Mariners moving games, Warriors going fanless
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – The Golden State Warriors’ game against the Brooklyn Nets on Thursday night will be played without fans in the arena, and the Mariners are moving their home games out of Seattle for the rest of March in an effort to slow the coronavirus outbreak.
Shortly after San Francisco Mayor London Breed banned all gatherings of 1,000 or more people for the next two weeks, the Warriors announced they would go ahead with the game, but without fans at Chase Center. Four other events scheduled through March 21 at the building, which seats more than 18,000 people, have been postponed or canceled, including a Post Malone concert.
“We are closely monitoring developments to determine the appropriate course for future Warriors home games,” NBA spokesman Mike Bass said in a statement, “and will continue to work with local governments, the CDC and public health experts to protect the health of our fans, players, coaches and staff in NBA markets across the country.”
The Mariners and Major League Baseball have not announced where they will play the team’s season-opening, four-game series against the Texas Rangers that had been scheduled for March 26-29. It was to be followed by three games against the Minnesota Twins from March 30 through April 1.
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee has prohibited gatherings of more than 250 people in Seattle, which has experienced the most COVID-19 deaths in the U.S.
“While we hope to be back to playing baseball in Seattle as soon as possible, the health and safety of our community is the most important consideration,” the Mariners said.
Elsewhere, the Ivy League canceled all spring sports, as many of its schools told students not to return from spring break and prepare for classes to be taught online. The conference had already canceled its men’s and women’s basketball tournaments; other conferences went ahead with theirs as college basketball awaits word on the status of the NCAA Tournament, one of the biggest events on the sporting calendar.
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said he will issue an order to ban fans from NCAA Tournament games in the state. Dayton will host the NCAA’s First Four next week, and first- and second-round games are scheduled for Cleveland.
More than 1,000 people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus in the United States, with 32 deaths; those rates are expected to continue to rise dramatically in what the World Health Organization declared on Wednesday to be an international pandemic.
Most people quickly recover from the virus after experiencing only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.
According to WHO, people with mild illness recover in about two weeks, while those with more severe illness may take three to six weeks to recover. In China, where the virus first exploded, more than 80,000 people have been diagnosed and more than 58,000 have so far recovered.
Europa League matches for Italian teams have been postponed because of travel restrictions. The governing body of European soccer said the games between Sevilla and Roma in Spain, and Inter Milan and Getafe in Italy “will not take place as scheduled.”
“Further decisions on the two matches will be communicated in due course,” UEFA said.
Italian soccer club Roma had said earlier Wednesday it would not make its trip to Seville because “the plane from Italy was not authorized to land in Spain.” Getafe President Ángel Torres had said his team would not travel to Italy because he did not want to risk his players’ health by going to an area struggling to contain the spread of the virus.
The Italian soccer federation ordered Italy’s women’s team to return home before the end of the Algarve Cup tournament in Portugal fearing it would not be able to get a flight back. On Wednesday, the Portuguese soccer federation canceled the final between Italy and Germany.
Italy had already suspended all sporting events until April 3.
Less than 24 hours before the first race, the International Ski Federation canceled the women’s Alpine skiing World Cup in Are, Sweden, handing Federica Brignone of Italy the overall title and denying Mikaela Shiffrin a return to racing this season.
Brignone becomes the first Italian women’s overall champion in the 53-year history of the World Cup.
Shiffrin, the defending overall champion, had announced earlier Wednesday that she would compete at the event after taking a six-week break from the sport following the death of her father. The absence cost her the lead in the overall standings.
Officials in Frankfurt gave the go-ahead to have fans at Eintracht Frankfurt’s Europa League game against Basel on Thursday, but not for the Bundesliga game on Sunday against Borussia Mönchengladbach.
Basel previously said it won’t be able to host the return game against Eintracht amid concerns over the virus.
All Bundesliga games scheduled for this weekend will be played without spectators with the possible exception of Augsburg’s game against Wolfsburg on Sunday. Officials in Berlin overruled Union Berlin’s plan to host Bayern Munich on Saturday with fans in the stadium.
A player for second-division German team Hannover has tested positive for the virus. The club said defender Timo Hübers has not displayed symptoms of infection and is staying at home. Hannover said all its players and staff would now be tested.
Last week, former professional soccer player Thomas Kahlenberg tested positive for the virus. Kahlenberg represented Denmark at the 2010 World Cup.
Greek club Olympiakos is expected to play its Europa League match against Wolverhampton Wanderers on Thursday despite owner Evangelos Marinakis saying he has tested positive for the disease. Olympiakos said tests on players, coaches, medical and technical staff were negative.
FED CUP POSTPONED
The Fed Cup Finals in Hungary were postponed after the local government said it was prohibiting public indoor gatherings of more than 100 people. The International Tennis Federation said it would try to find another suitable date for the women’s tennis competition.
FIFA CONGRESS POSTPONED
The FIFA Congress in Ethiopia was rescheduled from June 5 to Sept. 18 because of “concern over the health and well-being of participants, as well as travel restrictions in many countries.”
FIFA said it wants to organize the event when “all member associations are able to attend.”
The world soccer body also said the FIFA Council meeting planned for March 20 has been rescheduled to a date yet to be confirmed in June or July. It said the meeting will take place in Zurich or via video conference.
FRENCH LEAGUE CUP FINAL
The French League Cup final between Paris Saint-Germain and Lyon, scheduled for April 4, was postponed. A new date has yet to be announced. On Tuesday, the French soccer league announced that all soccer matches in its top two divisions will be played without fans until April 15.
Russian league games in Moscow will be limited to 5,000 people in the stadium under new health regulations in the capital. Besides fans, that includes players, team staff, stadium employees and security.
The International Gymnastics Federation said it was postponing two World Cup events due to start next week. One is an all-around competition in Stuttgart, Germany, and the other is an apparatus event in Doha, Qatar. They double as Olympic qualifiers. The federation said it was also postponing a rhythmic gymnastics World Cup event and a trampoline World Cup event. Both were due to be held in Italy next month.