Coronavirus in Sport LIVE: La Liga on June 12, F1 British Grand Prix in government talks, Premier League LATEST – The Sun

THE Premier League is a step closer after the return of players to training, but N'Golo Kante and Troy Deeney will not have to train after concerns over coronavirus.

Meanwhile LaLiga is setting a much brisker pace as it has pencilled in June 12 for the first fixture back – Sevilla vs Betis.

Follow all the latest coronavirus in sport updates below…

 

  • STRICTLY BALL ROOM

    With the Gunners back in training at London Colney, Arsenal have underlined what a different world it is practicing under the coronavirus lockdown.

    In a statement on their website, they say: Our first-team squad is strictly abiding to the Government protocols which were developed with club doctors, independent experts, players and managers.

    “They will undergo regular testing for COVID-19 and must keep a safe, two-metre distance from each other at all times as they work outside.

    “Only players and key staff are permitted at London Colney at this time.

    Our players must bring their own kit, boots and water bottles with them each day.”

  • MENTAL BATTLE

    Bayern boss Hansi Flick says the race for the Bundesliga title behind closed doors will be won in the minds almost as much as on the pitch.

    With his leaders hosting Eintracht Frankfurt in an empty Allianz Arena on Saturday, Flick said: “What is decisive is mentality.

    “Obviously it is an advantage if you have higher quality on the pitch, but this is a situation which is not very easy.”

  • WORTH THE W-EIGHT?

    Leicester Tigers boss Geordan Murphy claims rugby union stars need EIGHT WEEKS of pre-season training to return.

    Just days after Bristol Bears boss Pat Lam reckoned it would take his stars a month to get into shape, Murphy delivered a hammer-blow for a sport that can't agree on anything.

    Premiership Rugby boss Darren Childs' ludicrous claim that they wanted to be the first sport back on TV is in tatters and now their chances of completing this season with the final at Twickenham on August 15, now look shot too.

    Last night it was confirmed that there would be no training for at least TWO weeks – despite being given the all-clear by the government.

    And Leicester boss Murphy said: “We obviously have goals for ourselves in order to get the guys fit. That would be, realistically, a couple of months.

    “Rugby is very different to football. Our players have been hugely impressive throughout this period, keeping themselves very fit and attacking training in a strong way.”

  • BERLIN DERBY

    We'll have rolling coverage of the Berlin derby between Hertha and Union tonight.

    The two sides face off at the Olympic Stadium in the German capital for the first time since lockwdown.

    We'll kick things off from 6.15pm ahead of kick off at 7.30pm.

  • FLICK THE SWITCH

    Bayern Munich players must work harder to motivate each other to maintain a winning mentality while playing in empty stadiums, coach Hansi Flick said on Friday.

    The Bundesliga became the first major sports league to restart last week after more than two months following an easing of COVID-19 pandemic restrictions in Germany, but games are played without fans for health safety reasons.

    Flick said ahead of the Bundesliga leaders’ match with Eintracht Frankfurt: “What is decisive is mentality.

    “Obviously it is an advantage if you have higher quality on the pitch but this is a situation which is not very easy.

    “It is key that you bring that mentality to the pitch. It is important that the team pushes itself so as to cover the level of motivation that has gone missing with the empty stands.”

  • BAME CONCERNS

    The Government will today be asked for immediate research on whether BAME players are at enhanced risk by the planned return to contact training, reports MARTIN LIPTON.

    PFA deputy chief executive Bobby Barnes will urge the country’s deputy chief medical officer, Jonathan Van Tam, to intercede and demand proper answers.

    The fears of the players has been articulated by Watford’s Troy Deeney, worried about the impact of potential Covid-19 infection on his five-year-old son.

    Chelsea have also given fearful N’Golo Kante dispensation not to return to training unless he feels confident in his health and safety.

    But while Barnes has previously spoken to Premier League chiefs over the concerns, asking for more research to be undertaken before the green light can be given by the players, the union chief will now press the issue again.

    By going direct to Van Tam at a three-way video meeting this afternoon, also attended virtually by League bosses and medical chiefs, Barnes wants to make it clear that the issue must be properly addressed before players will assent to a full training ground return.

