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."

Liverpool have made a U-turn on their decision to furlough a number of non-playing staff impacted by the Premier League's suspension following a backlash, CEO Peter Moore has confirmed.

The Reds announced of Friday they were following the likes of Tottenham and Newcastle United in taking advantage of the United Kingdom government's job retention scheme, meaning 80 per cent of some staff wages would be paid by the state.

But that move was widely slammed given the club had less than six weeks previously announced £42million pre-tax profits, with former Liverpool players Jamie Carragher, Danny Murphy and Dietmar Hamann among those to publicly lambast the decision.

Following the criticism, Liverpool have opted to seek alternative arrangements.

The rearranged 2020 Masters could be held in November while new dates for the U.S. Open and US PGA Championship have been revealed in a revised schedule.

In an effort to contain the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, the European Tour and PGA Tour campaigns have been put on hold.

The Masters, due to take place this week, and the US PGA Championship had already been postponed and on Monday it was confirmed the 2020 Open Championship had been called off altogether.

Shortly after that news, the PGA Tour revealed a rejigged calendar which would impact the three golf majors still due to go ahead.

The US PGA Championship, originally scheduled for May, will now take place between August 3-9 at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco, prior to the PGA Tour's season-ending tournaments that comprise the FedEx Cup Playoffs.

On September 14, three months after it had initially been due to begin, the U.S. Open will be staged at Winged Foot in New York and will finish two days before the start of the Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits, a tournament which remains unaffected by the reshuffle.

The Augusta National Golf Club has then identified November 9-15 as its preferred dates for the Masters.

Fred Ridley, chairman of the Augusta National Golf Club, said in a statement: "While more details will be shared in the weeks and months to come, we, like all of you, will continue to focus on all mandated precautions and guidelines to fight against the coronavirus.

"Along the way, we hope the anticipation of staging the Masters Tournament in the fall brings a moment of joy to the Augusta community and all those who love the sport.

"We want to emphasise that our future plans are incumbent upon favourable counsel and direction from health officials."

Tottenham forward Son Heung-min will commence his military service in South Korea during the Premier League suspension, the club has confirmed.

Son is in quarantine in South Korea having returned to his home country at the end of March after football in England was put on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The 27-year-old, who has not played since February after fracturing his arm, will return to Spurs in May.

Son was exempted from the mandatory 21-month military service after leading South Korea to a gold medal at the Asian Games in September 2018, but he was still due to complete a four-week programme ahead of the 2020-21 season.

However, with the Premier League acknowledging it will not resume in early May as previously planned, Son will use the period to undertake his duty.

"Our medical staff are in regular contact as he concludes his recovery after fracturing his arm in our 3-2 win against Aston Villa on 16 February and continues to train," a Tottenham statement read.

"Sonny had surgery on his arm in South Korea before returning to the UK at the end of February to continue his rehabilitation, prior to the initial announcement of the professional game in England being suspended as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"The Premier League has since announced that the 2019- 20 season will only return when it is 'safe and appropriate to do so' and is under constant review.

"Son will return to London following the conclusion of his military service in May."

Serie A clubs are unanimously in favour of cutting player wages by up to a third in an attempt to ease the financial strain caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

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.

Only the United States and Spain have been impacted more heavily by COVID-19 than Italy, which has confirmed 128,000 cases and almost 16,000 deaths – a worldwide high.

With the suspension preventing clubs from taking in gate receipts and other streams of revenue, they are being impacted financially.

League-wide pay cuts for players and coaching staff had been mooted, particularly since Juventus implemented their own such measures last week, and Serie A has now confirmed all clubs have agreed to act.

A statement read: "The situation needs the entire system to be responsible, with the clubs ready to play their part while facing huge losses in order to guarantee Italian football's future.

"These losses will have to be minimal because a reduction of costs will be implemented, when most of the costs are represented by salaries.

"Coherently with all the actions undertaken at national and international level, Lega Serie A has decided unanimously, excluding Juventus - who have already agreed such salary cut with their own players - a common line to reduce the impact of wages of players and managers of the first-team squads.

"This reduction, necessary to save the future of football, will be of one-third lump sum (as much as four months' salary) if football doesn't start over again or of one-sixth (as much as two months' salary) if we can finish the 2019-20 season. It goes without saying that it will be the clubs discussing the terms with their employees.

"Lega Serie A is monitoring the situation along with FIGC [Italian Football Federation], UEFA and ECA [European Clubs Association]. The will to finish the season has been communicated, but only without any risks as of when sanitary conditions and governments decree will allow it.

"Today's assembly has analysed the recommendations of the Italian Sporting Medical Federation on the training session restart at the present time. Within the end of this week the FIGC will issue the norms about it."

Voiding the Premier League season is the only course of action if the fixtures cannot be fulfilled, according to Manchester United defender Luke Shaw.

The Premier League, like almost every other league throughout Europe, is on hold because of the coronavirus pandemic, leaving Liverpool 25 points clear in pursuit of a first top-flight title in 30 years.

It was confirmed last week that the season will not resume in May, with no return date specified as the United Kingdom fights to contain the spread of the virus.

Dates are now available for club football to be played in June and July after Euro 2020 and the Copa America were postponed by a year.

However, Shaw believes the campaign should be scrapped if a way to restart cannot be found.

"Scrap it and start again," said Shaw, speaking on a Twitch stream of a FIFA 20 competition for Unicef's Combat Corona fundraiser.

"Start it again. If we can't carry it on, it's got to be void."

Liverpool need just six points to win the title, but they are not the only club who would miss out in the event of the season being expunged.

It would also prevent United from qualifying for the Champions League. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side are three points adrift of fourth-placed Chelsea, but fifth would be enough to qualify if Manchester City's ban from the competition is upheld.

United were on an 11-game unbeaten run in all competitions when the season was suspended, with Shaw adding: "That's why we were disappointed, because we were really confident and results were going our way but the most important thing is the lives."

Shaw is not a fan of the idea of playing the remaining games behind closed doors, as United did in their Europa League game at LASK, their final outing before the postponement.

"Fans are so important, you realise it even more [now]," he added. "I think the sport is for fans really... I think if you don't have fans, and you don't play in front of fans, it just doesn't feel right.

"Especially on matchday, the fans are always amazing and always help the team. Whether it's home or even away, our fans are always brilliant and I feel like they're always there with us."

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.

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