Ryder Cup captains Steve Stricker and Padraig Harrington have issued an open letter paying tribute to those "on the front line" of the fight against coronavirus.

The biennial tournament is one of the few major sporting events this year still scheduled to go ahead on its original date, with Wisconsin's Whistling Straits the host venue in September.

But Team USA skipper Stricker and European counterpart Harrington recognise the world has very different priorities as COVID-19 continues to claim lives across the planet.

On Tuesday, the duo published a letter in which they heaped praise on healthcare professionals and other key workers who are leading the battle against the virus and its wider societal impact.

"When Europe takes on the United States in the Ryder Cup it is always fiercely contested but it is just golf. It is not a matter of life and death," the letter read. "Fighting coronavirus is.

"As Ryder Cup Captains, we proudly represent all the players, caddies, staff and partners of the European Tour and PGA of America and we speak on behalf of every single one of them when we say that our thoughts and prayers are with everyone who has been affected.

"We also speak for them when we say that we are all moved by the incredible determination, passion and spirit we are witnessing from our health professionals, key workers and everyone else on the front line in this battle. We are all indebted to the incredible work they are all doing.

"Last week, some of the world's leading golfers featured in a social media video thanking our heroes. We want to take this opportunity to reiterate our sincere gratitude to all of you once more.

"For them, we urge everyone to please stay safe, stay healthy and stay home. And stay united."

The Canadian Grand Prix has become the ninth race of the Formula One 2020 season to be called off due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Organisers confirmed in a statement on Tuesday that they were "saddened" to make the decision, with the date in Montreal having been earmarked as a possible opening race for an altered calendar this year.

The race at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve had been due to take place on June 14.

The announcement came as the FIA confirmed the sport's shutdown period would be extended by a further two weeks.

"This postponement was not a decision that was taken lightly or easily," race organisers said. "Over the past month, we have been in constant communication with Formula 1 and representatives from the city of Montreal, Tourism Montreal and both provincial and federal governments.

"We have heard the directives issued by public health officials and as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic are following the expert guidance provided by the authorities.

"Our thoughts and most sincere thanks go to the men and women working tirelessly to keep us healthy, safe and fed during these uncertain times."

Francois Dumontier, president and CEO of the Canadian Grand Prix, added: "I am proud to see how such wonderful initiatives and technical advancements stemming from Formula One are being applied in a time of crisis. At the moment it is crucial that all of our energies be put together to overcome COVID-19.

"We will welcome you with open arms to Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve as soon as it is safe to do so."

Chase Carey, Chairman and CEO of Formula One, said: "We have been working closely with our friends at the Canadian Grand Prix over the past few weeks and support them in taking this necessary decision to ensure the safety of fans and the F1 community.

"We always look forward to travelling to the incredible city of Montreal and while we will all have to wait a bit longer, we will put on a great show when we arrive later this year."

Fans have been told pre-purchased tickets will remain valid while an alternative date for the race is considered.

The French Grand Prix, scheduled for June 26, is now the next race on the 2020 calendar that has not yet been rescheduled.

Player contracts could be extended and the transfer window moved under recommendations made by FIFA to mitigate the huge disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

With most football across the planet on indefinite lockdown amid the spread of COVID-19, the game's global governing body put together a taskforce aimed at tackling some of the most pressing issues.

Among them was the matter of player contracts, which generally coincide with the calendar of the season, meaning many professionals will see their terms expire before the delayed 2019-20 campaign can be completed.

FIFA has recommended extending contracts, which would in turn delay the initiation of any terms that would have come into force at the start of next season.

Furthermore, the body said it would be "flexible" with regards to the dates of the next transfer window for respective leagues, such that they can still fall between the end of this season and the start of the next.

President Gianni Infantino hopes the proposals will "serve to bring a measure of stability and clarity to football for the foreseeable future".

A statement explained: "Expiring player contracts usually end when the season ends, with a termination date that coincides with the end of the season.

"With the current suspension of play in most countries, it is now obvious that the current season will not end when people thought it would.

"Therefore, it is proposed that contracts be extended until such time that the season does actually end.

