PREMIER LEAGUE football is awaiting the green light from government as players head back to training.
But while English football will be behind closed doors for the foreseeable future, Florida's governor has raised hopes that WWE could return with fans.
And there could be further clarity on a potential Bundesliga restart as the government holds its conference call today.
Follow all the latest coronavirus in sport updates below…
Part of the Premier League's 'Project Restart' discussions will centre around the use of approved venues, which may mean teams playing on neutral grounds and immediately throws up questions over competition integrity.
Brighton chief executive Paul Barber says being unable to play all games home and away as planned would be a “further imperfection” on top of the already accepted imperfection of playing behind closed doors.
The UK's national football policing lead Deputy Chief Constable Mark Roberts told the Press Association that playing all the remaining matches at their original venues would “present challenges” to the emergency services already stretched by the Covid-19 outbreak.
There would be particular pressure points from a health and public order perspective on a match where the league title or another season-defining issue was on the line, because of the potential for mass gatherings of supporters. DCC Roberts said that will be in the league's thinking.
He said: “In the first instance, football has to satisfy the Government that they can hold the matches and that it's safe for everyone to do it in terms of players, officials, coaching staff, broadcasters.
“So you get that first stage of 'how do you make it safe to play football at the location?' And it may be that actually that mandates them being played at specific neutral venues where it can be controlled.”
BRING IT ON BUTT
Alun Wyn Jones and Wales are pumped-up for a possible end of year Test match frenzy – with seven games in two months.
But they might not take place at their Principality Stadium fortress, which is now an emergency coronavirus hospital.
Boss Wayne Pivac said: “Speaking to the players now, if you had to play six or seven Tests over eight to ten weeks then they’d relish the opportunity.
“If games get pushed out there is a scenario they will be postponed.
“It could be we go to New Zealand a little later on in the season. If that’s pre-autumn we would have to play them, come back and play another series of matches.
“The Scotland game needs to be completed, which is an important fixture, too.”
START UP THE ENGINES
Chelsea have told their star players who have flown abroad to get back to London for Sunday.
The likes of Willian have headed back to Brazil, but they are being told to get a shift on back to the UK.
The Premier League could re-start on June 8, and Frank Lampard wants his squad back together in the first week of May.
If players need to self isolate, then they need to get back to Britain soon.
LAND OF ROPES & GLORY
Anthony Joshua could fight Tyson Fury in a monster, all-British heavyweight unification fight on UK soil, due to coronavirus.
That's the verdict of top promoter Bob Arum.
Fury is set to face American Deontay Wilder in the third fight of their trilogy after the Bronze Bomber invoked his rematch clause.
But with coronavirus shutting down borders, a fight between the boxers on opposite sides of the Atlantic Ocean looks unlikely.
Arum – Fury's US-based Top Rank promoter – said: “With or without audiences, we can't do [the third fight] while Fury can't get back into the United States due to the travel ban.
“Wilder couldn't get into England either.”
Germany’s Bundesliga will not return until at least May 16 as the date has been pushed back.
Top flight clubs have already returned to training as the league was expected to resume on May 9.
But the decision of when the Bundesliga will return has now been delayed until Wednesday next week.
TON OF PROBLEMS
The new Hundred tournament has bowed to the inevitable and postponed its launch until 2021, reports JOHN ETHERIDGE.
The controversial eight-team event has created significant negative feedback among many cricket fans and is now the latest sporting victim of the Covid-19 crisis.
But ECB chief executive Tom Harrison, a driving force behind the Hundred, insists it will be a “commercial powerhouse” as cricket seeks to recoup losses this summer potentially running into hundreds of millions.
A total of 120 players on salaries between £30,000 and £125,000 were due to be involved following the draft last October.
They have already received five per cent of their fee but will miss out on at least 80 per cent with talks continuing as to exactly how much. It is possible a new draft will take place.
Around 180,000 tickets have been sold – mainly for matches at Lord’s and the Oval – and fans will get their money back.
TEST MATCH SPECIAL
Premier League stars will be given TWO tests a week to see if they are clear of the coronavirus, reports ALAN NIXON.
And players from Liverpool to Watford are also going to have their temperatures checked every day in a thorough medical exercise.
The doctors at the elite clubs have hatched the safety plan to be prepared for the green light to return to training and eventually play.
It will mean around 18 tests per player over the scheduled nine-week period of training and then playing.
And that number will work out at around 360 tests a squad plus a few more for management and other staff involved.
So the Premier League are planning on finding – and funding – over 10,000 tests between the start of training and the end of the playing season.
The hope is for the best way possible of detecting any cases to make sure there are no victims of the virus in the top flight.
It will take similar numbers in the other three divisions, adding to the cost faced by owners at financially-troubled clubs.
Manchester United are delivering and sending meals to NHS staff and vulnerable people from Old Trafford.
United have kept their stadium chefs in work making and delivering 60,000 meals around the area.
NHS staff based at Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust (MFT) and Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust, who would normally have to provide their own meals while on-duty, will benefit from the service.
