18 Jun 2020

Today's sports news: What you need to know

6:57 am on 18 June 2020

Latest - The Wellington Phoenix players Tim Payne and Oli Sail will both miss the start of the revamped A-League season after copping four game bans for their part in a drunken incident while the team were in isolation in Sydney in March.

Phoenix's Tim Payne makes a pass during the A-League.

Phoenix's Tim Payne makes a pass during the A-League. Photo: Photosport

The pair went on a late-night joy ride in a golf buggy near their quarantine base.

The Phoenix still don't know if they'll be given an exemption to travel to NSW to begin 14 days of team isolation, ahead of the season restart on July the 16th.

Payne last week pleaded guilty to drink-driving at Manly Local Court. He will be sentenced later this month.

The pair won't be available for the first four games of the restarted A-league season, which is set to begin on July 16th.

Wales rugby seeks loan

The Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) is working on securing a loan that will help keep the professional game alive in Wales as it recovers from the financial shock of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Last week, WRU chairman Gareth Davies said the effect of coronavirus has been "catastrophic", with the governing body projecting a loss of $96 million in revenue if there is no more international rugby played this year.

To combat these uncertain circumstances, the WRU is exploring options for a fresh round of borrowing, much of which will be passed on to its four professional regions - Cardiff Blues, Dragons, Ospreys and Scarlets.


100m champ suspended

World 100 metres champion Christian Coleman, who narrowly escaped a ban last year for missing three doping tests, was provisionally suspended and could miss next year's Tokyo Olympics after again breaching whereabouts rules.

The American sprinter revealed the news on Twitter, but claimed that anti-doping officials had not followed the correct procedure when he missed them after going Christmas shopping on Dec. 9, 2019 at a time when he had said he would be at home.

The Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) later confirmed the ban, and issued a lengthy rebuttal of Coleman's objections.

Three failures to properly file whereabouts information or being absent during the hour stated in a 12-month period can result in a one- or two-year suspension.

Coleman, also a silver medallist in the 100m and 4x100m relay at the 2017 worlds, escaped suspension last year when the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), after receiving guidance from the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) on how to calculate the 12-month window for three missed tests, withdrew the charge.


Champions League to be completed with eight-team tournament in Lisbon

This season's Champions League, suspended in March because of the COVID-19 pandemic, will be completed with an eight-team mini-tournament which will be held in Lisbon in August.

The quarter-finals and semi-finals will be staged over one leg, instead of the usual two, with the final to be held on Aug. 23, UEFA deputy general secretary Giorgio Marchetti said after an executive committee meeting held by video conference.

The four last-16, second leg matches which still have to be played -- Manchester City v Real Madrid, Bayern Munich v Chelsea, Juventus v Olympique Lyonnais and Barcelona v Napoli -- will take place on Aug. 7/8, either at the originally scheduled venues or in Portugal.

Paris St Germain, Atletico Madrid, Atalanta and RB Leipzig have already qualified for the quarter-finals.

UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin said he expected matches to be played without fans, although there was a small chance that could change.


French Open pushed back one week, includes qualifying draw

The re-scheduled French Open will begin a week later on Sept. 27 following a qualifying draw, and will be played in front of fans.

Organisers confirmed the news after the ATP and WTA Tours announced their revised calendars.

The year's second Grand Slam should have started at the end of May but was moved originally by the French Tennis Federation (FTT) to a Sept. 20-Oct. 4 slot after the coronavirus pandemic forced a suspension of tennis.

An FFT statement said it had consulted with the ATP, WTA and International Tennis Federation (ITF) to allow the Roland-Garros showpiece the benefit of an extra week.

The three-week span means that, unlike the U.S. Open that starts on Aug. 31, a qualifying event can be held.

The U.S. Open, which will be played without fans, will finish on Sept. 13 before a short claycourt swing leading to Paris.

While warning that everything was dependant on the COVID-19 crisis continuing to abate in France, the FFT says the Grand Slam would have fans, but how many would be dictated by government advice.