The Latest on the effects of the coronavirus outbreak on sports around the world:
The Buffalo Bills have advised season ticket holders there is a chance games may be played without fans this season because of the coronavirus pandemic.
With that in mind, the team began emailing season ticket holders on Tuesday to give them the chance to opt out of their commitment for this season, with an option to return for the 2021 season. They would maintain their account seniority and seat location.
The Bills said they are working with the NFL and state and local governments to establish policies and procedures to create and maintain the safest possible environment for spectators at New Era Field.
The team said there also is a chance that seating capacity might be altered this season. The team will not be charging season tickets holders or taking any additional payments until plans are set.
NFL teams are scheduled to report for training camp on July 28.
Pelicans general manager David Griffin says three New Orleans players have tested positive for COVID-19 and will be in self-isolation until testing shows they can return to team activities without infecting others.
Griffin declined to identify the players, citing medical privacy laws.
The positive tests occurred on June 23, the first day all members of the team were tested as part of the NBA’s plan to restart the season, which was suspended in mid-March. Griffin says the Pelicans have had no players test positive since.
“The league has a system in place that was designed to catch these cases. That system worked and we’re just going to deal with it the best we can moving forward,” Griffin said. “The league is relying both on the CDC and their own medical experts and the players’ union medical experts on this, and we’re going to continue to follow those guidelines.”
When the Pelicans return to action on July 30 against Utah at Disney’s ESPN Wide World of Sports complex outside of Orlando, Florida, they will be 3½ games out of the Western Conference’s final playoff spot with eight games left.
Because of the NBA’s decision to base seeding on winning percentage, New Orleans and Sacramento also are effectively one game behind Portland for the ninth spot. This season, finishing ninth — as well as within four games of eighth — offers a “play-in” opportunity to qualify for the postseason by beating the eighth seed two straight times.
Grinnell College in Iowa says it will cancel football and other fall sports because of concerns about the coronavirus.
The Division III school announced it would cancel sports including football, soccer, golf, cross-country and volleyball. The college, located in the small city of Grinnell about 45 miles east of Des Moines, competes in the Midwest Conference.
The college says in a statement: “We have approached every decision about the coming school year, including this one, using a public health framework that prioritizes the health and safety of our students, faculty, staff and community.”
The decision comes less than a year after the college canceled much of its football season because its roster had dwindled to 28 players due to injuries. Grinnell had planned to resume football this year.
Members of the Carolina Hurricanes have returned to their home ice at PNC Arena as the team began voluntary training sessions amid the second phase of the NHL’s return plan.
In a video conference with reporters, captain Jordan Staal said the players went through safety protocols that included wearing a mask and getting a temperature check when arriving at the arena, as well as “keeping your distance as best you can.”
The team announced last week that roughly 16 players were expected to participate, divided into two groups, with workouts closed to the public and media.
Staal said the goal was “feeling the ice again” while running some drills. He said his group included All-Star defenseman Dougie Hamilton. Hamilton broke his left leg in January, but the team has said he should be ready to go if the season resumes.
“Hopefully we can get through this Phase 2 and 3 unscathed, and get in the bubble and go from there,” Staal said.
Training camps may open as early as July 10 if an agreement between the league and players on virus testing, health and safety protocols, and “hub” cities to host the games can be reached.
The LPGA Tour lost another tournament when the Canadian Women’s Open was canceled because of travel restrictions and quarantine requirements from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The CP Women’s Open was scheduled for Sept. 3-6 at Shaughnessy Golf and Country Club in Vancouver. The LPGA Tour and Golf Canada say it will return to Shaughnessy the last week in August next year.
“I understand this was a tough decision for everyone involved, but given the restrictions faced, there was simply nothing else that could be done that would have enabled us to run the event in 2020,” LPGA Commissioner Mike Whan says.
The rest of the rugby sevens world series has been canceled and New Zealand declared winners of the men’s and women’s titles.
The Hong Kong, Singapore, Langford, London and Paris legs were postponed but World Rugby canceled them after discussion with all of the host unions.
New Zealand was awarded the titles for leading the standings when the coronavirus pandemic stopped the series after six of the 10 men’s rounds and four of the five women’s rounds.
South Africa was second and Fiji third in the men’s series. Australia was second and Canada third in the women’s.
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