The Latest: Pro Motocross Championship delays season start

The Associated Press
Associated Press
A general view of Wembley Stadium in London, Tuesday, March 17, 2020. UEFA has formally proposed postponing the 2020 European Championship for one year because of the coronavirus outbreak. The Norwegian soccer association says the new tournament dates will be June 11 to July 11. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)
A general view of Wembley Stadium in London, Tuesday, March 17, 2020. UEFA has formally proposed postponing the 2020 European Championship for one year because of the coronavirus outbreak. The Norwegian soccer association says the new tournament dates will be June 11 to July 11. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

The Latest on the effect of the coronavirus outbreak on sports around the world:

The Pro Motocross Championship has pushed back the start its season until June 13 because of the coronavirus outbreak.

MX Sports Pro Racing, which operates the series, canceled the season-opening Hangtown Classic on Thursday and revised the rest of the schedule a day later.

The opener of the 11-race season now will be in Jacksonville, Florida, followed by a race in Mt. Morris, Pennsylvania, on June 20. The season will conclude Sept. 5 in Pala, California.

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The Seattle Seahawks and CenturyLink Field have committed more than $700,000 to pay part-time employees affected by canceled events at the stadium.

The Seahawks, Vulcan, Inc. and the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation announced a series of supportive efforts in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

The Allen foundation is donating $500,000 to the Seattle Foundation’s COVID-19 response fund, and the Seahawks say they will be making a separate financial donation. Vulcan is also committing $100,000 to support Seattle’s Chinatown-International District. The company has been headquartered in that neighborhood since 2000.

Along with the financial donation, the Seahawks and Portland Trail Blazers hare donating thousands of pounds of unused food to local food banks in the Seattle and Portland areas.

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The National Women’s Soccer League is delaying the start of its season.

The league announced Friday that it is imposing a moratorium on training through April 5, following the guidelines for the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention. Because of that, the season will not start on as planned on April 18.

The NWSL has not announced when the season might start.

“We are considering all possible implications for the preseason and regular season schedules while prioritizing the health and safety of our players, staff and fans,” the league said in a statement.

The nine-team league is embarking on its eighth season. Reign FC was scheduled to play at the Washington Spirit in the season opener on CBS, the league’s new broadcast partner.

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Browns defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi is donating 100,000 meals to the Greater Cleveland Food Bank to help school children who might otherwise go hungry during the coronavirus pandemic.

Ogunjobi said in a posting on Twitter that his donation is intended for kids who typically rely on schools to provide some of their meals.

“Many of these kids, due to the school closings, are no longer getting the meals they depend on from day to day,” Ogunjobi said. “No impact is too big or small. I encourage you to join me as well as many others as we help those in our time of need.”

Ogunjobi has spent three seasons with the Browns, who drafted him in the third round in 2017.

Ogunjobi’s donation came one day after Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield and his wife, Emily, pledged $50,000 to the food bank.

On Friday, Mayfield said he’s donating to Meals on Wheels Norman to help senior citizens in Norman, Oklahoma. Mayfield won the Heisman Trophy as the Sooners quarterback in 2017.

___ Tom Withers reporting from Cleveland.

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The New York Giants are funding a new program at the Meadowlands YMCA to provide childcare at no cost to emergency response personnel for the next 10 weeks.

The Meadowlands YMCA has continued to operate its daycare program in consultation with the Bergen County Department of Health, Hudson Regional Hospital and Hackensack University Medical Center for the children of essential personnel during the COVID-19 crisis. The new funding allows the YMCA to expand the program to up to 42 children.

“Our staff is well-organized and well-trained to manage in this situation,” said David Kisselback, president and CEO of the Meadowlands YMCA, adding that all of its efforts "are being administered with the greatest of care.”

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The Dew Tour skateboarding competition May 7-10 in Long Beach, California, has been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

It was to have been the last Olympic qualifying event in the United States before the Tokyo Olympics.

Organizers hope to set a new date soon. Skateboarding is set to make its Olympic debut this year.

