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Soccer (and its fans) returns to Turkmenistan

Fans attend the soccer game Sunday between Altyn Asyr and Kopetdag as the country rebooted its domestic season owith fans returning to stadiums in one of the few countries yet to declare a case of coronavirus.IGOR SASIN/AFP via Getty Images

Soccer has resumed in Turkmenistan with spectators as the Central Asian nation lifted a suspension of its national league. Turkmenistan is one of the few countries in the world that have not reported any cases of the coronavirus.

Around 500 people attended Sunday’s game between Altyn Asyr and Kopetdag in a 20,000-capacity stadium in the capital, Ashgabat. It was the first game played in the Yokary Liga since March 20.

The crowd size was broadly in line with typical domestic league games in Turkmenistan and, as usual, attendance was free. The game ended 1-1.

The eight-team league was suspended March 24 amid the coronavirus pandemic.


Brighton’s stadium does its duty

The stadium of English Premier League club Brighton has been converted into the south coast’s biggest drive-in coronavirus testing center.

The appointment-only center has been put in place at the American Express Community Stadium as part of the drive to increase testing for National Health Service staff and other key workers.

“The Amex will be the biggest testing site anywhere on the south coast, and will be used for self-testing and assisted testing," Brighton chief executive Paul Barber said.

“The center was scheduled to see more than 50 NHS frontline workers on Saturday afternoon, and they will have the results of their tests within 48 hours. Within a few days, the site should reach its capacity of up to 1,000 tests a day.”

Roma players, coaches go without pay

Players and coaches at Roma have delayed their salary for four months to help the Italian club get through a crisis sparked by the coronavirus outbreak.

With Roma having not played a competitive match since March 1 because of the pandemic, the players and coaching staff will forgo salaries due to them for March, April, May, and June.

Roma says “if the current season resumes and is completed, the club and the players, coach [Paulo Fonseca] and his staff have agreed an incentive plan to be paid subject to the achievement of certain sporting objectives.”


The players will reportedly get back three of the missed months’ wages in the next fiscal year.

Roma added that players and coaches also have agreed to up the wages of Roma employees who have been placed on the Italian government’s social safety-net scheme, ensuring they will still receive their full regular salaries.

Roma chief executive Guido Fienga said the gesture has “proved that we really are in this together.”