Coronavirus in Sport LIVE: Premier League return LATEST news, Bundesliga restart is backed, Rojo caught playing poker – The Sun

THE Premier League is planning to return on June 12 at neutral venues – but only once it gets the green light from the government.

While over the pond, UFC 249 is set to ahead on May 9 to bring us some live sport in lockdown, while we have updates on the F1 season and the Bundesliga restarting.

Follow all the latest coronavirus in sport updates below, underneath our quick poll…

  • “I’ve loved the Premier League this year. It’s been an incredible experience.

    “The questions in mind now are: How will it finish? When? If they postponed it, will I be back in it next year?

    “Thursdays, apart from the clapping at 8pm, are no different to other days.

    “I accept the lockdown but I miss playing Newcastle and Rotterdam. That was tough.”

  • DARTISTRY

    Glen Durrant joked he should be crowned Premier League Darts champ if Liverpool are handed the football title post-lockdown.

    The Middlesbrough thrower won four out of six matches in league combat to sit top of the nine-man table before the sporting shutdown.

    Durrant, 49, laughed: “If Liverpool are given the title, then give me the title as well!

    “I’ll take the £250,000 first prize, no problem…

  • “They may be able to argue that point. And they can always find an excuse not to make themselves available, citing an injury.

    “But it’s also the case that there’s an extra issue with French, Dutch and Belgian players.

    “Their families are asking why they are possibly going to be put at risk by the Premier League and their clubs when football has been stopped by the governments in their own countries.

    “At the same time, they are looking at a higher death figure in the UK — and yet seeing football wanting to return soon.”

  • SAFETY FIRST

    The Premier League’s foreign legion are coming under pressure from their families over allegedly being railroaded into playing again.

    Premier League chiefs are determined to bring players and coaches inside the tent and ensure they have a full voice in restart discussions.

    But there are particular issues with players from France, Holland and Belgium — where football has been cancelled until September.

    One PL insider explained: “There’s an argument that all players might have a legitimate legal standpoint to say their health and safety is being compromised, or even threatened by being made to play…

  • “Then we will have restrictions on how people move around in the paddock.

    “We cannot social distance within a team, so we have to create an environment that in itself is effectively a small bubble of isolation.

    “The teams will stay within their own groups and won’t mingle with other teams.

    “They will stay in their own hotels. So there is a tremendous amount of work going on with the FIA and I am very encouraged by what I have seen and what I am hearing that we will be able put on a safe environment.”

  • DRIVING TEST

    Formula One bosses have released details on their ambitious plan to kick-off their season.

    F1 chief Ross Brawn had already announced the sport wants to start in Austria on July 5 with a race behind closed doors.

    SunSport revealed how F1’s plans included chartering in flights to a nearby airfield and keeping teams in separate hotels.

    And now Brawn, who is also looking to do the same with Silverstone and the British GP, says F1 will also employ a vigorous testing system for the coronavirus.

    He said: “Everybody will be tested and will receive clearance before they can go in to the paddock and every two days they will be tested…

  • WEMBLEY WAY OUT – EXCLUSIVE

    Wembley is back on the agenda as a potential venue to complete the Premier League season.

    The FA had offered both the national stadium and St George’s Park to be used from June to August.

    Last week top-flight teams made clear they wanted only club grounds used as neutral venues.

    Government officials are in talks with stakeholders and yesterday stressed playing under the Arch should be a serious option as it fits all the criteria.

    As a result, Premier League clubs are expected to do a U-turn and consider the north-west London arena.

  • SHOT AN IDEA – EXCLUSIVE

    We're used to fencing in the garden… but not shooting!

    Britain’s Joe Choong – the world No1 men’s modern pentathlete – has found a novel way to keep training during lockdown.

    Making use of the warm weather, Choong and his GB team-mate and flatmate Sam Curry have set-up a makeshift shooting range in their own GARDEN in Bath.

  • HOLLOW THREAT – EXCLUSIVE

    Ian Holloway has warned that football could end up “killing” players if they rush back and he reckons if players do not die, then it could kill the bus driver taking them to games.

    He said: “You see a film about zombies and everybody runs away from them but if football kicks off too early we will be running straight at them.

    “We go too early with this and players might end up dying.

    “It’s madness to even be thinking about playing when the dangers — according to the Government — are as bad if not worse than when this all started. It’s not only players at risk.

    “I don’t want to be responsible for the death of the bus driver taking us to a game. How would I be able to look his wife and family in the face? I couldn’t live with myself.”

  • RON THE WAY BACK

    Cristiano Ronaldo has left Madeira to return to Italy with his family after nearly two months on his native island.

    The 35-year-old was chauffeur-driven to the airport named after him so he could board his Gulfstream G200 Galaxy on Monday evening with his girlfriend Georgina Rodriguez and four children.

    The £20million plane departed just after 6pm local time and is due to reach Turin in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

    Cristiano is expected to have to self-isolate for a fortnight on club orders before resuming training with the rest of the Juventus squad ahead of a possible return to Serie A football.

    Weekend reports claimed his return plans were being frustrated by Spanish airspace problems.

