6 Jun 2020

Today's sports news: What you need to know

10:55 am on 6 June 2020

Basketball great Michael Jordan and his Jordan Brand have pledged $US100 million ($NZ153 million) over the next 10 years to organisations dedicated to ensuring racial equality.

The former NBA basketball star Michael Jordan.

The former NBA basketball star Michael Jordan. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The announcement came as protesters have taken to the streets in US cities over systemic racism and police brutality, following the death last week of an unarmed black man, George Floyd, while a white policeman knelt on his neck in Minneapolis.

"Black lives matter. This isn't a controversial statement," read a statement from Jordan and his Jordan Brand.

"Until the ingrained racism that allows our country's institutions to fail is completely eradicated, we will remain committed to protecting and improving the lives of Black people."

Jordan, a six-time NBA champion who led the Chicago Bulls' dynasty in the 1990s, is a Basketball Hall of Famer who owns the Charlotte Hornets.

Earlier this week, Jordan voiced outrage over the Floyd incident, saying he was "truly pained and plain angry" and that he stood with those "calling out the ingrained racism and violence toward people of colour in our country."

- Reuters

Storm outlast Rabbitohs

The Storm have outlasted the Rabbitohs for a 22-8 NRL in Melbourne.

Cameron Smith

Cameron Smith Photo: Photosport

After taking an 8-6 lead into halftime of Friday night's match, the home side's lead remained two going into the final quarter.

But they finished the stronger of the two teams, a pair of tries in the last 15 minutes securing victory.

Five-eighth Cameron Munster was a standout for the Storm, setting up two tries.

"Cameron did a terrific job and I thought it was a carry on from last week," Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy said.

Fans flock to football

Thousands of fans have poured into stadiums in Vietnam as the country resumed top-flight football without social distancing measures or curbs on crowd sizes.

Matches in Vietnam's professional league were suspended in March but with no coronavirus deaths and just 328 confirmed cases, the communist country is eagerly pursuing a return to normality to get its economy back on track.

The stadium in Nam Dinh was close to its 30,000 capacity as the home side lost 2-1 to visitors Viettel in one of three opening V. League matches, where spectators stood shoulder-to-shoulder with few face masks to be seen.

Vietnam has won praise for its aggressive coronavirus testing and a mass, centralised quarantine programme, putting it on course to revive its economy sooner than others.

The V. League's decision to pick up exactly where it left off bucks a global pattern of countries preparing to restart leagues without supporters, while discussing changes to rules to handle fixture backlogs, the lack of atmosphere or fears about fans gathering outside grounds.

- Reuters

German league fine players

Borussia Dortmund's Jadon Sancho and Manuel Akanji have been fined an unspecified amount by the German Football League (DFL) for failing to wear face masks during a visit from a hair dresser.

Borussia Dortmund's Jadon Sancho.

Borussia Dortmund's Jadon Sancho. Photo: Photosport/ActionPlus

The DFL said both players had broken the health guidelines that have governed Bundesliga clubs and players since the league restarted amid the COVID-19 pandemic on May 16.

Six Dortmund players, including England international Sancho and Akanji, got their hair cut by the hairdresser who then asked some of them to take pictures with him.

Sancho, 20, responded on Twitter, describing the decision as an "absolute joke".

Bundesliga matches are played without fans and teams must adhere to strict health guidelines that regulate the process and operation of training sessions and games.

- Reuters

Another step for Fatialofa

Former Hurricanes lock Michael Fatialofa has been discharged from hospital in England six months after sustaining a serious spinal injury.

Fatialofa, who helped the 'Canes win the 2016 Super Rugby title, suffered a severe contusion of the spinal cord while playing for Worcester against Saracens.

The 27-year-old former Barbarians representative has spent the last four months in the Royal Buckinghamshire Hospital in Aylesbury, just north of London, and the Warriors will support the next stage of his recovery.

- PA

F1 races get extension

Some of the European circuits due to host races without spectators on Formula One's initial 2020 calendar have been given one-year contract extensions to compensate for lost revenues.

Charles Leclerc has put Ferrari on pole position for the Monza F1.

Charles Leclerc has put Ferrari on pole position for the Monza F1. Photo: Photosport

Organisers of the Hungarian, Italian and Belgian Grands Prix, which stand to lose out on tickets sales, revealed new deals.

Formula One, whose season has yet to start due to the COVID-19 pandemic, announced an eight-round schedule this week with the season starting in Austria on July 5.

Austria's Red Bull Ring and Britain's Silverstone will both have two races each with Hungary, Spain, Belgium and Italy hosting the remainder.

- Reuters

IndyCar season set to go green

IndyCar drivers eager to get back behind the wheel will face a test unlike any other this weekend when, with limited practice, they kick off a season delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic on one of the series' trickiest tracks and with no fans in attendance.

The Genesys 300 at the daunting Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth will air as a primetime show in a sports-starved world on Sunday (NZ time) and mark the first time drivers have been in their cars since pre-season testing in February.

Adding to the challenge, drivers will take part in practice, qualifying and the 300-mile race on the same day with a cockpit-protecting wraparound windscreen for the first time and in the intense Texas heat.

The one-day event will be run with strict guidelines to protect participants from COVID-19, and safety measures include limiting the personnel on site and a health screening system administered to all participants.

- Reuters