  • ASSEMBLY INSTRUCTIONS

    Cardiff and Swansea have been cleared to return to training in line with EFL protocols, the Welsh Assembly government has confirmed.

    There had been fears Welsh clubs would not be able to follow sides in the rest of the Championship in coming back to their training grounds next week.

    That was due to the coronavirus stance from the country’s government being more stringent than in England.

    But the Welsh government has now confirmed both the Swans and Bluebirds will be able to proceed like the rest of the clubs in the second tier.

    A statement from Dafydd Elis Thomas, deputy minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism, read: “In a professional sporting context, this means that training for our professional sportspeople can continue provided the clubs – as employers – can take all reasonable measures to maintain physical distancing in the workplace, whether that’s at a training ground or at a stadium.”

  • THUMBS UP FOR MAGPIES

    Newcastle’s players have all tested negative for coronavirus, according to the club’s doctor.

    Sky Sports’ Keith Downie revealed Paul Catterson has been keeping on top of the players’ fitness with a cutting-edge smartphone app.

  • ABIDE WITH ME

    Jamie Carragher wants to see the FA Cup given a starring role in a “World Cup” style tournament after the Premier League season ends.

    Carragher wrote in the Telegraph: “I would love to see this season’s FA Cup rescheduled to resemble the final stages of a World Cup, all the remaining games played after the conclusion of the Premier League.

    “Imagine it. Quarter-finals could be played on the Friday and Saturday after the last Premier League weekend.

    “Midweek semi-finals could then be immediately followed by the final, the competition concluded in eight days.

    “It could be a thrilling finale to a season which, in the Premier League at least, is all about the top four and relegation places once play resumes.”

  • SAVING FACE

    Eric Bailly has cruised into Manchester United training wearing a facemask after being chauffeur-driven to training.

    The Ivorian and his team-mates trained again today along with the rest of the United squad.

    David De Gea has been sporting a long beard and moustache as he cruised in for his workout.

    SEE THE REST OF THE UNITED SQUAD ARRIVING AT TRAINING HERE

  • DANI’S DATE

    Has Arsenal midfielder Dani Ceballos revealed the start date for the Premier League?

    The Spaniard, on loan from Real Madrid, has suggested the players are getting ready to restart on June 20.

    The 23-year-old told RTVE: “We are going to start a week late with respect to what is being talked about in Spain, which is June 12, and we are going to start the league on the 20th.

    “Forty-eight hours ago we passed the tests and the truth is that the entire team have given a negative result.”

  • FORTNIGHT'S A LONG TIME

    The British Grand Prix is on a knife-edge because of wrangling over a 14-day quarantine period.

    According to The Sun's political editor Tom Newton-Dunn, the Home Secretary Priti Patel is engaged in talks with organisers over this very point.

    He tweeted: “Will there be a 70th anniversary Silverstone grand prix this year?

    “Not if Formula 1 drivers aren't exempted from 14 days quarantine.

    “I'm told tense deliberations still ongoing in Govt about it even now ahead of Priti Patel's 5pm press conference. Going down to the chequered flag.”

  • SEAMS GOOD TO ME!

    Joffra Archer is looking forward to getting back on to the cricket pitch.

  • GRAZIE

    Italy and Juventus legend Alessandro Del Piero has thanked medical staff in Italy, who held up his shirt in their PPE.

    He posted on Instagram a quote from Sophocles, saying: “The most beautiful human work is to be useful to others.”

    Italy has been one of the worst-hit countries in the world with 32,400 deaths.

    View this post on Instagram

    L'opera umana più bella è di essere utile al prossimo. (Sofocle) cit. #adp10 #n10losangeles #enjoy #community

    A post shared byAlessandro Del Piero (@alessandrodelpiero) on

  • KICKED INTO TOUCH

    Rugby was plunged into chaos as Leicester Tigers boss Geordan Murphy broke ranks and admitted they needed EIGHT WEEKS of pre-season training to return.

