able to look back knowing that it too played its part."

Bayern Munich defender David Alaba called the suggestion that a COVID-19 vaccine should be trialled first in Africa as "a kind of racism I could never imagine".

During a debate on television channel LCI last Wednesday about plans to see if a tuberculosis vaccine would be effective against coronavirus by trialling it in Europe and Australia, two French doctors sparked controversy.

Jean-Paul Mira, head of intensive care at the Cochin hospital in Paris, and Camille Locht, head of research at the Inserm health research group, suggested the method should first be tested in Africa.

Former Ivory Coast striker Didier Drogba and ex-Cameroon attacker Samuel Eto'o spoke out against the comments, with Alaba joining them on social media.

Alaba tweeted: "Trying a #Covid19 [vaccine] in Africa??? Are these two guys doctors or clowns?

"This is a kind of racism I could never imagine. Disgraceful and unacceptable! We all have to stand together and work hand in hand to fight this virus."

Africa is the continent that has been least affected by the coronavirus pandemic, but the total number of cases reported has now exceeded 9,000, with 444 people dead.

Nick Kyrgios has vowed to help anyone who has fallen on hard times due to the coronavirus crisis by delivering food to their doorstep.

Australian world number 40 Kyrgios on Monday took to Instagram to offer his support for those struggling during the COVID-19 pandemic.

He wrote: "If ANYONE is not working/not getting an income and runs out of food, or times are just tough...please don't go to sleep with an empty stomach.

"Don't be afraid or embarrassed to send me a private message. I will be more than happy to share what I have. Even just for a box of noodles, a load of bread or milk.

"I will drop it off at your doorstep, no questions asked."

Unemployment is expected to soar in Australia following as a result of such unprecedented times, with businesses forced to close.

Kyrgios also played a huge part in raising funds for the bushfire crisis in his homeland earlier this year.

Gordon Taylor insists Premier League players are not stupid in the row over pay cuts amid the coronavirus pandemic and described the intervention by health secretary Matt Hancock as "astonishing".

Hancock last week urged top-flight players in England to do their part and doubled down on his comments in an interview on Sunday.

Wayne Rooney, Gary Neville and Gary Lineker have been among the high-profile figures stating it is unfair for footballers to be singled out during the debate over salary reductions.

Professional Footballers' Association (PFA) chief executive Taylor was shocked by Hancock and insists players are simply demanding clarification on where any money they sacrifice will go.

His comments came after the PFA pointed out the loss of tax contributions that will occur if players agree with the Premier League's proposal for a 30 per cent pay cut.

Taylor told the Telegraph: "I found it astonishing that Matt Hancock could come out like that when he's got his own issues with trying to get the necessary protective health equipment for our NHS workers and didn't have the tests in place either.

"I think if they [the clubs] can't do that [provide details on where the money will go] and explain the position fully then they have every right to expect players to mistrust what is happening."

On whether players were concerned about that point specifically, Taylor added: "Exactly that. They want the complete due diligence. 

"They're not stupid. They've not just got their brains in their feet. They want to know the reasons for it and where it's going."

Phoenix Suns star Devin Booker and the Cleveland Cavaliers' Andrew Drummond reached the quarter-finals of the NBA 2K20 charity tournament on Sunday.

With the NBA postponed amid the coronavirus pandemic, a charity tournament has been put together to raise money in support of COVID-19 relief efforts.

Winner of the single-elimination Xbox One tournament will receive $100,000 to give to charity, and Brooklyn Nets superstar Kevin Durant – the top seed – was a high-profile casualty on Friday.

Fifth seed Booker defeated Michael Porter Jr. of the Denver Nuggets 85-75 in the opening round, while sixth seed Drummond crushed former Golden State Warriors center DaMarcus Cousins 101-49.

Rui Hachimura of the Washington Wizards topped Utah Jazz All-Star Donovan Mitchell 74-71 and Los Angeles Clippers center Montrezl Harrell eased past Indiana Pacers star Domantas Sabonis 73-51.

The quarters are now set, with Harrell to meet Miami Heat forward Derrick Jones Jr., who stunned Durant on Friday.