"This should be in line with the original intention of the parties when the contract was signed and should also preserve sporting integrity and stability.

"A similar principle applies to contracts due to begin when the new season starts, meaning the entry into force of such contracts is delayed until the next season actually does start.

"With regard to transfer windows, again, it is necessary to adjust the normal regulatory position to the new factual circumstances.

"Accordingly, FIFA will be flexible and will allow the relevant transfer windows to be moved so they fall between the end of the old season and the start of the new season."

Infantino added: "We hope that this collaborative effort, under the leadership of FIFA, can provide a positive example of how football can come together and show unity, solidarity and a spirit of compromise in order to face the challenging times ahead.

"But before these times come, one thing must be clear to everyone, especially now: health comes first, well before football."

Major League Baseball insists it has not settled on any plans for how to begin the 2020 season, amid reports the league had set its sights on starting in May with all 30 teams playing games in Arizona in empty stadiums.

ESPN reported that games would be held in the greater Phoenix area and take place at Chase Field, the home of the Arizona Diamondbacks, as well as 10 spring training facilities and possibly other nearby fields.

Players, coaches and other team officials would be isolated in local hotels and only travel to and from the stadium sites in an effort to avoid spreading coronavirus.

Federal officials reportedly support the plan that would allow MLB to become the first professional sport in the United States to return, but the league issued a statement on Tuesday saying nothing has been decided.

"MLB has been actively considering numerous contingency plans that would allow play to commence once the public health situation has improved to the point that it is safe to do so," the statement said.

"While we have discussed the idea of staging games at one location as one potential option, we have not settled on that option or developed a detailed plan.

"While we continue to interact regularly with governmental and public health officials, we have not sought or received approval of any plan from federal, state and local officials, or the Players' Association.

"We are not ready at this time to endorse any particular format for staging games in light of the rapidly changing public health situation caused by the coronavirus."

MLB pushed back the start of the season from March 26 until at least mid-May and suspended spring training games on March 12 following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's recommendation not to conduct events of 50 or more people for a minimum of eight weeks.

LaLiga players have been told it should be "normal" for them to have their salaries reduced because everyone else is being impacted financially by the coronavirus pandemic.

With elite European football at a standstill due to COVID-19, much debate has surrounded the topic of player wages and whether or not their salaries should be reduced while no fixtures are taking place in order to save the clubs money and protect the livelihoods of less wealthy non-playing staff.

Serie A clubs have voted unanimously to implement cuts of up to a third of players' yearly wages, while some teams from other countries around Europe are making their own decisions on the matter, with Atletico Madrid confirming players had accepted a 70 per cent reduction.

Atletico's stance is by no means a standard in LaLiga, but league president Javier Tebas thinks some form of sacrifice should be made across the board and believes that will be achieved in the coming days.

"We are in a moment of exceptional, unpredictable, and enormous-impact crisis," he said in a teleconference with foreign media on Tuesday.

"Everyone loses money, it seems normal to me that players' salaries are also reduced. In Spain we did not find an agreement with the union, our negotiations ran aground yesterday [Monday].

"At the moment, eight LaLiga clubs [across the first and second divisions] have requested ERTE [Temporary Employment Regulation File], but in the next few days all our teams will activate salary reduction protocols, either through ERTE or with individual agreements with their players.

"Spanish football does not intend to resort to state aid, we must be economically independent."

Tebas also confirmed LaLiga's desire to resume the season – if possible – on the final weekend of May, meaning the campaign would likely extend beyond June 30.

While that would be problematic in terms of the next transfer window and the expirations of some contracts or loans at the end of June, Tebas is confident modifications will be possible.

"It will be necessary to alter the contracts of the players that expire on June 30, as well as the various loan agreements," he said. "It is not simple, but not so complicated. I think that the players will agree and that the different leagues will find a solution that complies with general regulations.

"It is clear that the current transfer window dates, from July 1 to September 1, will not be suitable and should be changed, but I can't say much more.

"We will have to see the recommendations of FIFA and adjust the market to the current conditions generated by the coronavirus, which are decidedly exceptional."

Siya Kolisi says it is vital Nelson Mandela's legacy continues as the South Africa captain opened up on his role in helping the country fight coronavirus.