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Major League Soccer is extending the moratorium on team training activities through March 27 and is asking players to stay in their club’s local market during this time.

MLS says team training facilities may be accessed only for physical therapy purposes at the direction of the team’s medical staff and must adhere to safety protocols.

For now, the league is asking players to stay near their clubs and for international players to not leave the country and return home.

MLS announced this week it was following CDC guidelines and postponing all events involving 50 or more people for the next eight weeks. MLS has said it is targeting May 10 as a potential return date.

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One of the major prep races for the Kentucky Derby is being postponed.

Oaklawn Park said Friday the Arkansas Derby will be pushed back from April 11 to May 2.

That's the day the 146th Kentucky Derby was scheduled to be run, but it has been postponed until Sept. 5.

Oaklawn officials said they could have continued live racing with purse money intact through April 18, but after discussions with horsemen decided to reduce purses across the board and keep racing until May.

As a result, the Arkansas Derby purse has been reduced to $750,000 from $1 million. The full 170 points toward Kentucky Derby eligibility will still be awarded since Oaklawn is meeting the minimum purse threshold.

Oaklawn president Louis Cella said if operations return to normal between now and May, they will adjust things accordingly.

A total of 15 stakes races at the track in Hot Springs, Arkansas, have had their purses reduced and dates changed.

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The Florida Panthers have been told by the Florida Department of Health that someone who works part-time at the arena where the team plays its home games has tested positive for the coronavirus.

The arena worker tested positive on March 15, is self-quarantined and receiving medical care. The Panthers were informed by state officials of the positive test on Friday.

The Panthers told all staff who may have come into contact with the employee during their shift, stressing a need to take all precautions and to report any symptoms to Broward County officials.

The employee who tested positive last worked at the arena March 8, when the BB&T Center played host to a concert.

Officials in Florida have confirmed nearly 500 coronavirus cases within the state, and Broward County -- where the Panthers play -- had the most of any county in the state as of Friday with 124, or roughly 25% of the state’s known positive tests.

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USA Swimming's CEO is urging the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee to push for the postponement of the Tokyo Olympics until next year.

Tim Hinchey wrote to USOPC CEO Sarah Hirshland on Friday to advocate on behalf of his governing body's 400,000 members.

Hinchey said athletes' worlds have been turned "upside down" as they struggle to find ways to continue preparing and training for the games. He wrote that "pressing forward amidst the global health crisis this summer is not the answer."

Because of the disruptions in training, Hinchey said going ahead with the Olympics this year “calls into question the authenticity of a level playing field for all.”

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Arthur Blank, owner of the NFL's Atlanta Falcons and MLS Atlanta United, is donating almost $5.4 million to support recovery assistance for the coronavirus pandemic.

The funding, being distributed through his family foundation, is targeted for support in Georgia and Montana.

The foundation will grant $5 million to the Greater Atlanta COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund established by United Way of Greater Atlanta and Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta. The fund is focused on the immediate needs of economically vulnerable populations and will be distributed to nonprofit organizations that address food insecurity, housing stability, medical supports and childcare, among other needs.

A $100,000 grant to Hands On Atlanta will ensure 31 AmeriCorps members can continue to support public schools across metro Atlanta. A $100,000 grant to the Atlanta Police Foundation will help maintain adequate staffing and safety for officers.

Also, Mercedes-Benz Stadium has donated 3.5 tons of food with a $100,000 value, providing more than 2,310 meals to six nonprofit groups in Atlanta.

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No professional cricket will be played in England until May 28 at least.

The England and Wales Cricket Board announced the decision on Friday, two days after suspending all recreational cricket.

The County Championship was due to start on April 12.

The T20 Blast is to start on May 29.

The first international of the season is on June 4 against the West Indies at the Oval, the first of three tests.

The ECB says its working on options to start the season in June, July or August, with an immediate focus on the West Indies series, the T20 Blast, and England Women's matches against India.

