The Latest on the effects of the coronavirus outbreak on sports around the world:
The Kentucky Horse Racing Commission has approved Keeneland’s request for a five-day, spectator-free meet July 8-12 that will allow the running of marquee prep races for the rescheduled Kentucky Derby and Oaks.
Keeneland canceled its 16-day spring meet in March amid public health concerns because of the coronavirus outbreak. That initially eliminated the $600,000 Grade 2 Blue Grass and $400,000 Grade 1 Ashland, which award points toward the Derby and its sister race for fillies, Oaks. The track last week requested the special meet, which the KHRC granted after Ellis Park made the dates available.
The Ashland and Blue Grass are now back in play for the Oaks and Derby, which are set for Sept. 4-5 at Churchill Downs in Louisville.
“Keeneland appreciates the quick response of the Commission to our request, and we applaud all their work on behalf of Kentucky racing during these unprecedented times,” said Keeneland President/CEO Bill Thomason, who also thanked Ellis Park in a news release.
Added Ellis Park general manager Jeffrey Inman, “We are all in this together, and Ellis Park is pleased to work with Keeneland on a plan that benefits our horsemen and Kentucky racing.”
Keeneland plans to run at least nine races each day and will feature 10 graded stakes events.
The Kontinental Hockey League says it plans to return on Sept. 2 to open the 2020-21 season.
The last KHL game was played on March 12. The season was then suspended because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The KHL is widely considered to be the strongest hockey league outside the NHL. It ended its 2019-20 season part-way through the playoffs without declaring a champion.
The league says Sept. 2 is a preliminary date which could be subject to “necessary corrections” depending on how the coronavirus situation develops.
International travel restrictions became a problem for KHL teams. The league has teams in six countries but most are in Russia.
The projected Sept. 2 start date is broadly in line with other recent KHL seasons.
The French soccer federation has rejected the league’s bid for a 22-team second division next season to save clubs from being relegated.
The French league voted last week to allow Le Mans and Orléans to stay in the second division while Pau and Dunkerque were promoted from the third division. But the executive committee of French soccer’s governing body has overruled that decision.
The FFF says that “the two relegations for the 2019-20 season are maintained and the second division will remain at 20 clubs for the 2020-21 season.”
The French government ordered soccer and rugby leagues to be canceled at the end of April because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Bologna says a member of its staff may have coronavirus and if it is confirmed the entire squad will go into quarantine.
Bologna says the latest series of tests revealed “a suspected positive case for COVID-19.”
The club says that as a precaution the team will train individually on Thursday.
It would be the first positive case in Serie A since the teams started training in groups if it is confirmed.
Serie A has been suspended since March 9 because of the coronavirus pandemic. The league is hoping to restart on June 13.
The Spanish soccer federation says it will allow games to be played on Mondays and Fridays until the end of the season even though a judge has denied the Spanish league’s official request to play on those days.
League president Javier Tebas has said he wants matches to be played every day but the federation had been against the idea.
The federation says it “wants to clearly show its good will” and is also willing to extend the exception into the beginning of next season depending on how the pandemic progresses and if games will continue to be played without fans.
The league says it will appeal the judge’s decision. It says it jeopardizes the soccer industry in Spain. The league was not able to schedule matches on Mondays before the competition was suspended in mid-March.
Premier League clubs have voted unanimously to resume contact training in the latest step toward restarting the soccer season amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The league says players are now able to train as a group and “engage in tackling while minimizing any unnecessary close contact.”
Play has been suspended in the world’s richest league since March 13.
The league says “discussions are ongoing as work continues toward resuming the season.”
Players returned to training last week and have been practicing in small groups with social distancing maintained.
The final Asian qualifying place for the women’s soccer tournament at the Tokyo Olympics is set to be decided in February.
The Asian Football Confederation says the postponed two-leg series between China and South Korea will be played Feb. 19 and 24. No venues for the games were announced.
The games were previously postponed because of the coronavirus outbreak. The 2020 Tokyo Olympics have been postponed for one year.
The 12-team women’s tournament is scheduled to start in Japan ahead of the Olympic opening ceremony on July 23, 2021.
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