The MLS is Back Tournament match between FC Dallas and the Vancouver Whitecaps set for Thursday has been postponed after eight players tested positive for the coronavirus. The names of the players were not released.
The group-stage game will be rescheduled, the league said Saturday.
FC Dallas announced earlier in the week that six players had tested positive for the virus upon arrival in Florida for the tournament. The entire team was quarantined.
Two Whitecaps players tested positive, forcing the team to remain in Canada, the league said. Additional tests were negative, but the team had to push back travel until Monday.
The MLS is Back Tournament is set to open Wednesday with a match between Orlando City and expansion Inter Miami.
The league's 26 teams will be sequestered in hotels for the duration of the monthlong tournament played without fans at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex at Walt Disney World.
The league said Saturday that 1,191 players, coaches, referees, team staff members, and other connected to the tournament were tested Friday and Saturday in Florida. Two players were positive, but further details about the positive tests, including the teams affected, were not disclosed.
MLS shut down because of the coronavirus pandemic on March 12 after teams had each played two games.
FC Dallas said all players and staff tested negative for the coronavirus before leaving for the tournament on last Saturday. Upon arrival, two players tested positive. Subsequent tests found four more players infected with the virus that causes COVID-19.
In Tokyo, Japan’s professional soccer league restarted after a four-month break caused by the pandemic.
All 18 top-flight teams were in action, and the nine games were played without fans. Japan’s popular pro baseball league restarted last month, also without fans.
NFL lays out protocols
The NFL detailed its coronavirus-related treatment procedures for players, coaches, and other staff members during training camp and the preseason in a set of protocols sent to teams Friday.
The protocols were developed with the NFL Players Association, the league told teams in a memo from commissioner Roger Goodell, but do not yet include all details of the testing program.
"Additional protocols governing screening and testing and game day procedures are being finalized with the NFLPA and will be sent as soon as they are approved," Goodell wrote in the memo, a copy of which was obtained by The Washington Post.
The protocols do outline the treatment procedures that teams must follow as the NFL attempts to operate during the pandemic.
According to the protocols, anyone who exhibits symptoms of the virus must be tested as soon as possible. A team must perform contact tracing if any individual is identified with symptoms or tests positive for the virus. Any person found to have been in close contact must also be tested as soon as possible. Those with low- or medium-risk exposures are to be monitored for symptoms and tested under the standard testing schedule.
A person who tests negative after close contact and remains asymptomatic may return to the team facility, under the protocols, but must be tested daily for eight days thereafter. A person who tests positive but has no symptoms cannot return to the team facility for 10 days or until testing negative twice at least five days after the positive test. A person who tests positive and exhibits symptoms must be kept away from the team facility for at least 10 days and for at least 72 hours since symptoms last occurred. In both cases, doctors must approve the return of anyone who tests positive.
"The NFL and NFLPA have finalized the protocols regarding team travel, media, and treatment response, and have also updated the facilities protocol to specifically address Training Camp," Goodell wrote in his memo. "The NFL and NFLPA jointly agreed that there will not be a mandatory quarantine period during Training Camp, and clubs may not require players to remain at club hotels during this period."
Team employees are "subject to discipline," if they "knowingly and materially fail to follow these protocols." The discipline for such violations is not specified.
Teams cannot require players to stay in hotels during training camp, but must make hotel rooms available to those players who wish to stay there.
There are no fans or visitors permitted at team facilities during training camp. But a team is permitted to have up to two events at its stadium open to fans, if fan attendance is permitted under local public health guidelines. Fans cannot have contact with coaches or players and cannot occupy the first eight rows of seating closest to the field.
Media access is restricted during training camps. There are limits on the numbers of reporters who can attend. In-person media interviews with players are prohibited, but are permissible with coaches with distancing measures in effect.
All-Star Cambage ‘at high-risk'
Las Vegas Aces All-Star center Liz Cambage is expected to miss the upcoming WNBA season for health reasons, according to her agent.
“We believe her to be at high-risk for severe illness if she contracts COVID-19 in participating this WNBA season,” Cambage’s agent, Allison Galer, told the Associated Press on Saturday night. “We are awaiting the league’s determination based on an independent physician panel.”
Galer declined to elaborate what the pre-exisiting conditions were, citing Cambage's privacy.
The 6-foot-8-inch Australian’s case is one of a handful that is before the league’s independent panel of doctors people familiar with the situation told the AP. The people spoke on condition of anonymity because neither the players nor the league have publicly identified them, with the exception of Cambage.
The panel of physicians decide whether a player would be medically excused and receive full salary for the upcoming season, which is scheduled to start at the end of the month in Florida at IMG Academy. Players can still opt out and skip the season if the panel does not grant them a medical waiver. They will not get paid.
Teams are expected to head to Florida on Monday to start quarantining before training camp opens.
So far, about a dozen WNBA players have decided to opt out of playing this year due to a variety of reasons, including health and social advocacy.
Cambage averaged 15.9 points and 8.2 rebounds last season for the Aces — her first with the team. The 28-year-old star had re-signed with the Aces in April.
She would be the second Las Vegas starter who will miss the upcoming season. Guard Kelsey Plum tore her left Achilles’ tendon last month.
The Aces signed veteran center Avery Warley-Talbert on Saturday. She played for Aces coach Bill Laimbeer when he was in charge of the New York Liberty a few years ago.
Tiafoe tests positive at Atlanta tennis tourney
Frances Tiafoe has tested positive for the coronavirus and withdrawn from the All-American Team Cup tennis tournament in Atlanta.
Tiafoe was scheduled to face Tennys Sandgren on Saturday in the weekend tournament involving eight top American men’s players. The event is allowing a limited number of fans and not requiring masks, though will provide them if requested.
Tiafoe defeated Sam Querrey on Friday but was showing symptoms after the match and a test was positive.
Tiafoe, a 22-year-old who reached the 2019 Australian Open quarterfinals, left the event site and was replaced by Christopher Eubanks. Tiafoe was captain of Team Stars, playing against John Isner’s Team Stripes.
The pro tennis tours are suspended until August.
F1 claims all 4,000 tests come back clean
There have been no positive cases from more than 4,000 coronavirus tests carried out on Formula One personnel over the past seven days, F1 said Saturday.
F1 has its first race Sunday in Austria, four months after the opening race in Australia was cancelled and the season postponed.
Everyone entering the track at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg had to have tested negative before traveling and all — from drivers to team members, track staff, and media — are being tested every five days by private medical teams on site.
There is another race in Austria next weekend and the following race will be held at the Hungaroring in Hungary one week later.
There are eight races taking place in Europe. After Hungary, there are back-to-back races at the British GP, then single races in Spain, Belgium, and Italy.
Indian Golf event to be scrapped this year
The Indian Open golf event on the European Tour was canceled because of the threat posed by the coronavirus pandemic.
The tournament was initially postponed from March to an unspecified time in 2020, but has now been scrapped following consultation with the European Tour and Asian Tour.
The European Tour is due to restart this month with six straight events in Britain.