Bundesliga

The German Football League (DFL) has announced today (Thursday) that clubs in the top-tier Bundesliga and second-tier 2.Bundesliga are prepared to resume the 2019-20 season behind closed doors next month.

The Bundesliga will be suspended until at least April 30 and there is a hope that matches can resume in May. This would need to be given the green light from the German government.

DFL chief executive Christian Seifert said: “If we should start on May 9, we are ready. If it is later we will be ready again.”

In-stadium personnel would be kept to a minimum in the event of a return to action. A maximum of 213 officials will be allowed in the stadium for Bundesliga matches, with another 109, including security staff, to be situated outside the stadium. Fans will not be able to gather outside the ground.

In the 2.Bundesliga, a maximum of 188 people will be allowed in the stadium and a maximum of 82 outside. Matches in both leagues would take place amid strict monitoring and COVID-19 testing.

The Bundesliga has been suspended since March 13 due to COVID-19. If the season can resume next month, it is hoped it can be concluded by the end of June.

UEFA Women’s Euro

UEFA, football’s European governing body, has confirmed today that its Women’s Euro national team event scheduled for 2021 in England will now take place in the summer of 2022.

The competition will take place from July 6-31, 2022 and it is planned that the same venues scheduled to host the event in 2021 will be used at the rescheduled tournament.

The decision has been taken after the men’s UEFA Euro 2020 was postponed from this summer until 2021 due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

UEFA president Aleksander Čeferin said today: “When we had to take an urgent decision on the postponement of UEFA Euro 2020, we always had the impact on UEFA Women’s Euro 2021 in mind.

“We have carefully considered all options, with our commitment to the growth of women’s football at the forefront of our thinking. By moving UEFA Women’s Euro to the following year, we are ensuring that our flagship women’s competition will be the only major football tournament of the summer, providing it with the spotlight it deserves.”

The postponement of the Women’s Euro will ensure that England hosts two major sporting events in the summer of 2022, with the Commonwealth Games already scheduled to take place in Birmingham. The rescheduling of the Women’s Euro will also avoid a clash with the Tokyo Olympic Games, which have been postponed until the summer of 2021 due to COVID-19.

In February, Manchester United’s Old Trafford was confirmed as the venue for the opening match of the Women’s Euro as the English Football Association (FA) looks to break the attendance record for the national team tournament.

United’s 74,879-seat stadium had been due to host England’s first match on July 7 next year and it is hoped the venue will still be used for the rescheduled event in 2022. The FA said the fixture will offer the chance to break the attendance record for a Women’s Euro match.

The record for a Women’s Euro match is 41,301, which was set at the final of Sweden’s hosting of the tournament in 2013.

Other host venues for the Women’s Euro include Wembley, which will stage the final; Amex Stadium; St. Mary’s Stadium; Bramall Lane; Brentford Community Stadium; Leigh Sports Village; Manchester City Academy Stadium; New York Stadium and Stadium MK.

NHL

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman has said that no plan has been decided on for the return of the ice hockey league but has insisted that any neutral venues that end up hosting games would need to be up to the required standard.

In an interview with Sportsnet, Bettman dismissed the suggestion of playing at college rinks when the league returns as they would not have the necessary facilities to stage major-league ice hockey.

Bettman stressed that if the league was forced to play multiple games at neutral sites then they would use NHL venues.

“We can’t play in a small college rink in the middle of a smaller community because if we’re going to be centralised, we need the back of the house that NHL arenas provide,” he told Sportsnet.

“Whether it’s multiple locker rooms, whether it’s the technology, the procedures, the boards and glass, the video replay, the broadcasting facilities. Those are the things that are in place in NHL arenas and that’s what we’re going to ultimately need if we’re going to come back in a centralised basis and play multiple games a day.”

Bettman said the league is considering a plan to complete the season by playing multiple games in up to four arenas behind closed doors. Bettman added that that NHL arenas are “the best equipped in North America to deal with what our needs may be”.

Athletics

The Diamond League athletics competition has announced that it has postponed June meetings in the US city of Eugene and the French capital of Paris, while an alternative format has been proposed for Oslo’s Bislett Games.

The Eugene and Paris meetings had been scheduled for June 7 and June 13, respectively, but both events have now been suspended. New dates for the events will be announced in cooperation with the World Athletics Global Calendar Unit as soon as it is possible to form a reliable plan for the resumption of the calendar.

The Bislett Games in Oslo forms part of the Diamond League calendar and this year’s event, scheduled for June 11, had already been postponed.

Today (Thursday), organisers of the meeting have announced plans for the ‘Impossible Games’, a behind-closed-doors exhibition event that will take place on June 11.

The one-hour event will be covered by Norwegian public-service broadcaster NRK and will feature a world-record attempt by Norwegian 400m hurdles world champion Karsten Warholm. The Games will also feature a pole-vault battle between world record holder Mondo Duplantis and Diamond League champion Renaud Lavillenie.

No athletes will fly into Oslo to compete in the Games and athletes travelling from Sweden to Bislett Stadium will use electric cars, in line with the Bislett Games’ efforts to reduce carbon emissions.

The Impossible Games will be held in line with the Norwegian government’s measures to limit the spread of COVID-19.

World Athletics president Sebastian Coe said: “This is really positive news for athletes and fans and promises, even in this early stage, to be another great night of athletics from the Bislett stadium. Congratulations to the Oslo Bislett Games for dreaming this up and following it through, working within the pandemic guidelines set out in Norway.

“We are delighted to support the event by releasing the funds World Athletics makes to each Diamond League event but with one caveat, which is that the entire amount we are contributing goes to prize money for the athletes competing.”

Snooker

This year’s World Snooker Championship at Sheffield’s Crucible Theatre has been rescheduled, subject to government policy, to take place from July 31 to August 16.

It is hoped the event can take place with a full crowd inside the Crucible, which seats just under 1,000 spectators. If this is not possible, the World Snooker Tour will consider playing the event with a reduced crowd, playing it behind closed doors, or postponing the event again to a later date.