Kolisi, who skippered the Springboks to Rugby World Cup glory last year, was due to launch his foundation later in 2020.

The outbreak of COVID-19 has launched Kolisi into immediate action and he has partnered with others to make donations to provide vital supplies to frontline medical workers tackling the crisis.

An Instagram post from the flanker's foundation last week explained: "Whilst the Kolisi Foundation was months from launching with different projects in mind, we couldn't ignore the seriousness of COVID-19 so began to focus our energy and resources on supporting our frontline workers – supplying sanitisers and reusable masks. 

"We are thankful that we have been able to lean on our incredible partners to support the project and will look to partner with other established organisations in the future to guarantee our work is as impactful as possible, addressing hunger and other areas close to our heart."

Kolisi said part of his motivation is ensuring the work of former president Mandela continues.

"I just think his legacy must still continue, the rainbow nation he wanted to see,"he told BBC Breakfast.

"Actually working partnering up with the foundation, helping the frontline workers, we're all trying to attack the hunger and help the workers. 

"Just thinking of other people, the way he lived his life, he always wanted to make South Africa better, that's what we're trying to realise to make sure his legacy continues and because we have a beautiful country, so much potential, we can achieve so much. 

"Hopefully can inspire other people too."

Kolisi is drawing on his own experiences of playing as part of a team to aid a country that has had over 1,500 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and has one of the world's strictest lockdowns.

"It's really tough and I think playing in a team squad, this is going to be a team effort from everyone in South Africa and everyone in general, I think everybody has a role to play," he added. 

"It's a time for people to stay at home and not leave our houses, we have a complete lockdown our president has acted swiftly. 

"I think for people who are in a fortunate basis who can help others, food is a big problem at the moment, we're pushing hard on fighting the hunger, making sure people get meals there are a lot kids who go to school just to get one meal.

"I'm trying to provide for that and making sure we help as much as we can."

Richie Mo'unga has apologised and vowed to be a better role model after Crusaders players were slammed for an "unacceptable" breach of coronavirus lockdown regulations.

All Blacks fly-half Mo'unga headed to Malvern Park in Christchurch on Monday to train on his own, but arrived when another two groups of his team-mates were also training.

Malvern Park said he adhered to government rules by keeping his distance, but was filmed throwing a ball to one of his colleagues.

New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern was critical of the quintet, which also included Sione Havili, Isi Tu'ungafasi, George Bower and Andrew Makalio, and New Zealand Rugby Chief executive Mark Robinson said their actions were "unacceptable."

Playmaker Mo'unga said he was acting on instinct by picking up the ball, but said he had not arranged to meet his team-mates - with the other two bubbles permitted to head out with each other as they live together.

He said in a video posted on Instagram: "I want to start by saying this was not an organised training. There were no communications beforehand or the night before to say we should train together.

"It was by coincidence that I rocked up and they were there training, just finishing up their session. My local park is their local park, our training schedules were the same, so we run on the same days and it just happened to be it was the same time.

"As I arrived, I yelled to the boys from afar asking how they were and went about my running session.  As I'd finished one of my running sessions, the ball had been kicked over and instinctively I went and picked the ball up and threw it back to them.

"I will say that was the only interaction I had with them apart from talking to them. It's something that was so instinctive for me to do, to pick the ball up and throw it back to them.

"I didn't think twice about it, it's something that happened fast. It's something that I've learnt that even my natural instincts I need to be more careful of and will be more careful of. 

"It doesn't excuse the fact that there were two other bubbles that were passing the ball around together and it doesn't excuse the fact that I can be a better role model in telling the boys 'look, you guys are done, you guys should head home now'. I am sorry for that.

Colin Mansbridge, chief executive of Super Rugby champions the Crusaders, said he is confident "there wasn't a conscious effort to flout the rules" but lessons must be learned.

The Australian Rugby League Commission (ARLC) has aborted the concept of a radical proposal to scrap the opening two rounds of NRL competition points.

The NRL postponed the 2020 campaign through just two rounds on March 23 amid the coronavirus pandemic, which has halted sport across the globe.

