7 May 2020

Today's sports news: What you need to know

10:51 am on 7 May 2020

Latest - Former world heavyweight champion Mike Tyson has been offered $1 million to fight Aussie heavyweights Paul Gallen, Barry Hall or Sonny Bill Williams in Australia by Melbourne-based promoter Brian Amatruda.

Sonny Bill Williams boxer.


"I'd hold it at Melbourne Arena where we'd get over 10,000 or even Princes Park where they got 30,000 for Jeff Fenech versus Azumah Nelson," Amatruda said to the Daily Mail.

"He might be 53 years old but he's still a huge name and any of those blokes Hall, Gallen or Sonny Bill would jump at the chance to get into the ring with him. I'd make it part of a card with a world title fight for Tayla (Harris) on it. It would be enormous. Not just a fight, it would be an event!"


Fury-Wilder III won't happen behind closed doors

There is no chance of a rematch between world heavyweight boxing champion Tyson Fury and American Deontay Wilder going ahead without a crowd, the Briton's promoter Frank Warren has said.

Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury box during their WBC heavyweight title bout at MGM Grand Garden Arena. 2020.


Fury overwhelmed Wilder in their Las Vegas rematch in February, seizing the WBC crown with a seventh round stoppage. They had previously fought to a draw in December 2018.

A third bout between the two was set for Las Vegas in July but that was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic and now looks unlikely to happen before November or December at the earliest.

The British Boxing Board of Control is hoping to resume professional boxing in Britain in July but with strict conditions and no spectators.

"There is no chance of Fury v Wilder behind closed doors," said Warren.

Promoter Bob Arum said last month a delay could be even longer because of the importance of gate receipts.


NBA could start training this weekend

NBA basketball teams are expected to get the go-ahead to reopen practice facilities for limited use as early as Saturday, less than two months after the coronavirus outbreak forced the suspension of the season.

With head and assistant coaches barred and scrimmages forbidden, the workouts are unlikely to resemble business as usual for the NBA but would nonetheless be a step towards normalcy for a league whose season was upended in dramatic fashion in March.

Players will be required to wear face masks inside team facilities, "except during the period when they are engaged in physical activity," according to a league memo.

Teams must also thoroughly disinfect any equipment used, from basketballs to weight-room equipment.

Modifications to stay-at-home orders could play a factor in which teams can resume workouts, with some U.S. states reopening and others maintaining strict social distancing procedures.


Rally NZ still on at this stage

This year's Rally New Zealand remains on the WRC schedule at this stage, but a final decision will be left up to local organisers.

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Hayden Paddon Photo: Supplied

WRC has updated it's 2020 calendar following the potponement of the Argentina and Italy rounds and the cancellation of Portugal because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The next scheduled round is in Kenya in the middle of July followed by Finland and New Zealand.

WRC says organisers of the New Zealand round will have to make their own assesement before the end of May.

Rally New Zealand is scheduled to run from September 3-6.


RA appoints interim CEO

Rob Clarke has been appointed interim CEO of Rugby Australia.

Australian rugby administrator Rob Clarke.

Rob Clarke Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The appointment follows the resignation of board director Peter Wiggs who had been endorsed to become Rugby Australia chairman.

Wiggs stepped down after his failed bid to install the Australian Olympic boss Matt Carroll as CEO.

Clarke is a former chief operating officer at Rugby Australia and has also served as CEO at the Super Rugby club the Melbourne Rebels.

Clarke plans on only remaining in the role for 3-6 months and is adamant he will not be a candidate for the permanent role.

Speaking to RUGBY.com.au after his appointment, Clarke said his first priority would be on helping rugby return to the field and then on shoring up an agreement with broadcasters both for 2020 and then beyond.

Rugby Australia were on the verge of finalising their 2021 deal just as the coronavirus shutdown struck and have not been able to resume talks since.


Australian PM says no jab, no play.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison says players who refuse to get a flu shot should be banned from competing in the NRL.

Mr Morrison was adamant players should abide by a "no jab, no play" policy after Gold Coast player Bryce Cartwright polarised the rugby league community with his anti-vaccination stance.

Cartwright rejected a request to be vaccinated as part of strict measures to restart the NRL competition on May 28 and must now explain his actions to NRL chief medical officer Paul Bloomfield.

"When I was social services minister I started the 'no jab, no play' rule into the childcare facilities," Mr Morrison told 2GB radio.

An NRL spokesperson said players who refused to receive the shot would be dealt with on a case-by-case basis in consultation with club and NRL medical staff.


Turkey still planning on hosting Champions League final

Turkey plans to host the Champions League football final in late August and will resume its domestic leagues without fans on June 12 after a three-month suspension caused by the coronavirus outbreak.

Istanbul's Ataturk Olympic Stadium was scheduled to host the showpiece final this year but European football's governing body UEFA suspended the competition on March 23.

However, Turkish Football Federation chairman Nihat Ozdemir said Europe's elite club final was being planned for the end of August, and that details on the format and timing would be finalised after talks with health officials and UEFA.

He also said Turkish soccer leagues, including the top tier Super Lig, would resume from June 12 without spectators and finish on July 26. The Super Lig schedule will involve seven weekend games and one weekday match, he said.

Earlier this week, Turkey's top soccer clubs resumed limited training sessions in accordance with measures set out by the TFF last week.


Warning EPL could be cancelled

The English Premier League season could be cancelled if teams did not agree to play the remaining 92 fixtures in neutral venues amid the COVID-19 pandemic, League Managers Association chief executive Richard Bevan said.

Professional football has been suspended since mid-March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has killed more than 32,000 people in the United Kingdom, the highest death toll in Europe.

Discussions are continuing about resuming matches after clubs were told on a Premier League conference call earlier this month that only neutral venues approved from a health and safety point of view will be allowed.

Asked if the 2019/20 campaign would be cancelled if teams voted against playing in neutral venues, Bevan told the BBC https://www.bbc.com/sport/football/52558225: "Yes, I think that probably is correct."

Brighton & Hove Albion and Aston Villa are opposed to the idea of playing their remaining games at neutral venues and LMA chief Bevan said clubs needed to get on board with the proposal if the season was to go ahead.

Brighton chief Paul Barber had previously said playing in neutral venues would have a "material effect on the integrity of the competition."


Players help out Standard Liege

Money from former players Marouane Fellaini and Axel Witsel has helped save Standard Liege from expulsion from Belgium's top football competition after they successfully appealed the withdrawal of their professional licence.

Former Manchester United and Everton midfielder Fellaini, now playing in China, has loaned the $5 million,while Borussia Dortmund's Witsel has invested in a company that has bought the club's stadium and will rent it back to them.

The Belgian football association last month withdrew Standard's license amid mounting debts, effectively relegating the club to the fourth tier of Belgian football.

However, an appeal to the country's sports arbitration court proved successful, club spokesman Olivier Smeets said.

Standard, who finished third behind Arsenal and Eintracht Frankfurt in their Europa League group this season, were in fifth place in the Belgian league when it was suspended in March.