A HOPE IN EFL'S CHANCE
Football League players have been told that the current season will likely NOT be finished with too many coronavirus tests needed for a restart.
Club captains and PFA reps for Championship clubs and below have been delegated with relaying the news to their team-mates following an EFL board meeting yesterday.
The Premier League is still intent on getting football back underway as soon as possible with a June 8 date pencilled in.
Football chiefs are willing to spend £4million on 26,000 Covid-19 testing kits as part of their plan.
But according to the Daily Mail, EFL players have been told that one of the main problems they face in resuming their season is the number of extra coronavirus tests that would be needed.
The report adds that there is very little expectation at Championship and below level of any football being played in June despite plans to resume training in May.
JUNE 8 RETURN
Gary Neville has revealed that the second week of June is being looked at for the Premier League return.
But he says “no-one wants to put their name against this one.”
TOUGH TO SWALLOW
Here is how much Premier League teams will lose if the season is scrapped.
Bundesliga footballers are being tested for coronavirus today, according to reports in Germany.
It will be a big step in getting the league back on track going forward.
The league wants to return on May 9, despite France, Belgium and Holland cancelling its top divisions.
PSG WIN LIGUE 1
Paris Saint-Germain have been crowned champions of Ligue 1, after the French football league decided to take the current standings as final.
It's PSG's seventh title in eight years.
The Premier League is planning to return on June 8, with clubs sent a proposed new timetable to finish the season despite the despite coronavirus pandemic.
As revealed by SunSport, the top-flight is aiming to return in just six weeks.
But now league chiefs have sent a games schedule around to all 20 clubs ahead of a crunch meeting on Friday.
READ MORE ON THIS DEVELOPING STORY HERE
GOV US A HAND
Rugby league chiefs hope to hear if their plea for a Government bailout – which could be worth as much as £20 million – has been successful by this weekend, reports GARY CARTER.
SunSport revealed the Department of Culture, Media and Sport may look in favour on the 13-a-side code because of the impact it has on its communities.
Now we have learned Rugby Football League chiefs are keen to know if their appeal has worked or not by Saturday.
Government sources told SunSport the DCMS recognises ‘the many benefits it brings to our communities.’
And the RFL is one of the sporting governing bodies it is engaging with directly to try and find out how they can be best supported.
RETURN OF THE MAC
Rory McIlroy shocked himself when he took to the driving range for the first time in almost two months and actually hit the ball straight.
The Northern Irishman expected to be rusty after letting his clubs gather dust since his Players Championship defence last month was cut short by the Covid-19 lockdown.
But dressed casually in shorts, T-shirt and back-to-front baseball cap, he struck a few shots — and was impressed enough to post a video of the session captioned: “First balls hit in nearly 7 weeks. Still got it thankfully.”
And the world No 1 was still beaming over his form when he joined Sky Sports earlier this week as an online guest for a re-run of his victory at Sawgrass last year.
McIlroy, 30, said: “I was pleasantly surprised! It was coming out of the middle of the club face and it was good! I’m feeling pretty good about it.
“I’m very lucky to have a gym at home and I’ve been in there every day.”
FRENCH PRES: CANCEL PREM
Following the decision to cancel French football until September, Emmanuel Macron is reportedly pushing for the UK, Spain, Germany and Italy to follow suit.
Earlier this week, Ligue 1 and 2 joined the Dutch Eredivisie in cancelling the 2019/20 campaign due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Football bosses in the country were planning a return to training in May before completing the season the following month, much like the agenda still in place across the Premier League, LaLiga and Serie A.
However French president Macron is said by Le Parisien to be pushing for a Europe-wide cancellation of sport to help deal with the pandemic.
Sport minister Roxana Maracineanu reportedly contacted his counterparts in Italy and Germany after Tuesday’s announcement and is also set for talks with Spanish ministers.
WELCOME TO THE TEAM
Captain Tom Moore has received his honorary England cricket cap from former captain Michael Vaughan on his 100th birthday.
The centurion has raised nearly £30million for the NHS.
The 2005 Ashes-winning skipper Vaughan said: “Captain Tom, the Nation’s heartbeat, on his birthday, we’ll make him an official member of the England cricket team.
“You’ve done so much for the country, you’ve raised so much money for the NHSand now I can officially call you an honorary member of the England cricket team.”
Captain Tom, who has been made a Colnel, said: “It’s marvellous isn’t it. Thank you, thank you very much.”
A national treasure.
'ZAT IS CLASSY
Brighton midfielder Steven Alzate feels “blessed” having helped starving families affected by COVID-19 in his native Colombia.
The Seagulls youngster has been sending cash to buy groceries for those who cannot work due to the lockdown in Villavicencio, the city where his father is from.
Alzate, 21, told SunSport: “It means a lot to help my people, especially now during lockdown as they will need it even more.
“I am blessed to be in a position where I can help others in need during such a hard time.
“The situation there is the same as here really but there are poorer areas with terrible living conditions – those are the people that will be affected most.
“My father and brother live in Villavicencio and they tell me how resources of food and drink are limited.”
