MLB

The Latest: Chicago’s pro teams urge residents to stay home

(AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

By The Associated Press

The Latest on the effects of the coronavirus outbreak on sports around the world:

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Chicago's eight pro teams and mayor Lori Lightfoot are teaming up to encourage residents to stay home to help prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

The Bears, Blackhawks, Bulls, Cubs and White Sox as well as the WNBA's Sky, MLS' Fire and National Women's Soccer League's Red Stars are joining with the mayor in the "We Are Not Playing" campaign to promote compliance with Illinois' stay at home order.

The initiative will kick off with billboards around Chicago and digital and social media advertisements. Player videos will come online in the next phase.

"I am grateful to each of our hometown teams for stepping up and doing their part by joining in this call for every neighborhood and community," Lightfoot said in a statement. "They're not playing, and neither are we. The more we stay home and act responsibly, the more lives we'll save, and the sooner we'll be able to get our city back on track and enjoying the games we love."

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Washington Capitals coach Todd Reirden says he and his family are taking special precautions amid the new coronavirus pandemic because 17-year-old son Travis has a common variable immune deficiency.

"We've really had to be careful about what we're bringing into the house and not leaving and making sure that if we do go out and do something, that we basically leave all of our clothes at the door and make sure that they get washed and wash our hands and make sure we're really making the right choices because it can get scary for someone like him," Reirden said Monday.

Reirden says his family opted to stop having a nurse come to the house and give Travis plasma treatments for multiple reasons. He says his son didn't want a nurse taking up four to six hours a trip when that time could be better used to treat patients with more urgent needs, and the family thought it better not to have another person in the house.

Travis was out of school earlier this year because of the flu, and his parents continued to hold him out when COVID-19 became a serious concern. A doctor visit in mid-March before the NHL season was suspended turned up positive bloodwork and gave the Reirdens enough confidence that Travis was in a good spot healthwise.

They continue to monitor the situation.

"We are really on top of him and how he is feeling and right now," Todd said.

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The 2020 Madrid Open, one of more than 30 professional tournaments canceled or postponed because of the novel coronavirus, is going to be contested April 27-30 by tennis players holding controllers instead of rackets.

The clay-court tournament on Monday announced its plan to go virtual, saying it will involve "the world's biggest tennis stars squaring off from their own homes."

There will be 150,000 euros (about $160,000) in prize money each for the men's and women's events, with the winners deciding how much they want to donate to tennis players who are having a hard time financially without any tournaments to enter. An additional 50,000 euros (about $55,000) will be given to reduce the social impact of the pandemic.

The list of players who will "compete" will be released later.

The Madrid Open was supposed to be played May 1-10, but the entire European clay circuit was abandoned by the ATP and WTA. Both tours are suspended until at least July 13.

Wimbledon was canceled entirely for 2020, while the French Open has been postponed from May until September.

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Houston Astros pitcher Joe Smith and his wife, TNT sideline reporter Allie LaForce, have started a program to donate meals to medical workers in Ohio and Texas hospitals during the global COVID-19 pandemic.

Through Project FRONTLINE the couple is funding the first 250 meals, which will be delivered to Mercy Hospital in Lorain, Ohio, on Wednesday. Another 300-500 meals are going to Harris Health in Houston on Tuesday.

LaForce said over the phone from Florida that former Browns Pro Bowl tackle Joe Thomas has donated and the couple has been in contact with Cavaliers forwards Kevin Love and Larry Nance Jr. about expanding the program.

Smith and LaForce are both Ohio natives.

"We're hoping people can kick in anything, $10 or $20, for a cause to help people who are putting their lives on the line every single day," LaForce said.

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Formula One race team ROKiT Williams Racing is putting an unspecified number of employees on furlough through the end of May.

The team also announced senior management officials and the team's two drivers, Carlos Sainz of Spain and Lando Norris of Britain, have taken a 20% pay cut that began April 1.

"These decisions have not been taken lightly," the team's statement read. "However, our aim is to protect the jobs of our staff at Grove (the team headquarters) and ensuring they can return to full-time work when the situation allows."

The move follows a similar announcement last week by McLaren's F1 team.

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The NFL is planning a telethon to aid coronavirus relief efforts during the draft from April 23-25, according to two people familiar with the league's plans.

The people tell The Associated Press that the league hopes its massive reach will raise awareness and funds in battling the pandemic. They spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the telethon has not been announced publicly.

Details on conducting the telethon and charities that will benefit will be released soon.

Since the NFL's business year began on March 18, the league has conducted free agency even as team facilities have been shut down and travel has been barred. Its biggest offseason event is the draft, which was scheduled for Las Vegas but now will be done remotely, with ESPN and NFL Network televising the proceedings.

- Reporting by AP Pro Football Writer Barry Wilner

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The mother of Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has died after contracting the coronavirus.

The Premier League club says Dolors Sala Carri� died near Barcelona in the city of Manresa. She was 82.

City says "everyone associated with the club sends their most heartfelt sympathy at this most distressing time to Pep, his family and all their friends."

Guardiola has coached City since 2016. He previously coached Barcelona and Bayern Munich.

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Serie A says it has unanimously decided to reduce player salaries by a third if the season does not resume.

The Italian soccer players' association has not yet signed off on the deal.

The league says in a statement that the guideline measure was agreed on by 19 of the 20 clubs. Juventus already reached a similar deal with its players.

The league says the agreement is "a common line of action to contain" salaries for "players, coaches and members of first squads."

