World Sports News in Brief

Milan rivals to play first 'virtual derby'

Friday, 2020-04-10 08:17:29
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AC Milan's Rafael Leao in action with Inter Milan's Nicolo Barella. (Photo: Reuters)
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AC Milan and Inter Milan will play their first-ever virtual derby on Saturday after joining forces with digital sports broadcaster DAZN, the clubs said in a statement on Thursday.

With Serie A, like the rest of Europe’s elite leagues, suspended because of the coronavirus pandemic, fans will be able to watch the rival clubs go head to head on KONAMI’s popular soccer video game Pro Evolution Soccer 2020. At the control will be Milan’s Portuguese forward Rafael Leao and Inter’s striker Sebastiano Esposito, selected for their self-confessed expertise on video games.

* The UFC 249 event due to take place at an unannounced location on April 18 has been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, UFC president Dana White said on Thursday.

* The all-electric Formula E series has postponed for a year the introduction of its new Gen2 Evo car as part of cost-saving measures agreed unanimously by teams, manufacturers and the governing body. The series said in a statement on Thursday it had acted to promote the long-term financial stability of the championship in the face of the new coronavirus pandemic.

* The Scottish season was suspended until at least June 10 on Thursday as clubs prepared to vote on a Scottish Professional Football League resolution to end the season immediately in the lower divisions. All matches in Scotland were originally halted on March 13 until at least April 30, because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

* Floyd Mayweather went undefeated during his storied career and will now hope to maintain that dominance in simulated bouts after agreeing to put his digital likeness up against other boxing greats, it was announced on Thursday. The joint venture between Mayweather, streaming platform fuboTV and virtual entertainment company FaceBank, allows for some of greatest fights of all time that never happened and could have never happened.

* The International Tennis Federation said 900 tournaments across all its circuits had been postponed so far because of the coronavirus pandemic and that it was furloughing half its staff. In a statement, tennis's governing body said it was implementing a range of measures to "safeguard jobs and protect the long-term health of our organisation and our sport" with president David Haggerty voluntarily taking a 30% salary cut for the rest of the year.

* Formula One and IndyCar drivers champion Jacques Villeneuve, who has raced everything from NASCAR to Le Mans, will add to his resume when the Canadian announced on Thursday he will be joining the virtual 'Legends Trophy' series. The Race All-Star Series, which includes the All-Star Cup pitting the leading stars from Formula 1, Formula E, IndyCar and sportscars against the world's top virtual racers, and the Legends Trophy, for drivers over 40, are set to reach more than 600 million homes according to event creators Torque Esports.

* Belgium's professional soccer league has delayed by more than a week the planned ratification of its decision to cancel the rest of the season, it announced on Thursday. The Pro League’s board last week called time on the rest of the suspended season. The cancellation of the rest of the campaign left Club Brugge as champions with a runaway lead at the top of the standings but left other key decisions, like berths in next season’s European club competitions and promotion and relegation, to be decided by a working group.

* Cycling's world governing body the UCI said on Thursday it was furloughing its entire staff, either fully or partially, in a bid to "weather the storm" caused by the coronavirus pandemic. With international racing suspended until at least June 1 and revenue streams drying up, the UCI held an emergency meeting last week in which a series of measures were agreed to alleviate the economic and sporting impact of the crisis.

* Tour de France champion Egan Bernal is auctioning a bike and several jerseys for a children's charity in Colombia amid the coronavirus crisis. In a video message posted on Twitter, the 23-year-old said he was auctioning a Pinarello bike as well as 2019 Tour de France white (for best young rider) and yellow jerseys along with a Team Ineos shirt.

* Manchester United have donated medical equipment and provided vehicles for courier operations to support the National Health Service (NHS) in their battle against the coronavirus pandemic, the Premier League club said on Thursday. The club said it would also accommodate further requests from the NHS for use of the facilities at their stadium Old Trafford, which has been placed on a reserve list as a temporary blood donation centre.

* The five British canoeists selected for the postponed Tokyo Olympics will keep their spots on the team for next year's re-scheduled event, British Canoeing said on Thursday. Liam Heath, who won silver in K1 200m in Rio in 2016, will be competing at his third Olympics. Four canoe slalomists already selected - Mallory Franklin, Kimberley Woods, Adam Burgess, and Bradley Forbes-Cryans, will all be making their Olympic debuts.

* Australia's proposed test tour of Bangladesh in June has been officially postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic and both boards will now work together to find new dates to reschedule the series in the future.

* Southampton's first-team players and coaching staff have agreed to defer part of their salaries for April, May and June as the shutdown because of the coronavirus pandemic continues. In a statement on Thursday the Premier League club also said it would not be using the government's job retention scheme.

* Some of England's leading players will go head-to-head from their living rooms over Easter as part of a new FIFA 20 tournament launched by the FA on Thursday. The #Footballsstayinghome Cup kicks off on Friday, with the 16 players including Manchester United's Marcus Rashford, Liverpool's Trent Alexander Arnold and Olympique Lyonnais defender Lucy Bronze set to battle it out on the popular video game.

* Australia's National Rugby League announced on Thursday that it intends to resume its 2020 season, interrupted by the coronavirus outbreak after two rounds, on May 28.

* England's county cricketers will forgo 1 million pounds in prize money and take pay cuts in April and May to help protect the domestic game during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Professional Cricketers' Association (PCA) has said. With cricket in England suspended until May 28, the PCA also said players had agreed to being furloughed by their counties if they are asked to do so.

* New Zealand Football (NZF) have again pushed back the start of community soccer due to the COVID-19 outbreak, saying on Thursday there would be no action until at least the final weekend of May. The lower levels of club and regional soccer in New Zealand typically begin by mid-April but NZF said last month they would postpone the start of the season until the weekend of May 2.

* Premier League footballers have launched a fund to raise money for National Health Service charities to help tackle the coronavirus outbreak.

Reuters