The Latest: SEC pessimistic about spring football practices
By The Associated Press
The Latest on the coronavirus pandemic's effect on sports around the world (all times local):
Southeastern Conference Commissioner Greg Sankey hasn't ruled out the prospect of holding some spring football practices, but he's not all that optimistic.
Sankey says on a conference call with reporters that "practically that window's pretty narrow." The SEC and other conferences have canceled championships for spring sports and spring football games, and suspended athletic activities until at least April 15.
"That doesn't mean we'll be back to normal practice activities April 16," Sankey said.
He also cited federal recommendations limiting the size of gatherings.
The Austrian soccer league is making plans to extend its suspension until May and take advantage of UEFA's decision to postpone the European Championship.
The Austrian Bundesliga says its clubs agreed they could restart in early May and play until the end of June.
The league says "should the situation in general ease and make a resumption of play possible, the clubs will immediately consult about concrete start dates and draw up an alternative schedule."
UEFA moved the European Championship to 2021, freeing up space for European leagues to finish seasons disrupted by the coronavirus outbreak before many players' contracts expire on June 30.
The Western Athletic Conference has canceled all competition and championships for the remainder of the academic year.
The WAC had previously suspended all competition, but the conference's board of directors voted Tuesday to cancel all spring sports. The decision falls in line with the NCAA's cancellation of its winter and spring championships.
The WAC's decision affects men's and women's golf, men's and women's outdoor track and field, men's and women's tennis, softball and baseball.
Italian sports minister Vincenzo Spadafora says the country's top soccer league is likely to resume on May 3.
Spadafora says "then we will evaluate whether it's open to the public or not."
Italy was one of the first countries to suspend its soccer leagues because of the coronavirus outbreak.
Italian soccer federation president Gabriele Gravina says starting on May 3 should allow the league to finish by June 30 but if that's not possible "there must be a change in format."
Gravina also says "a salary cut for soccer players can not be a taboo in this period of emergency."
Clubs in the top two soccer leagues in Sweden say they do not want to start the new season until the beginning of June because of the coronavirus outbreak.
The Swedish soccer association must now decide whether to accept the clubs' request.
The season was due to start on the weekend of April 3-4.
The clubs say in a statement that their decision is supported by broadcasters, fans and the country's main supporters' union.
The clubs say "work remains on establishing a new plan for the year and sorting out the exact dates for the start and other rounds."
Spanish soccer team Alaves says 15 people in its club have become infected with the coronavirus: three players, seven members of its coaching staff and five other employees.
The club had already reported that two members of its staff were infected.
Valencia and Espanyol said earlier this week that their clubs have also been hit by the virus.
Valencia said Monday that 35% of its squad and coaching staff are infected, while Espanyol said on Tuesday that six members of its squad and staff have it.
All three clubs say their infected members are in good health.
All training sessions at Belgian professional soccer clubs have been suspended until at least April 5 because of the coronavirus outbreak.
Belgium's national security council earlier said all gatherings, cultural, social, festive and sporting activities have been prohibited until the same date.
The league says it will decide which matches can be rescheduled once training has resumed.
The league also says it will pay the second instalment of an 800,000 euro ($862,000) solidarity fund to amateur clubs to help them cushion the economic weight of the pandemic.
AC Milan forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic has set up a fundraiser to help Italian hospitals in the center of the coronavirus outbreak.
According to the website accepting donations, Ibrahimovic has donated 100,000 euros ($109,000) to the fund. It quickly raised a further 10,300 euros ($11,300).
The site states that all the money raised will be "directly donated to Humanitas to help strengthen the intensive care and emergency units of Milano, Bergamo, Castellanza and Torino's hospitals."
Italy has been the second hardest hit country with more than 31,000 cases of the virus.
The 38-year-old Ibrahimovic rejoined Milan in January from the Los Anegles Galaxy. He has also played for Italian clubs Inter Milan and Juventus.
Premier League team Chelsea is making a hotel located on the grounds of its Stamford Bridge stadium available free of charge for London's medical workers during the coronavirus outbreak.
The club says Russian owner Roman Abramovich will cover the costs of providing the accommodation for staff of the National Health Service who "will be working long shifts and may not be able to travel home or would otherwise have to make long commutes."
Chelsea says the offer is initially for a two-month period and will be reconsidered depending on circumstances.
The entire hotel will be given up for medical workers if necessary.
Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson and pop star wife Ciara have announced they are donating 1 million meals through Seattle's Food Lifeline to help provide meals for those in need during the coronavirus outbreak in the region.
"Everything we do together makes a difference," Ciara said in a video posted to her Twitter account. "And together we will conquer this tough time that we're going through."
According to Food Lifeline's website, the organization provides the equivalent of 134,000 meals daily and had 58 million pounds of food sourced last year.
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Updated March 18, 2020