The coronavirus pandemic continued to affect the world of sport on Sunday.
Here, the PA news agency recaps the day’s main developments.
6.45 – The National Rugby League vowed to continue with the current season until the Australian government advises otherwise. The NRL began its season behind closed doors last week and ARL chairman Peter V’landys stated the intention is to proceed with the competition until it is encouraged to shut down matches.
9.00 – Global Athlete added its voice to those calling for the Tokyo Olympics to be postponed. The athlete-led group said pushing ahead with the planned start date of July 24 was incompatible with the action needed to combat the virus.
9.23 – Former Manchester United midfielder Marouane Fellaini has tested positive for coronavirus, his Chinese club Shandong Luneng announced. Fellaini tweeted: “Dear friends, I have been tested for coronavirus and my test result is positive. I will follow the treatment and hope to return to the game as soon as possible. Please everyone stay safe.”
11.11– Liverpool chief executive Peter Moore said the Premier League leaders’ stewards were volunteering to help with crowd control and assisting the elderly with their shopping at supermarkets. Over the past few days images have been shared of chaotic scenes at supermarkets as long queues form for groceries, with restrictions brought in at some to prevent panic buying, so the stewards are on hand to help manage the situation.
13.15 – The prestigious Dubai World Cup meeting, scheduled to take place at Meydan on Saturday, was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic. It had been expected to take place behind closed doors, with appropriate measures in place. However, despite many of the participants taking part in routine exercise on the Meydan track as normal on Sunday morning, it was announced in the early afternoon that the card had been postponed.
13.28 – Tottenham defender Toby Alderweireld revealed he will donate tablets to hospitals and nursing homes to help sick people stay in touch with family and friends. The Belgium centre-back is planning to buy dozens of electronic devices so those who are ill do not feel alone during the coronavirus pandemic.
14.00 – Rugby Football League president Tony Adams urged fans to look after their mental health. The former England and Arsenal defender wrote on rugby-league.com: “I am concerned that these uncertain times and increased fear and anxiety are impacting on many people’s mental fitness. As well as taking responsibility for reducing the spread of the virus by following all the NHS advice, we can all do a few things to help our own mental fitness. And to support family or mates who might be struggling.”
18.00 – UK Sport, the British Olympic Association and the British Paralympic Association announced they are to hold a conference call on Tuesday with sporting bodies to discuss the impact of the coronavirus on their sports. Training schedules of teams and individual athletes have been severely affected by stoppages in all sports. Tuesday’s call will also help inform the BOA and BPA of their positions with regard to feedback requested by the International Olympic Committee and International Paralympic Committee on this summer’s Games in Tokyo.
18.16 – The IOC announced it is to step up its contingency planning for a potential postponement of the Tokyo Games, but insisted full cancellation is not on the agenda. The IOC’s executive board will undertake what it described as “scenario-planning”, considering how the Games could be modified in light of changing conditions relating to Covid-19.
18.42 – Hearts captain Steven Naismith pledged to accept a 50 per cent pay cut in order to save jobs and help the club survive during the coronavirus crisis. Players have been asked to halve their wages by the struggling Edinburgh side following the suspension of the Ladbrokes Premiership.
21.45 – Guanyu Zhou won Formula One’s first official Virtual Grand Prix as the Renault test driver took the chequered flag in Bahrain. After the start of the F1 season decimated by the coronavirus outbreak, the sport took the decision to entertain fans with a stream of online races taking place on the date and time that the corresponding grands prix would have been held, with race drivers past and present joined by eSports stars and celebrities.
22.30 – Rugby Australia was forced to delay plans to create a domestic competition for the teams affected by the suspension of Super Rugby. The Reds, Rebels, Waratahs and Brumbies, along with former Super Rugby side Western Force, had been invited to form a new event after the five-nation competition was put on hold. A statement from RA read: “The remodelled competition, which was in the final stages of approvals, had a planned start date of April 3 but has been suspended until at least May 1.”