“The decision to delay the start of the season has been essential, given the circumstances the nation faces,” ECB chief executive officer Tom Harrison said. “I am reassured by the collaborative effort from across the game that together, we will make the very best of whatever length of season we are able to safely schedule in the coming months."

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Jockeys Irad Ortiz Jr. and Rajiv Maragh have decided to stop riding while horse racing continues in some places without fans amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Ortiz Jr. tweeted that "this is the safest decision for my family and myself." He expressed hope that everyone makes it safely out of the crisis sooner rather than later. He was scheduled to ride Portos in the $1 million Louisiana Derby on Saturday at Fair Grounds Race Course in New Orleans.

The 27-year-old Ortiz is currently leading the jockeys' standings at Gulfstream in Florida with 113 wins. The meet is scheduled to continue through the end of March.

Maragh also said on Twitter that he has stopped riding "for the best chance of staying healthy for myself and family."

The 34-year-old jockey also competes at Gulfstream. Ortiz Jr., Luis Saez and Tyler Gaffalione already said they decided to skip the Dubai World Cup on March 28 because of concerns over travel restrictions and quarantine.

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The NBA says it has launched a program called “NBA Together,” in which it expects to see more than $50 million raised and distributed by the NBA family “to support people impacted by the coronavirus and community and healthcare organizations providing vital services around the world.”

More than half of that money, about $30 million, has already been pledged by teams and players for various things related to the shutdown such as paying displaced arena workers.

The NBA says the program is built around four pillars that will focus on the latest global health and safety information, sharing guidelines and resources, working on mental and physical health, and keeping people socially connected during the pandemic.

The league is also asking fans to combine for “1 million big and small acts of kindness” and wants fans to share those stories by posting photos and videos with the hashtag NBATogether on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and TikTok.

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Live horse racing at Laurel Park in Maryland is being put on hold.

The Maryland Jockey Club said Friday that it made the decision following the executive orders of Gov. Larry Hogan, who has banned large gatherings among other things during the coronavirus pandemic.

MJC said it looks forward to resuming live thoroughbred racing at Laurel and harness racing at Rosecroft Raceway when state and federal political and health leaders say it's appropriate to do so.

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Badminton's Thomas and Uber Cup Finals being staged in Aarhus, Denmark, have been postponed from May 16-24 to Aug. 15-23 because of the coronavirus outbreak.

The world federation also suspended five more tournaments in April.

The tournaments were the Croatian International, Peru International, European Championships, Asia Championships, and Pan Am Individual Championships.

The three continental championships were one of the last chances for athletes to gain qualification for the Tokyo Olympics before the April 26 deadline.

The BWF has yet to say how the suspended circuit will impact on Olympic qualification.

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Leaders of the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee say it's still too soon to decide about whether the Tokyo Games should go on as scheduled.

Uncertainties caused by the coronavirus have pushed many athletes to call for a postponement of the Games. But the USOPC leaders sounded a lot like their colleagues at the IOC. They call for patience and say they need more information from world health experts before doing anything drastic. They also acknowledged the uncertainty is taking its toll.

The USOPC is increasing the availability of mental and emotional counseling for athletes who have seen their Olympic hopes thrown into limbo.

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Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and star guard Luka Doncic are joining with forward Dwight Powell and the club’s foundation to pledge $500,000 to a Dallas hospital to help pay for day care for the children of health care workers amid the new coronavirus outbreak.

The donation is being made to the UT Southwestern Medical Center and Parkland Hospital. Cuban says the Mavericks “can’t thank our health care workers enough for putting their patients’ well-being before their own.”

The money is intended for doctors, nurses and a wide range of other workers, including support and janitorial staff. Doncic says the workers “are sacrificing so much to care for others, and I am honored to help.”

The Mavericks were in the middle of a game against Denver on March 11 when the NBA announced the season was being suspended because of the spread of the coronavirus. The 113-97 Dallas victory was the last game to be completed before the suspension went into effect.

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The parent company that owns the NFL Buffalo Bills and NHL Sabres has laid off a majority of its food services and hospitality staff as result of the new coronavirus pandemic.

