The Latest: Kroenke to pay arena employees during shutdown

Sports

FILE – In this Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2020. filer, Fiorentina’s Patrick Cutrone celebrates after scoring his side’s first goal during an Italian Cup eightfinal soccer match, between Fiorentina and Atalanta at the Artemio Franchi stadium in Florence, Italy. Two more Fiorentina players have tested positive for COVID-19 as well as a club physiotherapist. The top-tier Italian league team tweets that defender and club captain Germán Pezzella, forward Patrick Cutrone and physiotherapist Stefano Dainelli “are in good health at their homes in Florence. For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms. For some, it can cause more severe illness, especially in older adults and people with existing health problems.(Jennifer Lorenzini/LaPresse via AP, File)

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The Latest on the coronavirus outbreak’s effect on sports around the world (all times local):

12:30 a.m..

Denver Nuggets and Colorado Avalanche ownership Kroenke Sports & Entertainment says it will pay its part-time and hourly employees impacted by the cancellations due to the coronavirus outbreak for the next 30 days.

The company also is calling on its vendors and partners to do the same.

“It is a very trying time for our tight-knit sports community, but more importantly for human beings in general,” KSE Vice Chairman Josh Kroenke said in a statement Saturday night.

KSE has suspended all events at the Pepsi Center, home of the Nuggets and Avalanche, Paramount Theatre, Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, home of the Colorado Rapids, and the 1STBANK Center for 30 days.

“We look forward to seeing all of our fans back in our venues at the appropriate time!” Kroenke said.

11:20 p.m.

Cleveland State women’s basketball coach Chris Kielsmeier has tested positive for the coronavirus.

CSU, in a statment released Saturday night, says Kielsmeier is the first confirmed case of the virus at the school, as confirmed by Cuyahoga County health officials.

The university says it is doing everything it can to support Kielsmeier in his recovery and is making sure anyone who came in close contact with the coach is being contacted and give the best medical advice and support.

Kielsmeier said in the statement that it has been a very challenging couple of days and that he is beginning to feel better and looks forward to getting back to 100%.

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9:05 p.m.

The ECHL board of governors approved the cancellation of the remainder of the season.

The professional hockey league has 26 teams in the United States and Canada.

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8:15 p.m.

The Los Angeles Lakers, Clippers and Kings, along with Staples Center, have joined together to set up a fund to provide financial help to all hourly arena workers impacted by the stoppage of games.

The fund will help compensate for lost wages through the end of the NBA and NHL regular seasons. Payments will go to over 2,800 workers, including ushers, ticket sellers and takers, security, parking attendants, merchandise staff, food and beverage employees, housekeeping, operations staff and stagehands.

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8:10 p.m.

Churchill Downs is delaying reopening its stables and training center until March 31 after consulting local public health officials amid concerns about the coronovirus.

The home of the Kentucky Derby is expected to provide an update about horse racing’s marquee event, scheduled for May 2, and its upcoming spring meet next week.

Churchill’s stables have been closed for annual winter renovations since Dec. 31 and were scheduled to open Tuesday. The track stated in a release Saturday night that the safety and health of guests, employees and participants remain a primary concern and that it’s taking every precaution to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

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5:30 p.m.

The Baseball Hall of Fame said it will close to the public beginning Sunday at 5 p.m. because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Cooperstown, New York, shrine will provide updated information regarding this closure on each subsequent Sunday.

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3:25 p.m.

The Mexican soccer league announced that the rest of its matches this weekend will be played with no fans, a day after starting the weekend with two games in which fans were in attendance.

While other leagues around the world suspended play, Liga MX insisted on going forward with its matches. Until now, the only change was banning pre-match handshakes due to the new coronavirus.

But Mexico’s first division reversed course and decided to play in empty stadiums after consulting with the government.

The headliner match of the weekend is a Mexico City derby at Estadio Azteca between league leader Cruz Azul and third-place Club America. Attendance was expected to be around 60,000.

Mexico played some matches in empty stadiums during the 2009 outbreak of the H1N1 flu.

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4:15 p.m.

The United Center ownership and the Chicago Bulls and Blackhawks say they will pay day-of-game employees through the end of their scheduled seasons.

The NBA and NHL seasons have been suspended because of the coronavirus pandemic. Each team has seven home games left.