The reduction is equal to four months of salary but would be reduced to only two months if the current season is completed.

The league adds "it remains understood that the clubs will define the agreements directly with their members."

Serie A has been suspended since the government ordered a nationwide lockdown nearly a month ago. Twelve rounds remain along with four games that were postponed from the weekend of Feb. 22. The Italian Cup semifinals also were interrupted after the first leg.

At least 15 players have tested positive for COVID-19.

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FIFA is providing global coordination with competition organizers to provide flexibility to ensure coronavirus-derailed seasons can be completed with as little financial turmoil as possible.

FIFA does not set the dates of domestic or continental club competitions but does oversee the implementation of two transfer windows during the year.

A FIFA task force has been exploring the impact of the coronavirus pandemic and has backed flexibility in shifting the transfer windows and extending player contracts to allow seasons to be completed.

A final decision will be made by the FIFA Bureau. That body includes the presidents of the six regional confederations.

UEFA has already determined that competitions in Europe can run beyond the June 30 cut-off for player contracts.

Cost-cutting is underway at many clubs and federations to deal with the financial impact of games not being played.

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England coach Gareth Southgate has agreed to a 30% pay cut during the coronavirus outbreak.

Southgate has a reported salary of 3 million pounds ($3.6 million) per year.

English Football Association chief executive Mark Bullingham says the organization's highest earners will take a temporary pay reduction of 30% and others in the senior management team have agreed to a 15% cut.

Bullingham says the total financial impact on the FA is currently forecast to be around 100 million pounds ($120 million) because of the postponement of England internationals, FA Cup matches and other events at Wembley Stadium. He says the cost could rise to more than 150 million pounds ($180 million) depending on the length of the crisis.

All FA employees earning 50,000 pounds ($60,000) or more per year will take a temporary pay reduction of 7.5% and the British government's furlough scheme is being looked at as a contingency plan.

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World Cup champion France has sent support to hospital workers engaged in the fight against the coronavirus.

Kylian Mbappe and Paul Pogba were among the stars in a video released by the French soccer federation expressing their gratitude to the country's under-pressure health workers.

France has been severely hit by the virus with more than 8,000 dead and about 100,000 known infections.

Mbappe says "we sing and clap for you."

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Buffalo Bills general manager Brandon Beane has launched a fundraising campaign to support local charitable groups addressing critical needs stemming from the coronavirus pandemic.

Beane is donating $20,000 to the community's United Way chapter and providing incentives for Bills fans to get involved.

Fans who make a donation to the Western New York COVID-19 Community Response Fund between Monday and April 17 will be eligible to win seven Bills-themed experiences or prizes.

The prizes include joining Beane on the phone when the GM submits Buffalo's first draft pick. Other prizes include a one-on-one Zoom interview with Beane, lunch with the GM, four tickets to Buffalo's home opener, and a jersey autographed by quarterback Josh Allen.

Proceeds will go to the community response fund. The fund aids area food banks and provides resources to health care providers and front-line responders.

Beane praised the work being done by doctors, nurses, pharmacists, grocery-store workers and others for putting their health at risk to serve the community.

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Dutch national team players, the country's national soccer association and the sport's main sponsor will contribute to an 11 million euro ($12 million) fund to support clubs in the Netherlands during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Dutch soccer association says players on the men's and women's national teams are contributing to the fund to help amateur clubs that have been closed across the country.

The country's 3,000 soccer clubs have 1.2 million players but have seen income such as bar proceeds dry up amid the health crisis.

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Celta Vigo forward Fedor Smolov has left his confinement in Spain to be closer to his family back home in Russia.

Smolov says he informed the Spanish club of his plan and had its support. The club could not be immediately reached to confirm whether it had authorized the player's departure.

Spain is expected to remain in a nationwide lockdown because of the coronavirus pandemic until April 26. The country has more than 135,000 confirmed cases of the new virus with more than 13,000 deaths.

Smolov wrote on Instagram that because of the closure of borders "I have found myself obligated to return to Russia to be closer to my family."

Smolov says he is "very grateful to Celta for its support and I want to emphasize that I informed the club about every step."

Spanish media reported that the 30-year-old Smolov flew home on a private jet for the 18th birthday of Maria Yumasheva. She is the granddaughter of former Russian President Boris Yeltsin. Smolov published photos on Instagram in January showing him and Yumasheva together on vacation.

Smolov says he is abiding by an "obligatory" quarantine and remains in constant contact with Celta's coaching staff to follow team protocol. He says he will return "as soon as the club requires."

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A doctor at French soccer club Reims has killed himself after getting infected with the coronavirus.

Reims Mayor Arnaud Robinet told Le Parisien newspaper Bernard Gonzalez "is a collateral victim of COVID-19 because he had tested positive and was in isolation for 14 days. I know he had left a note to explain his decision."

Officials at the club say Gonzalez died Sunday. He was 60.

Gonzalez had worked at the club for 23 years.

Reims remembered Gonzalez as a man with the "soul of an artist" who was in love with the six-time champions.

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Two more golf events on the European Tour have been called off because of the coronavirus pandemic.

That ensures there will be no play until the end of June at the earliest.

The Troph�e Hassan II in Morocco from June 4-7 was postponed and the following week's Scandinavian Mixed tournament in Stockholm was canceled and will now be played in 2021.

Eleven tour events have been either postponed or canceled because of the virus outbreak.

The next potential tournament is the BMW International Open in Germany from June 25-28.

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Updated April 6, 2020


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