Daily Briefing

Sport shorts: Euro 2020 is postponed until summer 2021 and Japan still aims for ‘complete’ Olympics

Ten things from the world of sport on Tuesday 17 March

1. Euro 2020 put back to 2021

European football’s governing body Uefa has today confirmed that Euro 2020 has been postponed until 2021 because of the coronavirus pandemic. 

The tournament, which was planned to be held in 12 locations this summer, will now take place on the proposed dates of 11 June to 11 July 2021. 

Uefa president Aleksander Čeferin said: “We are at the helm of a sport that vast numbers of people live and breathe that has been laid low by this invisible and fast-moving opponent. It is at times like these, that the football community needs to show responsibility, unity, solidarity and altruism. 

“The health of fans, staff and players has to be our number one priority and in that spirit, Uefa tabled a range of options so that competitions can finish this season safely and I am proud of the response of my colleagues across European football. There was a real spirit of co-operation, with everyone recognising that they had to sacrifice something in order to achieve the best result. 

“It was important that, as the governing body of European football, Uefa led the process and made the biggest sacrifice. Moving Euro 2020 comes at a huge cost for Uefa but we will do our best to ensure that the vital funding for grassroots, women’s football and the development of the game in our 55 countries is not affected. 

“Purpose over profit has been our guiding principle in taking this decision for the good of European football as a whole.”

2. Japan aims for ‘complete’ Olympics

Ahead of today’s meeting of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Japan’s Olympic minister Seiko Hashimoto has said that the country is still aiming to host the summer games on time and with fans in attendance, BBC Sport reports.

The coronavirus pandemic has seen international sport across the world cancelled but the Tokyo 2020 Olympics remain on the schedule for a 24 July start.  

Hashimoto said: “A complete Olympics is what we are aiming for. We will do our utmost to prepare [to hold the Olympics] as scheduled so that the International Olympic Committee will be convinced we are capable of hosting the games. [The event would be] started on time and with spectators in attendance.”

3. Grand National and Boat Races are off

The two latest sporting events to be curtailed by coronavirus are the Boat Races on 29 March and Grand National on 4 April. The Jockey Club said “it is no longer appropriate” to stage the National in the wake of the UK government’s advice against mass gatherings

Sandy Dudgeon, senior steward of the Jockey Club, said: “We were working on a plan to stage the Grand National behind closed doors given its importance to the racing industry and beyond. But following the new government measures confirmed this evening to help to tackle the coronavirus outbreak, this is not a viable option.”

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4. No fans at Dubai World Cup

There is one major horse racing event that will go ahead. The Dubai World Cup will be held on 28 March but there will be no fans at Meydan Racecourse. A Dubai Racing Club statement said: “Due to the ongoing global health implications of the COVID-19/coronavirus and precautionary measures being implemented by the UAE government, Dubai Racing Club will host the Dubai World Cup meeting on 28 March without paid hospitality spectators.”

5. NFL Draft goes ahead 

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has announced that the 2020 NFL Draft will go ahead as scheduled from 23-25 April but there are no events for the public in Las Vegas. Goodell said: “This decision reflects our foremost priority - the health and safety of all fans and citizens. While this outcome is disappointing both to the NFL and to the Las Vegas community, we look forward to partnering with the Raiders, the City of Las Vegas and the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority for a future NFL Draft as well as evaluating opportunities for other major NFL events in Las Vegas in the future, including the Super Bowl.”

NFL: Tom Brady is leaving the Patriots - what next for the ‘goat’?

6. Koepka and Rahm reject Premier Golf League

The BBC reports that the proposed Premier Golf League has suffered a “near-fatal blow” after being spurned by the world’s top three players.

World No.1 Rory McIlroy recently said he will remain with the PGA Tour and now Brooks Koepka and Jon Rahm have followed suit.   

American four-time major winner Koepka said: “I am out of the PGL. I’m going with the PGA Tour.” 

Spaniard Rahm added: “I think what I’m going to do is focus on just the PGA Tour. At the end of the day I’m a competitor. I’m a PGA Tour member and I’m going to stay that way.”

7. Liverpool squad valued at £1.27bn

According to research by the CIES Football Observatory Liverpool are top of European football’s squad valuation league with an aggregate value of €1.4bn (£1.27bn). Man City are second (€1.36bn/£1.23bn) while La Liga rivals FC Barcelona (€1.17bn/£1.06bn) and Real Madrid (€1.1bn/£1bn) are third and fourth respectively.

£1.27bn: Liverpool are top of the table - for most valuable squad in Europe

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8. Fernandes: Ronaldo is my idol 

Manchester United star Bruno Fernandes has revealed that Cristiano Ronaldo is his idol. 

Like Ronaldo, Fernandes signed for United from Sporting Lisbon and the 25-year-old said of his Portugal team-mate: “He [Ronaldo] welcomed me very well to the Portugal national team. We look at him as an idol, he has always been an idol for me. I followed his example, he is one of my favourites. When I was called up by Portugal, he came to me saying, ‘You are doing a good job at Sporting, I like it’. Words like these make the difference.” 

Fernandes: Man Utd star has the X factor to become an Old Trafford legend

9. United trigger Matic extension

Man Utd have triggered a one-year option in Nemanja Matic’s contract. The 31-year-old’s current deal was set to expire this summer but he is now tied to the club until 2021. It’s also reported that the Serbian is in talks with the Old Trafford bosses over a new deal.

10. Back pages: ‘No England games for a year’

According to the Daily Express there will be no England games for a year with the Daily Star also leading with the story on a back page headlined: “Gareth’s Lions caged”. 

Uefa has today postponed Euro 2020 until the summer of 2021 and it’s expected that the decision will allow the completion of domestic leagues, the Champions League and Europa League in May and June.

Today’s back pages

England’s Three Lions are caged for a year

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