Booker will play Hachimura, Atlanta Hawks star Trae Young takes on Suns center Deandre Ayton and Drummond goes head-to-head against Clippers guard Patrick Beverley.

The tournament – being aired on ESPN – will continue on Tuesday and conclude on Saturday.

Former Barcelona star Hristo Stoichkov believes it would be fairer to end the LaLiga now, scrap relegation and promote two teams from the second division amid the coronavirus pandemic.

LaLiga has been postponed indefinitely due to COVID-19, which has led to more than 12,640 deaths in Spain and over 69,450 globally.

Reigning champions Barcelona held a two-point lead over bitter rivals Real Madrid when the league was stopped, while Cadiz and Real Zaragoza occupied the promotion places in Segunda Division.

Stoichkov – who won five LaLiga titles and a European Cup among other honours during his time at Camp Nou – feels Barca should be crowned champions if no more games are played in 2019-20.

"If we see how the situation is, with the matches which have been played, it would be fairer to end the La Liga season as it is now," Stoichkov told Cope program Tiempo de Juego.

"Many teams could stay up at the bottom, there are a lot of matches left.

"They could leave the league as it is, have no relegation and the top two from Segunda could get promoted to have a 22 team league. Because they have also done a lot of work to win many matches."

Australian Open semi-finalist and German star Alexander Zverev suspects he contracted coronavirus in December.

COVID-19 has wreaked havoc across the world, with more than 69,300 deaths globally and sport brought to a standstill.

All ATP and WTA tournaments have been called off until mid-July, with Wimbledon cancelled, due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Zverev produced his best grand slam performance at the Australian Open, where he reached the semi-finals in January, and the 22-year-old believes he may have been infected prior to the year's opening major in Melbourne.

"My friend Brenda and I were in China on December 28," the world number seven told Bild.

"You can't imagine how I coughed for a month in Australia. I had a fever for two or three days and I coughed for five or six hours. Brenda too. We didn't know what it was. It was a cough that I never had. I had no pain, but I coughed continuously every 10 seconds.

"I had no pain, but I coughed continuously every ten seconds."

Hellas Verona president Maurizio Setti said Italy is in a "war-like situation" as Serie A clubs try to strike a deal with players amid the coronavirus crisis.

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought sport to a standstill – the 2019-20 Serie A season has been suspended since last month, with the most recent match on March 9.

There have been more than 69,300 deaths globally, with over 15,880 of those in Italy, a country which has the highest amount of fatalities in the world.

Amid negotiations with the Italian Players' Association (AIC) over player salaries during the league postponement, Setti told Sky Sport Italia: "Our position is very simple.

"We are in a war-like situation, so we need to sit around a table with calm, intelligence and openness, finding a solution that satisfies both parties.

"What's happening is immensely damaging for the whole world of football, so I trust there will be no problems finding a deal with my players, who are good people."

Serie A clubs could be allowed to finish the 2019-20 season as late as October, according to Italian Football Federation (FIGC) president Gabriele Gravina.

Gravina said the proposed date of May 17 to restart Serie A remains a possibility, but he insisted it would be best to allow 2019-20 to finish much later this year if necessary, rather than declare the season cancelled.

"I hope to play again this season," Setti added. "Finishing the campaign would be a way also of giving joy to the population, because the Italian people are so in love with this sport.

"I hope that we can get the campaign concluded and be able to close this chapter to slowly get back to normality."

 

Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay is donating 10,000 N95 masks to distribute amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Irsay made the announcement via Twitter on Sunday, with the masks to be donated to Indiana State Department of Health.

The 60-year-old wrote: "We must fight and fight WE MUST! We must win and WIN WE MUST! We must fight for, protect, Inspire and pray for every Hoosier that draws a breath in faith or in doubt!

"In UNITY NOTHING can defeat us! HOOSIER POWER AND UNITY......#AmericanLiberty."

COVID-19 is wreaking havoc globally, with more than 69,300 deaths and over 1, 200,300 confirmed cases.

In the United States, the death count has exceeded 9,500, while confirmed cases have climbed above 334,700.

Coronavirus has brought sport to a standstill across the world, including the NBA, NHL and MLB.

However, the NFL is hopeful the 2020 season will get underway as scheduled in September.

 

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