ARLC chairman Peter V'landys is "very confident" the season will resume on June 1 and an Innovations Committee – headed by Wayne Pearce – are exploring radical plans to relaunch the coronavirus-hit campaign.

Among the ideas has been resetting the ladder under a proposal to restart the season with two conferences but Pearce, who will meet with the committee on Thursday, is against the controversial move.

"My personal view is when we get the competition up and running again we should carry the results from the opening two rounds," Pearce told Fox Sports on Tuesday, having flagged the idea on Monday.

"Players have worked extremely hard all off season and clubs have lost players to injuries in those opening two games."

V'landys also dismissed the proposal, telling the Daily Telegraph: "I spoke with Wayne Pearce this morning and we both agreed that it's not going to come under consideration.

"The commission has not considered it and it won't be considering it."

Earlier on Tuesday, Brisbane Broncos chief executive Paul White – whose side won both their games prior to the postponement – told the club's website: "This is not final, so we won't jump ahead too far but what I would say is that our members and sponsors – the whole club in fact – have taken a lot of positivity out of those opening two wins of the season.

"The players and the coaching staff put together a really strong pre-season over a number of months and that was rewarded with two fantastic victories.

"We were undermanned in Townsville but played some great footy to get the result, and similarly we came back home and took on a strong Souths team and got the result there as well.

"They are the kind of wins that you can build a season around, and I know our whole club – the players, staff, members and sponsors – have been buoyed by those results across the uncertain weeks in the wake of the season being suspended."

UFC president Dana White said he is "a day or two away" from securing a private island for international fights amid the coronavirus pandemic.

There have been doubts over UFC 249 due to COVID-19 but the event – which was originally set to be held in Brooklyn on April 18 – will go ahead, with Justin Gaethje replacing Khabib Nurmagomedov as Tony Ferguson's opponent in the interim lightweight championship bout.

Travel restrictions have prevented unbeaten lightweight champion Khabib from entering the United States and Dubai, prompting the Russian superstar to be replaced.

While the location for UFC 249 remains undisclosed, White revealed he is working on a deal for international fighters to compete on a private island.

"I locked this [UFC 249] venue up for two months," White told TMZ. "I have this venue for two months, I'm setting up shop here. We're gonna be pumping out fights every week.

"I have also — I'm a day or two away from securing a private island. I have a private island I've secured. We're getting the infrastructure put in now, so I'm gonna start doing the international fights, too, with international fighters.

"I won't be able to get international fighters, all of them, into the U.S., so I have a private island. I'm going to start flying them all into the private island and doing international fights from there. So as of April 18, the UFC is back up and running."

Despite coronavirus bringing most sport to a standstill, UFC 249 will go ahead behind closed doors but the Association of Ringside Physicians (ARP) called for the indefinite suspension of all combat sports events on Monday.

"Any combat sport taking place during this global pandemic places the athletes, officials, and anyone else involved in the event under unnecessary risk of infection and transmission of COVID-19," ARP's statement read.

"In addition, combat sports athletes often require medical attention after a bout, and we do not wish to see any additional strain on an already overwhelmed medical system."

On medical concerns, White said: "There won't be any fans at this thing. No fans. And everybody is going to be pre-tested, and tested, and tested.

"We're gonna make sure that 100 percent healthy athletes, healthy athletic commission people, healthy judges, referees, my production people, that everybody there is gonna be healthy. We're gonna make sure that everybody is gonna be safe, before, during, and after the fights."

NBA commissioner Adam Silver said the league will not be able to make any decisions about possibly completing the 2019-20 season until May amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The NBA has been suspended since March 11 due to the COVID-19 crisis, which has killed at least 74,600 people worldwide.

Speaking on the NBA's Twitter account on Monday, Silver said there are too many different factors to consider with coronavirus to formulate a potential plan of resuming the campaign.

"Essentially, what I've told my folks over the last week is that we just should just accept that, at least for the month of April, we won't be in a position to make any decisions," Silver said. "And I don't think that necessarily means on May 1 we will be."

Silver said the league is looking at many different scenarios at restarting the season amid the possibility of heading straight into the playoffs when and if the campaign resumes.