In a statement attributed to Blackhawks owner Rocky Wirtz and Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf, the teams say their employees “are family, and we will navigate this unprecedented situation together.”

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4:51 p.m.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame is closing temporarily because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The museum in Canton, Ohio says it will be closed to the public from Monday through March 27. The Hall says it “will continue to closely monitor the situation and maintain ongoing communication with state and local health officials.”

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2:35 p.m.

Utah Jazz forward Rudy Gobert has donated more than $500,000 to support health services in the U.S. and France and employees of the team impacted by the coronavirus.

Gobert became the first NBA player to be stricken with the virus, which led to the league suspending play for at least 30 days.

His donation was announced by the Jazz, who said some of the money will go to COVID 19-related social services relief in Utah, Oklahoma City and within the French health care system.

The pledge includes $200,000 in aid for part-time employees at Utah’s Vivint Smart Home Arena. They can’t work while game and other events are on hold.

Gobert said he’s humbled by “the tireless efforts and care of people around the globe for those affected by COVID-19, especially my own communities of Utah and France.”

He called the donations a “small token that reflect my appreciation and support for all those impacted and are the first of many steps I will take to try and make a positive difference.”

Gobert, who was diagnosed with the virus while the team was in Oklahoma, was infected along with teammate Donovan Mitchell.

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3:30 p.m.

The XFL says an unidentified player with the Seattle Dragons has tested positive for coronavirus.

The fledgling football league says the player reported his symptoms to team medical staff on Tuesday and has been in quarantine ever since. He was tested for COVID-19 and received the result Friday.

The league says the player participated in the Dragons’ March 7 game against the Roughnecks in Houston and a Feb. 29 game against the BattleHawks in St. Louis. He was asymptomatic at the time.

The league says it’s alerting players, staff, vendors and partners associated with the Dragons, Roughnecks and BattleHawks and is monitoring the situation closely.

Late Thursday, the XFL canceled the remainder of its season, which had five weeks left.

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12:15 p.m.

The Pac-12 Conference has canceled all spring sports and championships following a meeting of conference executives and athletic directors.

The conference also announced that all organized team activities are not allowed until at least March 29, when that decision will be revisited.

The smaller Southland Conference also announced a similar move.

The moves follow Thursday’s decision by the NCAA to cancel the Division I men’s and women’s basketball tournaments as well as all remaining winter and spring championships.

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6:05 p.m.

The men’s curling world championships in Scotland have been canceled, along with the mixed and senior events in Canada, because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The World Curling Federation said that with hundreds of athletes and staff needing to travel to each tournament, “it is no longer possible to run these international events.”

The WCF says it acted on the advice of the Scottish government in canceling the men’s tournament, which had been scheduled for Glasgow from March 28 to April 5.

“We believe that in the current unprecedented situation this is the only responsible course of action to take,” said Billy Garrett, Director of Sport and Events at Glasgow Life.

The mixed doubles and seniors events were to take place in Kelowna, British Columbia, from April 18-25.

The women’s world championships in Prince George, British Columbia, were canceled on Thursday.

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5:45 p.m.

Sampdoria midfielder Fabio Depaoli has announced he’s tested positive for COVID-19.

He’s the 10th Serie A player confirmed positive and the sixth at Sampdoria.

While Sampdoria said in a statement earlier Saturday that it would not announce any more updates about its players “to avoid news leaks and useless alarmism” since “all the lads are well,” Depaoli revealed his positive test on social media.

Depaoli writes in Italian on Instagram, “Unfortunately I’ve tested positive for COVID-19. But I want to reassure you that I’m OK! This invisible monster is hitting us indiscriminately, but by adopting the correct measures and following medical advice, we can win our biggest match and return stronger than before.”

The five other Sampdoria players who tested positive are: Manolo Gabbiadini, Omar Colley, Albin Ekdal, Antonino La Gumina and Morten Thorsby.

The other Serie A players who tested positive are Daniele Rugani at Juventus and Fiorentina teammates Dušan Vlahović , Germán Pezzella, Patrick Cutrone.

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5:35 p.m.

Spanish football club Alavés says two members of its coaching staff have tested positive for the coronavirus.

The club says both unnamed coaches are without symptoms and in good health.

The club added it will test the rest of the members of its team on Monday.

Spain has stopped all sports competitions for the next two weeks.

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5:10 p.m.