Pegula Sports and Entertainment vice president of hospitality Domnic Verni announced the layoffs in a statement released Thursday. Verni says the company is termporarily closing a majority of its hospitality operations.

The Athletic first reported the layoffs being announced.

PSE oversees the vast holdings of Bills and Sabres owners Terry and Kim Pegula, which include several restaurants and bars, including a downtown Buffalo sports, entertainment and hotel complex.

The layoffs come at a time when local and state governments have ordered restaurants and bars be closed indefinitely to reduce the risk of spreading the coronavirus.

-- John Wawrow reporting from Buffalo, New York.

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World Rugby has postponed its remaining world sevens series tournaments and canceled the world under-20 championship which was to be hosted in northern Italy.

The sevens tournaments were to be played in May: The London men’s, Langford women’s in Canada, and Paris combined. They were postponed provisionally to September.

The Hong Kong and Singapore tournaments in April have already been moved to October.

The Olympic Games repechage qualifying tournament in June is under review, as World Rugby talks with the IOC about the qualifying process.

The junior worlds were to be held in June and July.

Also, the World Rugby Hall of Fame in Rugby, England, has been closed to the end of May.

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Soccer clubs in the top two divisions in Sweden have been given advance payment of sponsorship money to help them survive following a decision to delay the start of the league.

The season was scheduled to start on the first weekend of April but has been postponed until late in May or the beginning of June, at the earliest, because of the coronavirus outbreak.

It has left some clubs in a fragile situation. Stockholm-based AIK, for example, has said it needs to raise 5 million kronor ($500,000) by May 31 to “make it through this situation.”

Swedish Elite Football, the body which oversees the top divisions in the country, has decided to pay part of April’s sponsorship money in advance to ease some of the burden in what it says is an “extraordinary and difficult situation.”

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Washington Nationals GM Mike Rizzo says he, manager Dave Martinez and 13 players on the team's 40-man roster are still in West Palm Beach, Florida, where the team's spring training facility is.

Members of the medical and strength and conditioning staffs also remained in Florida, where camps were shut down because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Three players are in the Washington area. Other are wherever their homes are.

Rizzo said on a conference call with reporters Friday that none of the team's players has shown any symptoms of the illness and so none has been tested so far.

The GM said the World Series champions are formulating contingency plans based on when Major League Baseball might decide to start the regular season, which already has been delayed from next week until at least May.

"We're going to be fully ready when we're asked to be ready," Rizzo said. “Obviously, the ramping up of pitchers and players in a safe manner is of the utmost importance to us.”

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The chief medical officer for the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee says four winter athletes have recently been exposed to the coronavirus and are under quarantine. Only one has shown symptoms and tests on all four are pending. Another winter athlete who returned from Europe developed respiratory symptoms but tested negative. There have been no reports of positive tests among summer athletes, many of whom have curtailed training with only four months left before the Tokyo Games. The USOPC leaders said they were expanding access to mental and emotional counseling as athletes deal with the uncertainties surrounding the Olympics. The USOPC is following the IOC's lead, in saying it's too soon to make a decision about whether the Games will start as scheduled on July 24.

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The Miami Dolphins and owner Stephen Ross have pledged $500,000 toward critical needs for elderly and youth in South Florida as a result of the coronavirus.

The money will support public school meal programs, other food programs and church relief efforts.

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The LPGA Tour has found a date for its first major championship. It is moving the ANA Inspiration to Sept. 10-13, and moving its Portland tournament a week later.

The ANA Inspiration was scheduled for April 2-5 in Rancho Mirage, California. It was among what now are six domestic LPGA Tour events that have been postponed because of the new coronavirus. LPGA Commissioner Mike Whan added three more on Friday — Hawaii, Los Angeles and San Francisco over the final three weeks of April.

Whan says the tour is working with its various partners on how to deal with postponed events.

The LPGA Tour's last event was the Women's Australian Open that ended Feb. 16.

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