    But his private jet landed on Sunday in Madeira to take luggage and three staff including a bodyguard to Italy before returning on Monday evening to the island.

  • SAL DESTROYING

    Ex-Chelsea striker Salomon Kalou has been suspended by Hertha Berlin after filming himself singing a “corona song”, flouting social distancing rules and moaning about pay cuts.

    In an ill-timed Facebook Live video, Kalou, 34, is seen fist-bumping team-mates and staff and even barging in on a pal's medical check-up.

    Defender Jordan Torunarigha was seen having what appeared to be his test for coronavirus – with Kalou having seen his result come back negative.

    On realising Kalou was filming, the doctor administering the test quickly says: “Sala, please. Sala, delete that, please.”

    Kalou simply claimed he was “only joking”.

    In the video, he is also heard singing a “corona song”, while criticising the club's decision to slash wages, adding: “They took 11 per cent. Why are they f***ing with us?'”

  • TOUCHED DOWN SAFELY

    Tottenham face a further £10million cash blow with NFL chiefs set to cancel this year’s four “London Games”.

    Spurs had capacity 60,000-plus crowds for their first two games on the sunken artificial pitch at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, with gridiron bosses hailing the spectacular new venue.

    Next season was due to feature the Atlanta Falcons and Miami Dolphins as the “home” teams, with two matches for Shahid Khan-owned Jacksonville Jaguars at Wembley.

    But NFL bosses are understood to have now decided that the four matches slated for London, plus one set to be played in Mexico City, will now stay on US soil as a result of the coronavirus crisis.

    It will make 2020 the first year since 2006 that has not featured an NFL game in London.

    The decision is set to be confirmed in the coming days with the NFL – which made a significant investment in the new Spurs stadium – expected to insist this is a one-off move.

  • FREE FOOTBALL

    Some Premier League games are set to be shown on YouTube for FREE when the season restarts following the coronavirus lockdown.

    Under a proposal currently being discussed, all 92 matches still due to be played are to be broadcast on Sky Sports, BT Sport or on YouTube.

    It is hoped the 2019-20 season can still be finished in a jam-packed seven-week summer schedule

    But with games set to be played in front of empty stadiums, football bosses want fans to be able to watch EVERY game live.

    Under the plans, most games will be shown on main broadcasters Sky Sports and BT Sport.

    Amazon will have a selection of other matches and with no games due to be shown live on the BBC or ITV, YouTube is being discussed as a free-to-air option.

  • KALOU BELIEVE IT?!

    Salomon Kalou has worried Bundesliga football bosses after showing a video of himself shaking hands with teammates during a medical check at Hertha Berlin.

    Footage released by the ex-Chelsea man, and promptly deleted, showed him breaking social distancing guidelines and interrupting a check-up on a colleague.

    The top-tier German side have contributed to the 1,724 tests conducted across the country’s footballing system ahead of a hoped-for return to action this month.

    However a spike in virus cases would put that in jeopardy with three positive tests reportedly emerging at Koln.

    Last week, Kalou told BBC Sport it would be “awkward” returning to football at this time, adding: “Football is a sport of contact. You've got to have contact. So I'm very curious to see what the rules will be when it comes to playing the game again.”

  • ONE STEP CLOSER

    LaLiga president Javier Tebas has reaffirmed his commitment to restarting the Spanish top-flight next month.

    Coronavirus testing is expected to start on Tuesday with all players, coaches and staff needing checks two days before training can begin.

    The Associated Press have revealed a four-stage protocol is in place to gently ramp up training sessions over the coming month before a kick-off in June.

    Tebas said in a statement: “The return of football is a sign that society is progressing towards the new normal. It will also bring back an element of life that people in Spain and around the world know and love.

    “People’s health is paramount, so we have a comprehensive protocol to safeguard the health of everyone involved as we work to restart LaLiga. Circumstances are unprecedented, but we hope to start playing again in June and finish our 19/20 season this summer.”

  • FUTURE’S BRIGHT

    Young players in particular may be finding the lockdown difficult in terms of progressing their talents.

    But Reading’s esteemed academy players are showing off their training regimes from the comfort of their back gardens…

    View this post on Instagram

    Even in lockdown, our talented Academy players are showing innovation and imagination to keep up their development… take a look! #tekkers #readingfc

    A post shared byReading Football Club (@readingfc) on

  • WE GO AGAIN

    The draw for the second ePremier League Invitational has been made…

    Sixteen top-flight sides will be represented by famous faces in the FIFA 20 tournament with funds raised for the Players Together NHS initiative.

    A preliminary round will kick things off tomorrow with the likes of James Maddison and Ryan Sessegnon in action with games streamed live.

    Here’s the first round schedule:

    3pm – West Ham vs Spurs (Spencer Owen v Ryan Sessegnon)

    4pm – Burnley vs Arsenal (Charlie Taylor v Arsenal)

    5pm – Newcastle vs Man Utd (Rolando Aarons v Jofra Archer)

    6pm – Leicester vs Bournemouth (James Maddison v Callum Wilson)

  • TOUR OFF

    Cycling's Women's Tour has been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

    The 2020 edition was due to take place between June 8 and 13 but was initially delayed in March.

