CORONAVIRUS IN SPORT Coronavirus in sport LIVE: Olympics and Premier League UPDATES, Khabib UFC 249 fight ON, Fellaini message from hospital

CORONAVIRUS IN SPORT 

Coronavirus in sport LIVE: Olympics and Premier League UPDATES, Khabib UFC 249 fight ON, Fellaini message from hospital:

MAROUANE FELLAINI has been hospitalised after testing positive for coronavirus in China, after the sad news that former Real Madrid president Lorenzo Sanz passed away having been diagnosed with the virus.

CORONAVIRUS IN SPORT Coronavirus in sport LIVE: Olympics and Premier League UPDATES, Khabib UFC 249 fight ON, Fellaini message from hospital. The Premier League’s suspension has been pushed back to April 30, but Khabib Nurmagomedov’s UFC fight against Tony Ferguson is still set to go ahead, as is WrestleMania 36.

Follow all the latest news and updates as the sporting world deals with the threat of coronavirus…

RUSHED RETURN

CORONAVIRUS IN SPORT: The Premier League will play Russian roulette with players’ fitness if they do not get FIVE weeks of training before the season restarts.

English football has been suspended until at least April 30 because of coronavirus. That means players face at least an eight-week lay-off.

Fitness expert Raymond Verheijen believes preparation is nowhere near good enough to get up to match speed without injuries.

Verheijen, who has worked at Barcelona, Manchester City and Wales, said: “My message would be to only restart with proper preparation.

“Otherwise you will be gambling and playing Russian roulette with the health of players.

“The off-season is normally four weeks and we have a four to six-week pre-season for players to regain fitness.

“But in this case players will be inactive for seven or eight weeks so three weeks of training is the absolute minimum — it should be more.”

CLOCK IS TICKING

The Tokyo Olympics are set to be postponed.

Bosses at the International Olympic Committee will decide within a month whether to move the Games from its July 24 start date because of the global coronavirus pandemic.

But cancelling the 32nd summer Olympics “is not on the agenda”.

Team GB chiefs are adamant the sporting showpiece cannot go ahead as planned in July and August.

In an open letter to athletes, IOC president Thomas Bach wrote: “We have started detailed discussions to complete our assessment of the rapid development of the worldwide health situation and its impact on the Olympics, including a scenario of postponement.

“We’re working very hard and we are confident that we will have finalised these discussions within the next four weeks.

“Our basis of information today is that a final decision about the date of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 now would still be premature.”

  • ‘VERY SERIOUS’

    Former Drogheda United star Lee Duffy has opened up about his frightening experience overcoming the coronavirus.

    Covid-19 is currently sweeping the globe and the latest figures in Ireland show there are roughly 40,000 people waiting to be tested there.

    Duffy, 28, took to Twitter to highlight the danger of the deadly virus, writing: “As some of you may or may not know, I tested positive for Covid-19 two weeks ago.

    “I spent 8 days in hospital hooked up to oxygen as I could no longer breathe on my own, scared not knowing what was going to happen.

    “Luckily I got through it and I’m starting to feel a lot better now.

    “My advice to everybody is to not take this lightly, it is very serious.”

    WILD TIMES

    Chris Wilder has insisted that the Premier League season must finish with all 38 games being played, despite the suspension due to the coronavirus pandemic.

    All English football has been suspended until at least April 30, as the country deals with the horrific outbreak.

    He told Daily Mail: ”I’ve told them to go out and enjoy it. It might be the last time they play for a while.

    ”The players have a responsibility to be ready if and when the season restarts. I have 100 per cent faith that they will look after themselves.

    ”They’ve worked unbelievably hard to get into this situation this season, they have worked unbelievably hard to get into the Premier League and they are a really tight group as well.”

    GAMES OVER

    The IOC are considering for the first time moving the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics – and will decide in the next four weeks.

    An emergency teleconference board meeting was held on Sunday to start discussions with the organising committee about the prospect of delaying the Tokyo Games this summer.

    According to NHK, Japan’s rights broadcasters, it is understood members plan to reach a decision within a month or so.

    There are four options on the table – one is to cancel the Games despite the cost of £10 billion.

    One is to move the event to October, which is what happened in 1964 and the temperatures will be much cooler then.

    Another idea is to switch it to 2021 but that would clash with events like the IAAF World Athletics Championships and the British Lions Tour of South Africa.

    Or the Games could go ahead in its current shape either with fans or not.

    That would be problematic as there has been a chorus of calls from athletes and NOCs to move the Games from its current slot of July 24.

    LONG GON

    Juventus striker Gonzalo Higuain controversially broke quarantine rules in Italy to be with his cancer-stricken mother, his brother has revealed.

    The former Chelsea forward, 32, fled the coronavirus-hit country – where almost 5,000 people have died – seven days into a recommended two-week quarantine to go back to his native Argentina.

    Higuain’s actions did leave his lawyer Rinaldo Romanelli “at the very least perplexed”, and he said the frontman should have observed the quarantine guidelines.

    There are conflicting reports on who gave ex-Real Madrid star Higuain permission to leave.

    Romanelli claimed to be in the dark about who gave him the OK, whereas other reports in Italy say Juventus allowed Higuain to fly.

    But now Higuain’s brother Nicola has snapped back at Romanelli and requested privacy while they be with their mother at this difficult time.

    Nicola wrote on a Facebook post: “Our mother, like so many other people in the world, is battling a disease called cancer.”

    HE’S RONDERFUL

    Cristiano Ronaldo is set to team up with his agent Jorge Mendes to help combat the spread of coronavirus by paying for medical supplies in Portugal.

    Portuguese superagent Mendes – according to reports by Spanish paper AS – has already bankrolled 200,000 gowns and three ventilators for the Sao Jao hospital in Porto.

    In an incredible act of selflessness, Ronaldo is set to use his football fortune to help fight off the deadly virus.

    He will be one of a number of Mendes’ clients who can put their wealth to good use by purchasing medical equipment for hospitals that desperately need it as they struggle to deal with the influx of patients critically ill with Covid-19.

    Ronaldo is back in Madeira having returned to his native Portugal after mother Dolores suffered a stroke.

    He has been self-isolating after a number of his Juventus team-mates tested positive for the deadly virus – most recently Argentina ace Paulo Dybala.

    VIRUS FEAR

    Jack Butland fears lower league players face a football lottery as they anxiously wait to discover if they have a future in the game.

    The Stoke and England ‘keeper warned many of his mates below the Premier League could end up on the scrapheap, as some clubs scrape by on a week-to-week existence.

    The ‘keeper, who is also the Potters’ PFA rep warned: “I’ve been at many clubs and no two clubs are the same. They are run by different companies with different backgrounds.

    “There will be clubs that are very much hand-to-mouth and relying on games for income.

    “Taking those incomes away is going to have a direct affect and there’s clubs that are certainly going to struggle which is going to create a worry for players.

    “It’s going to affect football players like it’s going to affect anyone. There’s worries from all perspectives, whether it’s financial or health.”

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