But with so many questions regarding coronavirus, it is impossible to make any plans.

"Sitting here today, I know less than I did then [when the league was postponed last month]," he said.

The Italian Footballers' Association (AIC) rejected a proposal from Serie A clubs to cut player wages by up to a third amid the coronavirus pandemic.

On Monday, Serie A clubs voted in favour of temporarily reducing player wages in an attempt to ease the financial strain caused by the COVID-19 crisis.

Italy's top flight was suspended indefinitely last month due to the spread of the virus, and authorities have insisted they will not even consider resuming action until it is safe to do so.

With Serie A's hiatus impacting clubs financially, league-wide pay cuts for players and coaching staff had been mooted, however the AIC slammed the proposal.

"The AIC Board of Directors, meeting today for their usual weekly meeting, which was followed by a meeting with the representatives of the Serie A teams, deemed the proposal put forward by Lega Serie A and B to be inadmissible," the statement read.

"The behaviour of the leagues is incomprehensible at a time like this. The desire, not so much implied, of wanting to dump on the players, putting them in a bad light, the economic damage resulting from the crisis situation, is a fact that makes you reconsider the entrepreneurial credibility of those who should be ferrying the football system at this difficult time.

"To think that a resolution from an assembly meeting must be used to decide not to pay players any longer leaves us speechless.

"The same Presidents who would like a suspension of salaries sent their teams out to play until March 9, made them train until mid-March and still monitor and control individual training carried out according to the directives of their coaches.

"The discussion of the past few weeks focused on the contestation of remaining payments to be suspended or postponed, but it never went beyond short telephone calls.

"Now we understand why no agreement was sought on the technical changes to the Collective Agreement. The real intention [of clubs] is not to pay. It leaves us stunned, given that several teams are already sitting with their players, to discuss how to help each other at a time like this."

AIC president Damiano Tommasi said: "If the Serie A clubs have to meet at an assembly meeting to say they won't pay wages when in reality, face to face with the players, individual clubs are looking for common-sense agreements, it's very worrying.

"I can't understand the business logic behind this behaviour: putting the players, the main protagonists, in a bad light, when almost everyone else is already discussing with clubs how to get out of this crisis together. It seems crazy to me."

Vice-president Umberto Calcagno added: "It is a shameful and inadmissible proposal. It is clear the indication that we want to pay only the players for any damage caused by the crisis. 

"The only relevant part of the League press release is the wording that it is said that the teams will have to negotiate contractual changes with individual players."

COVID-19 has wreaked havoc globally, with at least 1,340,270 confirmed cases and more than 74,600 deaths.

Italy has the highest death count with over 16,500 deaths, while cases have exceeded 132,500.

Dana White said UFC 249 is "100 per cent on" after Justin Gaethje replaced Khabib Nurmagomedov as Tony Ferguson's opponent in the main event.

Unbeaten UFC lightweight champion Khabib was originally set to face Ferguson in the blockbuster title bout in Brooklyn on April 18 before the coronavirus pandemic scuppered those plans.

Travel restrictions have prevented Khabib from entering the United States and Dubai, but the Russian superstar had not given up hope of fighting Ferguson as White looked into an alternate location.

The location of UFC 249 – set to be staged without fans – remains undisclosed, however Ferguson (25-3) will now step into the octagon against fellow American Gaethje (21-3) for the interim lightweight championship.

White wrote via Twitter on Monday: "The fight is signed and is 100 per cent ON LIVE on ESPN somewhere on EARTH!!!! @TonyFergusonXT vs @Justin_Gaethje is LIVE on @espn+ PPV April 18th for the interim lightweight belt!"

Gaethje, who has claimed three consecutive finishes over Donald Cerrone, Edson Barboza and James Vick, Tweeted: "#forthepeople I'm terrified and I f***** love it #ufc".

Coronavirus has wreaked havoc globally, bringing sport to a standstill following the postponement or cancellation of major events such as the Olympic Games, Euro 2020, Wimbledon and more.

More than 74,000 people have died around the world, with over 1.3million confirmed cases.

In the United States, there have been in excess of 10,700 casualties and 364,000 confirmed cases.

