27 Mar 2020

Today's sports news: What you need to know

7:55 am on 27 March 2020

Latest - The National Rugby League's top earners are facing pay cuts of a million dollars as the sport prepares for an end to their season.

A dejected Warriors captain Roger Tuivasa-Sheck.

Roger Tuivasa-Sheck Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The NRL and Players Association will meet again today to finalise a financial package for its 500 players who are facing no more competition this year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Some NRL players will be asked to take a pay cut of up to 87 per cent if the season is to end completely.

The Rugby League Players Association board met last night to discuss their response and they're due to meet with the NRL again today.

The Sydney Morning Herald is reporting that players have floated the possibility off all players receiving a pro-rata salary of $105,000 for the next three months to ensure those most financially vulnerable aren't left behind.

It would mean some of the game's biggest earners, including Warriors skipper Roger Tuivasa-Sheck would be taking pay cuts of about a million dollars.


Fund set up for Bundesliga

Four of Germany's biggest football clubs have joined forces to create a solidarity fund of almost $40 million to help sides in the top two divisions during the coronavirus pandemic.

Bayern Munich's players and the team pose with the trophy after the German First division Bundesliga football match FC Bayern Munich v Eintracht Frankfurt in Munich, 2019.

Bayern Munich Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Borussia Dortmund, Bayern Munich, RB Leipzig and Bayer Leverkusen have come together in a bid to stave off a potential financial crisis with football suspended until at least April 30.

The Bundesliga and second division were set to resume on April 4 but German football's organising body's executive committee has recommended the season be suspended until at least April 30, which will further impact revenues of clubs across the country.

Dortmund said the four clubs, who participated in the Champions League this season, will forego their share of the national media revenue - approximately $25 million - while adding an additional $15 million of their own.


Tour de France could go ahead

This year's Tour de France may still go ahead despite the worldwide coronavirus pandemic, but without roadside spectators.

Tour de France peloton on the Champs-Elysees 2019.


Following the postponement of the Euro 2020 football championships and the Tokyo Olympics, the Tour de France - which takes place in June and July - is one of the last major global sporting events that's not yet been cancelled or postponed.

France's sports minister says they've imposed spectator bans for other competitions before.

The Giro d'Italia, set for May 9-31, has been postponed, while a decision is still to be made on the final Grand Tour of the year, the Vuelta a Espana, which is due to start on August 14.

The 2020 Olympic Games and football's Euro 2020 are among the major events already postponed.


Nadal calls for coronavirus support

Tennis legend Rafael Nadal has issued a rallying cry and called on Spanish athletes to help raise $22 million to help fight the coronavirus pandemic.

Rafael Nadal. Spanish tennis player.

Rafa Nadal Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Spain is one of the most badly affected countries in the world with over 56,000 cases and the country's parliament voted to extend the coronavirus lockdown to at least April 12 after the death toll rose to over 4,000 today.

Nadal said he spoke with Spanish NBA star Pau Gasol about what they could do to help and came up with the initiative to support the Red Cross in procuring protective equipment and infrastructure to assist vulnerable families in Spain affected by the virus.

"The objective is clear, it's to raise 11 million euros to help 1.35 million people. We trust that all of Spanish sport comes on board."

Nadal joins a list of athletes helping out the needy, with Roger Federer also announcing yesterday that he was donating $2 millionto vulnerable families in his native Switzerland.

Lionel Messi and Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola had each donated one million euros to help clinics and medical centres fight the outbreak while Cristiano Ronaldo donated lifesaving equipment to Portuguese hospitals.


McLaren team arrives home

Formula One team McLaren now have all their employees home from Australia after a period in quarantine following a positive test at the cancelled season-opener in Melbourne.

Sixteen members of the team spent two weeks in quarantine, 14 due to close contact with a colleague who had tested positive while an additional employee also developed symptoms but subsequently tested negative.

Three members of the team's senior management had also stayed in Australia.

McLaren are now in a factory shutdown until April 14.

The 10 Formula One teams agreed to cancel their usual August break and bring the shutdown forward to save costs, protect staff and in the hope of being able to go racing again in the European summer.

Apart from Australia, the showcase Monaco Grand Prix in May has also been cancelled and six other rounds are postponed.

Formula One has said it hopes eventually to hold a reduced season of 15-18 races.


Spanish MotoGP canned

The Spanish Grand Prix has become the fifth race of the MotoGP season to be postponed because of coronavirus.

The race in Jerez was intended to be the start of the MotoGP motorcycle season following the cancellation of the original season opener in Qatar.

Races in Thailand, the United States and Argentina have also been postponed.

Organisers said a new date for the Spanish race could not be confirmed until the worldwide coronavirus situation became clearer.

They added that a revised calendar would be published as soon as it was available.


ICC opens up archives

Footage of classic cricket matches has been made available for fans who are isolating because of coronavirus.

Kane Williamson after the final.

Kane Williamson Photo: Photosport

Video of International Cricket Council events dating back to the 1975 World Cup will be available to broadcasters.

Highlights and tournament recaps will be shown on the ICC's social media channels and there will be 'Watch Parties' of iconic games.

ICC chief Manu Sawhney said: "The need to connect with our fan communities is perhaps greater than ever."

Video will be available from men and women's 50-over and T20 World Cups, as well as the Champions Trophy and Under-19 World Cups.

It means New Zealand fans will be able to watch a repeat of last year's heartbreaking loss by the Black Caps in the World Cup final.

There will also be a behind the scenes film from the 2019 men's World Cup, which England won in a thrilling finale at Lord's.

"We hope this move will help our broadcast partners and give cricket fans the opportunity to relive some of the great cricketing moments," chief executive Sawhney added.


Haas sign up test drivers

Brazilian Pietro Fittipaldi and Swiss racer Louis Deletraz have been appointed official test and reserve drivers for the Haas Formula One team.

Both have tested and carried out simulator work for the U.S.-owned team in the past.

With the Formula One season yet to start due to the coronavirus pandemic, the pair are also expected to represent Haas in the next edition of the esports virtual grand prix series.

Miami-born Brazilian Fittipaldi, the 23-year-old grandson of double world champion Emerson, raced in the German Touring Car series last year while also carrying out the test driver role at Haas.

Deletraz, 22, will continue to race in Formula Two.


Utah cameraman in coma

A cameraman who filmed inside the Utah Jazz locker room during their NBA game in Detroit earlier this month is reportedly in a medically induced coma after testing positive for the coronavirus.

The man has not been identified, but a close friend told Yahoo! Sports that the 50-year-old began feeling ill a week after the game and was taken to a hospital on March 18.

Friends and co-workers said the man regularly works as a camera operator on NBA broadcasts at Little Caesars Arena.

Jazz center Rudy Gobert was the first NBA player to test positive for COVID-19 on March 11, prompting the league to suspend the regular season.

Utah teammate Donovan Mitchell and Pistons forward Christian Wood also tested positive. Wood's agent said yesterday that his client has "fully recovered" from the coronavirus.