    Just days after Bristol Bears boss Pat Lam reckoned it would take his stars a month to get into shape, Murphy delivered a hammer-blow for a sport that can't agree on anything.

    Premiership Rugby boss Darren Childs' ludicrous claim that they wanted to be the first sport back on TV is in tatters and now their chances of completing this season with the final at Twickenham on August 15, now look shot too.

    Last night it was confirmed that there would be no training for at least TWO weeks – despite being given the all-clear by the government.

    And Leicester boss Murphy said: “We obviously have goals for ourselves in order to get the guys fit. That would be, realistically, a couple of months.

    “Rugby is very different to football. Our players have been hugely impressive throughout this period, keeping themselves very fit and attacking training in a strong way.”

  • TURN THE LIG-HTS ON

    LaLiga is reportedly set to return on June 12 with the Seville derby between Sevilla and Real Betis.

    According to 'El Partidazo de COPE', league president Javier Tebas was looking for a key match to mark the comeback of Spain's top-flight.

    The report adds that the 57-year-old plans to make the date official on May 28 when he relays the updated fixture list to the top-two divisions.

    Sevilla sporting director Monchi, as quoted by Football Espana, said: “There is no better way for LaLiga to return than this derby.

    “It will be one more incentive, as we are all looking forward to football returning and that first match will be magnificent.”

  • I WANT A CLEAN FIGHT

    Boxer Lawrence Okolie has been training in his back garden and SunSport's resident snapper RICHARD PELHAM is on hand to get the best pictures.

    There were fears – from fellow bruiser Luke Campbell – he wouldn't be able to keep his rented house in Hackney clean, because he's a bit messy.

    Okolie told WALLY DOWNES JR: “Since I have been back in London on lockdown I have been renting my own place and doing all my own cleaning.

    “I have also been able to help renovate my mum’s place with my brother. We laid a new floor and other things.”

    READ SUNSPORT'S EXCLUSIVE WITH OKOLIE HERE

  • NO-GOLO

    Chelsea will not try to compel N'Golo Kante to return even if he misses the rest of the Premier League campaign, according to reports.

    The Frenchman reported to the Blues training ground for testing earlier in the week but has now been given compassionate leave due to concerns about coronavirus.

    And The Star claim that the Blues are willing to return to match action without Kante if he does not feel it is safe.

    The midfielder is known to have health concerns after he collapsed in front of team-mates two years ago, while his older brother tragically died of a heart attack and his father passed away when he was just 11 years old.

  • EXCLUSIVE

    Newcastle United’s £300million takeover is done, reports NEIL CUSTIS.

    The Premier League will give the green light for Amanda Staveley’s Saudi-backed consortium to take charge of the St James’ Park club — when the transfer of funds are sorted.

    There had been a delay while authorities work on Project Restart as they try to get the game up and running amid the Covid-19 crisis.

    SunSport understands the League’s owners and directors test found no barrier to the takeover.

    Financier Staveley, who is fronting the bid, is expecting official word next week.

    Then once the funds and paperwork are sorted an announcement will be made on or around June 1.

  • GOOD MORNING SPORT FANS
    QPR captain Grant Hall has joined a growing camp of players who think it is too dangerous for football to return.
    Watford striker Troy Deeney is refusing to train while Danny Rose slammed Project Restart as “b*****ks”, with Raheem Sterling and Tammy Abraham also expressing concern.
    Hall, 28, has just become a father to a baby girl.
    And he told SunSport: “Troy has refused to go back because he’s worried about his son’s health. Rightly, he’s putting his safety in front of football.
    “It’s hard to see how football can return. It’s not just us as players, we must worry about our families.”
    Leeds and West Brom will be promoted back to the Premier League should the Championship season be scrapped due to the coronavirus pandemic.
    The EFL have released a statement saying the season will be decided using the unweighted points-per-game system if the campaign is called off.
    Elsewhere Tottenham are set to fine Serge Aurier a maximum £140,000 for breaking lockdown for a third time.
    The right-back landed himself in hot water again after publishing a photo on Instagram of himself getting a haircut from a barber.
    And the Olympics would have to be cancelled if coronavirus stops the Games from going ahead next summer, as revealed by IOC chief Thomas Bach.
    Tokyo 2020 was pushed back to next summer as the pandemic swept the globe.