Lionel Messi has joined a call in Spain by sports figures, who are supporting a public awareness campaign by government authorities and healthcare workers asking the nation’s population to remain indoors to fight the spread of the coronavirus.

“It is the moment to act responsibly and to stay home,” Messi wrote on Instagram on Saturday.

The Barcelona star added: “We are worried by what is happening and we want to help by putting ourselves in the place of those who are having the most difficulties, either because they or their families or friends are directly affected, or because they are working on the frontline in hospitals.”

Spain is tightening controls on movement and closing shops as it struggles to stem a peak in virus infections that has surpassed 5,000 people.

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5 p.m.

The International Triathlon Union has suspended all of its competitions and activities from Monday to the end of April.

Major events postponed include the second world series event in Bermuda on April 18-19, and four World Cups in the United States, New Zealand, Brazil and Mexico.

“World Triathlon will continue working during this time to try to reallocate the events after the 30th of April when possible, and will work with all stakeholders to undertake further actions if needed regarding the Olympic and Paralympic qualification rankings,” the ITU said.

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3:50 pm.

The Italian soccer players’ association says it is “saddened and outraged” that clubs are still calling on their players to attend training sessions.

In a statement, the players’ association notes that “some clubs” are bringing in players to train in small groups, “or, even worse, for daily checks of their temperature.”

Italy is the European country hit worst by the virus, where the number of virus cases climbed to over nearly 20,000, with more than 1,000 deaths. The government in Rome has ordered an unprecedented lockdown, ordering businesses to close and restricting people’s movement.

The lockdown has suspended all sports in the country through at least April 3.

The players’ association says that forcing players to leave their homes “is a shamefully irresponsible act,” adding that if it’s being done just to receive a refusal by the players in order to cut salary payments “it means that we’re scraping the bottom of the barrel of dignity.”

The players’ association has been at odds with clubs over the virus for weeks, first arguing for the games to be stopped before the government-issued suspension on Monday.

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3 p.m.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe says his country still intends to host the Olympic Games in Tokyo as planned.

Abe says there were no discussions about postponing or canceling the games during talks with U.S. President Donald Trump, who suggested this week that Japan should consider postponing the Olympics because of the spread of the coronavirus.

Abe says Japan is continuing to “coordinate well” with the International Olympic Committee, adding: “We have to overcome the spread of the infection and want to hold the Olympics and Paralympics as planned.”

The Olympic Games are scheduled to take place from July 24-Aug. 9, and the Paralympics Aug. 25-Sept. 6.

Abe says the virus outbreak has not reached a point in Japan that requires him to declare a national emergency like the United States and parts of Europe.

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1:40 p.m.

Super Rugby organizers have decided to suspend the competition indefinitely after the weekend’s games because of the coronavirus pandemic.

SANZAAR, the southern hemisphere rugby body that runs Super Rugby, says Saturday the tournament will be off for the “foreseeable future.”

The decision was prompted by the New Zealand government’s directive that people entering from trips overseas, including returning New Zealand citizens, would have to self-isolate for 14 days from Monday.

That would make Super Rugby untenable, with the tournament featuring teams from five nations, including five from New Zealand, and involving regular travel between countries.

Teams from Australia, Japan, South Africa and Argentina also compete in the competition, which runs from January through to June.

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12:45 p.m.

The Edinburgh Marathon has been postponed because of the coronavirus outbreak.

The race was due to take place on May 24, but organizers have announced it will be postponed.

Race director Neil Kilgour said a new date for the marathon in the Scottish capital is expected to be announced on Monday,

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10:45 a.m.

Two more Fiorentina players have tested positive for COVID-19 as well as a club physiotherapist.

The top-tier Italian league soccer team tweets that defender and club captain Germán Pezzella, forward Patrick Cutrone and physiotherapist Stefano Dainelli “are in good health at their homes in Florence.” They were tested after “showing some symptoms.”

The club had already announced on Friday that 20-year-old striker Dušan Vlahović tested positive.

With Cutrone and Pezzella added to the list with Vlahović, there are now nine Serie A players who have tested positive. The others are Daniele Rugani of Juventus plus five Sampdoria players: Manolo Gabbiadini, Omar Colley, Albin Ekdal, Antonino La Gumina and Morten Thorsby.

Serie A is suspended until at least April 3 as part of a nationwide lockdown in Italy intended to contain the virus.

Most people quickly recover from the global virus after experiencing only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.

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