 

The Racers Grand Prix, which was awarded gold status in the newly formed 2020 World Athletics Continental Tour, has been postponed due to the global impact of the novel coronavirus.

The meet, which was originally scheduled for June 13, 2020, in Kingston, was one of 10 meets in the new series designed to accommodate athletes from several disciplines cut from the Diamond League for 2020. The events - the triple jump, discus, 3000m steeplechase and 200m. are thee core disciplines for which ranking points would have been allotted at the same level as the Diamond League.

 Meet organiser Glen Mills, in a letter to World Athletics,  said the ferocity of the virus, the local and global restrictions on travelling and gatherings, quarantine procedures, as well as the inconclusive timeline of the impact of the virus were the reasons behind the postponement of the Continental World Series gold standard meet.

 “It is now clear that our only choice is to postpone the date of this year’s meeting of the Racers Grand Prix – Kingston Continental Tour Gold meeting,”  said Mills in the letter dated April 2.

“We are now hoping to be able to reschedule the meeting for a date in the latter half of August. Of course, this is subject to the agreement of World Athletics, in keeping with your overall schedule. It is also subject to the availability of the stadium and the hotel on this new date.”

The meet was intended to be a major boon for the Racers Grand Prix that over the past four years has established itself as one of the best track and field meetings in the Western Hemisphere.

 “We remain grateful that the world body recognised the type of meet that we were putting on, which has been of the highest quality,” said Mills. “And though the postponement of the event is unfortunate, once we receive the all-clear, we will ensure the meet delivers on every level.”

 “We encourage athletes to follow the World Health Organisation guidelines and those of their local leadership to reduce the risk of catching the coronavirus. And we also encourage them to focus on their wellbeing and to find innovative methods to stay fit during this period.”

 The Continental series was set to begin on May 10 in Tokyo, Japan and would also include the Fanny Blankers Koen Games in Hengelo, Netherlands; the Nurmi Games in Turku, Finland; and the Skolimowska Memorial in Silesia, Poland.

 

Though disappointed that the Olympics has been postponed for another year because of the coronavirus pandemic, Janathan 'Musfasa' Hanson says he refuses to be put off by the setbacks brought on by the nightmarish situation.

Jos Buttler says his Cricket World Cup final shirt will now carry "extra meaning" after he decided to auction it to raise funds for the fight against coronavirus.

The shirt the wicketkeeper-batsman was wearing when he ran out New Zealand's Martin Guptill to deliver England's first World Cup triumph last July will be going to a new home soon.

A bid of £65,800 was leading the way on Monday - the penultimate day of the auction - with the money raised due to go towards an ECMO machine for the Royal Brompton Hospital, a specialist heart and lung medical centre in London.

The thrilling manner of England's Super Over victory against the Black Caps at Lord's means Buttler will always cherish the shirt, though he thinks auctioning it off for a special cause will make it resonate even more.

"[I've] spoken to the guys at the hospital and know what that money can buy them, which is an ECMO machine, which is vital, not just for COVID-19 patients, but other heart and lung patients," Buttler told reporters.

"The Royal Brompton is one of only five ECMO centres in the UK so that's going to be a big thing for them.

"Obviously there's a day or so left on the auction as well so hopefully it can raise a bit more and, of course, [it's] a very special shirt, but I think it will take on extra meaning with being able to hopefully go to the emergency cause."

Buttler explained he had a personal link with The Royal Brompton, where the aunty of his wife, Louise, works.

The 29-year-old had been inspired to auction his shirt upon learning about the medical facility's bid to raise £100,000.

"I just think it felt like a good thing to do, a great way to help," he added.

"Obviously the fashion in which the World Cup was won, everyone was very aware of that day and the drama that unfolded.

"It carries a story with it as well, which I think has made it have the impact it's had probably."

As one of England's centrally contracted players, Buttler has also been part of the £500,000 donation the team have made to the England and Wales Cricket Board and other charities.

Buttler explained it was his personal wish that the money is spent on grass-roots cricket.

"I know the players are strong on wanting that money to help that grass-roots structure and pathway," Buttler added. 

"We need to bring people into the game and make sure that that is very strong."

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