  • CASH WOE

    Ed Woodward's summing up of the current crisis is alarming, even if you are not a Manchester United fan.

    The executive vice-chairman told investors the Covid-19 outbreak represented “one of the most extraordinary and testing periods in the 142-year history of Manchester United”.

    It is quite a statement when you consider that in that time, to quote managing director Richard Arnold, “this club has endured two World Wars, a global depression, the credit crunch and a previous pandemic”.

    Not to mention the tragedy of Munich.

    But as Arnold added “the economic ramifications from this global pandemic will continue to resonate for years to come”.

  • DON'T TAKE FOR GRANTED

    Exclusive by Justin Allen

    QPR captain Grant Hall has joined a growing camp of players who think it is too dangerous for football to return.

    Watford striker Troy Deeney is refusing to train while Danny Rose slammed Project Restart as “b*****ks”, with Raheem Sterling and Tammy Abraham also expressing concern.

    Hall, 28, has just become a father to a baby girl.

    And he told SunSport: “Troy has refused to go back because he’s worried about his son’s health. Rightly, he’sputting his safety in front of football.

    “It’s hard to see how football can return. It’s not just us as players, we must worry about our families.

    “We’ve been told we’re getting tested twice a week and once that gets rolling you’ll see players diagnosed withCovid-19 like we did on Tuesday with the six from the Premier League.

    “It’s getting to the point wherefootball must get moving if we’re to finish the season, but it’s got to be safe and I see it as difficult to make safe.”

  • 'HOLY GRAIL' – Exclusive by Wally Downes Jr

    Derek Chisora is ready to fight anywhere in the world to land his dream all-British world title clash with Anthony Joshua.

    The Finchley bruiser is waiting in the wings to face Oleksandr Usyk, the undefeated superstar the WBO have mandated to face AJ.

    The COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown has postponed the O2 event but Chisora’s manager David Haye confirmed to SunSport that Chisora has his gear packed and is ready to head anywhere that is willing to host the showdown.

    The Hayemaker said: “Derek Chisora is fit and ready to fight and that is and always has been his thing.

    “As long as there is a ring and a referee who can count to 10, Derek will be there. He is not a primadonna, he just wants the shot that he deserves.

    “Usyk is the WBO mandatory challenger for Anthony Joshua’s title, so when Derek wins he takes that mantle and sets up a great all-British fight that nobody would have thought they would ever have seen in AJ vs Derek Chisora.

  • MOR TO COME

    Derby County chairman Mel Morris is hopeful the Championship will resume next month.

    But he admits if there is a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic, then he would vote for long-time pacesetters Leeds United and West Brom to be promoted to the Premier League.

    Morris told Rams TV: “Let’s face it there is no guarantee, even if we kick off in June that we will see the season out.

    “Because if we are hit with a blight of players being infected with this dreaded disease then it will bring things to a rapid halt.

    “In terms of whether the season is played out, or not, let's face it if you stop the season now you will be hard pressed to say that the top two probably shouldn't just be promoted automatically.

    “Certainly, if I was asked to vote for that, I would vote for that.

    “The situation regarding the play-offs, that is probably a bit more tricky in terms of those (teams) probably one or two points away from the play-off zone at the moment. That might be a bit unfair, but you have got to draw the line somewhere.

    “It’s challenging but we’ve got to decide it some way or another. There are going to be some winners and some losers.”

  • MASTERPLAN

    Prem clubs have been sent the new “contact training” guidelines – as the second wave of Covid-19 testing began.

    Tuesday’s planned meeting to discuss the Stage Two protocols allowing full training has been pushed back 24 hours to give the clubs a chance to liaise with their players and medical staff.

    But League bosses are hoping that the extra time will allow the clubs to agree a restart date for the critical next phase at Wednesday’s virtual meeting of the 20 “shareholders”.

    The guidelines, described by League insiders as a “first draft”, are based on the elite sports rules due to be published by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport today.

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