CARRI ON AT CARRINGTON
Manchester United stars could be going back to basics and washing their own kit when returning to training on May 18.
Having not played since the Manchester derby on March 8, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team last trained together over six weeks ago.
And after clubs including Tottenham and Arsenal recently reopened their facilities for individuals to work under social distancing guidelines, measures are being put in place for United’s return.
According to Daily Mail, players must arrive alone and drive back in their dirty training gear, which they must wash at home.
Laundry facilities and showers are among the amenities off limits to the squad for the foreseeable future.
Workouts will also be carried out in small groups, possibly on a rota basis to ensure social distancing is adhered to.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY COLNEL TOM
Captain Tom Moore, who walked laps of his garden to raise money for the NHS, turns 100 today and has been made a Colnel.
The inspirational World War II veteran has raised £29million for the efforts to fight Covid-19.
Rio Ferdinand has paid tribute to the super centurion, from Marston Moretaine, Bedfordshire, who is also being made an honorary England cricketer.
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Good Morning Everyone! Special Happy 100th Birthday To Colonel Tom ?? #Legend
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Cesc Fabregas posted an emotional tribute to his great-grandmother after the “super heroine” won her fight with coronavirus at the age of 95.
The former Arsenal and Chelsea star, 32, announced great-gran Flora had contracted the killer bug along with 70 per cent of her nursing home near Barcelona earlier this month.
But Fabregas has now revealed the incredible news that she has won her battle against coronavirus on Twitter.
Fabregas tweeted: “She has overcome coronavirus at 95 years of age. Yesterday the test came out negative!
“My great-grandmother is a super heroine but none of this would have been possible had it not been for the help of the nurses and doctors.
“[They] are giving their lives at each moment so that we can all be better and live a little bit better during these difficult times.”
Newcastle are set to be one of just FIVE Premier League clubs to spend big this summer.
And plenty of cash will be available to bolster the squad.
Due to the lockdown, most top-flight clubs will have little if any cash spare — even if the season is completed.
Agents have been made aware that Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City and United will be in a position to bring in star signings, although transfers fees are expected to tumble.
And though the Toon will have money to invest, they are not expected to repeat last summer’s crazy £40m capture of Joelinton.
Everton could become the sixth club to spend but will only be in a position to buy big again if Financial Fair Play rules are relaxed.
DAVE KIDD ON PREM RETURN
Isn’t it all just pie in the sky? Aren’t we going to look back on all this when the coronavirus crisis is over and realise it was all based on desperate, hopeless, optimism?
And when the French government announced on Tuesday that it was banning all sport until at least September, the first of Europe’s ‘big five’ leagues fell.
Fifa’s medical chief and Italy’s sports minister have also suggested that the 2019-20 season should be canned — and it seems as if the walls are closing in for England’s top flight too.
And there is a feeling that, at tomorrow’s tele-conference of top-flight clubs, many will express their awareness of a sharp turn in public opinion against football’s hasty return.
In Germany — a nation which has suffered far fewer fatalities than Britain, France, Italy or Spain — the Bundesliga is due to start as soon as May 9.
But even the Germans fear lockdown restrictions may need to be tightened again after shops, schools and churches reopened last week, causing a spike in coronavirus cases.
And so the resumption of the Bundesliga — being closely monitored by Premier League clubs — could well be pushed back today, making Uefa’s May 25 deadline for a decision on other domestic competitions even tighter.
READ THE REST OF DAVE KIDD'S LATEST COLUMN HERE
GOOD MORNING SPORTS FANS
Yesterday was a busy day as Paulo Dybala 'tested positive for coronavirus for the fourth time in six weeks' with Juventus close to return to training.
And Cristiano Ronaldo is set for two weeks of quarantine when he returns to Italy after lockdown.
Bundesliga’s May 9 return date could be OFF with Germany set to TIGHTEN coronavirus lockdown measures.
While LaLiga was handed a lifeline as the Spanish government announced players can return to training on May 4 as part of four-step plan.
Gary Neville asked: “How many people have to die playing football before it becomes unpalatable?” in a stark warning over any Premier League restart.
The Football League season's fate is also in the balance as 800 out-of-contract players will vote if they’ll play beyond June.
And footballers are worried about infecting their families with coronavirus if rushed back to action.
Uefa league supremo also slammed Fifa’s medical chief for insisting the season should be cancelled.
Brighton's Glenn Murray has also been teaching his seven-year-old daughter LATIN during lockdown.
In golf, John Daly was forced to apologise after telling fans to down a bottle of vodka a day to battle coronavirus.
And Rory McIlroy hit the driving range for the first time in TWO MONTHS and admitted he was surprised to hit ball straight.
In tennis, Novak Djokovic got a lockdown haircut from his wife Jelena at home… and she actually did an ace job on the tennis star.
Finally, it emerged footballers are worried about infecting their families with coronavirus if they are rushed back in to action.
And a Uefa league supremo slammed Fifa’s medical chief for insisting the season should be cancelled.
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