    However organisers have now cancelled the British event and its route of Bicester to Suffolk will now feature between June 7 and 12, 2021.

    SweetSpot Group chairman Hugh Roberts explained: “Following discussions with stakeholders and sponsors, as well as British Cycling and the UCI, we have decided to work towards June 2021 for the next edition of the Women's Tour, and will not seek to re-arrange the race later in 2020.

    “We recognise the unprecedented nature of the current global situation and the challenges for the UCI calendar and so wanted to take an early decision not to look for an alternative 2020 date.”

  • BREAKING NEWS

    Real Sociedad and Athletic Club have agreed to play the Copa del Rey final whenever fans can be allowed into the venue.

    Spain's domestic cup showdown between the Basque rivals was a hotly anticipated derby occasion that was delayed by the coronavirus pandemic.

    And a statement released this lunchtime revealed the clubs' desire to delay the final indefinitely to allow fans to attend.

    It read: “The club presidents, after meeting with the president of the Spanish FA, have agreed to request that the Copa del Rey final will be held publicly and officially, to open the door to a future date to be determined in agreement between the three parties.”

  • SASS MORE LIKE IT

    Another step towards football returning took place in Italy today as Serie A side Sassuolo opened its training ground to players.

    Lukas Haraslin and Mehdi Bourabia were among those seen working alone – observing social distancing measures.

    Sassuolo were the first team to restart training in the country after authorities in Emilia-Romagna made a decree on Thursday that opened the door for the Neroverdi, SPAL, Bologna and Parma to begin training.

    The rest of the league is expected to return on May 18 with a kick-off in June eyed.

  • EMPTY SEATS

    Fans are not expected to be allowed back into stadiums “any time soon”, FA chairman Greg Clarke has warned.

    Returning players to pitches is set to be a big enough battle for game chiefs and Clarke believes we are a long way off fans coming back to stadiums.

    The FA boss wrote a latter to the body’s governing council admitting: “The reality is that we just don't know how things are going to pan out,' he wrote in a letter to the FA governing council.

    “But with social distancing in place for some time to come we do face substantial changes to the whole football ecosystem.

    “For example it's hard to foresee crowds of fans – who are the lifeblood of the game – returning to matches any time soon.”

  • TOO SOUN?

    Graeme Souness believes it will be mightily difficult to gain consensus across the Premier League for restarting the season.

    With clubs coming out against plans to hold matches in neutral venues, the ex-Liverpool boss believes pure economics will hold a big sway over many teams.

    He told Sky Sports: “I think its going to be very difficult to get everyone to agree to it, everyone's looking after their own house right now, teams near the bottom need every advantage they can get.

    “Brighton have five home games, they'll see that as an advantage difficult to get any consensus to get it through. It comes down to money.

    “We talk about the Premier League being awash with money but if this thing really bites, some clubs will be in dire straits financially, it won't just be the smaller ones.

    “If you're spending more than you've got coming in ultimately you're gonna be in trouble.”

  • DAN’T BE SILLY

    Boxing promoter Bob Arum has criticised Dana White’s plans to restart UFC on a private island.

    Tyson Fury’s Stateside representative insists he will only return to staging his sport once safe to do so amid the coronavirus pandemic – unlike “cowboys” like White.

    Arum told BoxingScene: “Good luck to them. I just hope that they’re not endangering the safety of anyone.

    “But this kind of cowboy behavior doesn’t do anybody any good. We’re looking now with Nevada, which we’ll do in a sensible way, or California.

    “We’re working with [Nevada and California Athletic Commissions], and we’re talking to the Texas commission. We’re only gonna do this if it’s safe for the fighters and everyone involved, and if it’s approved by the medical authorities.

    “We’re not gonna be cowboys, like Dana White. I don’t wanna get politics involved, but I have really very little respect for Dana and what he’s doing.”

  • TIME FOR TEE

    The PGA Championship has received a huge boost to its chances of going ahead after the course where it will be held officially reopened.

    TPC Harding Park in San Francisco had been closed since March 16 because of the coronavirus pandemic.

    Brooks Koepka was originally set to defend the title he won last year on May 14.

    But with Covid-19 completely decimating the sporting calendar, the golf season's second major was pushed back to August 6-9.

    PGA of America boss Seth Waugh said he was willing to stage the tournament without fans – and possibly at another course

    He said: “The plan is to do it as normally as possible, with fans, obviously, and have a fairly normal PGA Championship at Harding Park.”

  • WICH ROUTE TO TAKE?

    Norwich boss Daniel Farke has given his considered opinion on finishing the season.

    Having a chance to perform the Canaries’ “little miracle” is very important to the German – but not at the expense of lives due to the coronavirus pandemic.

    He told Sky Sports: “We deserve to work on our little miracle and stay in this league.

    “We play against all our competitors and actually would have had home games and we deserve this.

    “Also we have a great chance in the FA Cup, we deserve to take our chance in order to win this competition.

    “So my general attitude is we should try everything to finish the season but if not finishing the season saves just one life then we need to do that as all the money and the good mood and all the fairness are not more important than the lives of human beings.”

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