Daily Briefing

Sport shorts: NHS accepts hotel offer from Chelsea owner Abramovich and Bale could leave Real Madrid on a free

Ten things from the world of sport on Wednesday 18 March

1. Chelsea hotel offer accepted by the NHS

Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich has offered to pay for NHS staff to stay at the club’s Millennium Hotel at Stamford Bridge for the next two months. 

Independent reports that Abramovich has personally taken the decision to help during the coronavirus crisis and the offer of free accommodation for staff has been accepted by the NHS. 

The Premier League club said: “Chelsea Football Club is joining the medical response to the coronavirus outbreak in London with the news the National Health Service [NHS] has accepted the club’s offer to make the Millennium Hotel at Stamford Bridge available for NHS staff.

“The initiative came from club owner Roman Abramovich and, after contact with the NHS was made by chairman Bruce Buck, it was decided the best way Chelsea can assist the NHS is to provide accommodation for NHS staff. Mr Abramovich will be covering the costs of providing the accommodation.” 

2. IOC member calls stance ‘irresponsible’

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) says “no drastic action” will be taken yet over the future of the Tokyo 2020 games amid the coronavirus crisis.

However, the IOC’s stance has been labelled “insensitive and irresponsible” by one of its own members. 

Canadian Hayley Wickenheiser, a four-time ice hockey Olympic gold medallist, said: “This crisis is bigger than even the Olympics. I think the IOC insisting this will move ahead, with such conviction, is insensitive and irresponsible given the state of humanity.” 

‘Insensitive and irresponsible’: IOC slammed over Tokyo 2020 Olympics coronavirus stance 

3. PGA Championship postponed

The PGA Championship has become the second golf major to be postponed. The event was scheduled for 11-17 May at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco.

PGA of America chief executive officer Seth Waugh said: “Postponement is the best decision for all involved. Throughout our evaluation process, we have been committed to following the guidance of public health authorities. 

“This is a reflection of a thoughtful process. We are and have been working in concert with [PGA Tour] commissioner Jay Monahan and our partners and friends at the PGA Tour to find an alternative date that works for all. We are all very hopeful for a great outcome.” 

The Masters in April has also been postponed. 

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4. UK racing suspended 

The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) has announced that all racing in the United Kingdom will be suspended until the end of April. However, today’s meetings at Wetherby and Taunton go ahead without spectators.

BHA chief executive Nick Rust said: “This is a national emergency the like of which most of us have never seen before.

“We’re a sport that is proud of its connection to rural communities and to the local businesses that support our industry. But our first duty is to the health of the public, our customers and to racing industry participants and staff so we have decided to suspend racing following the government's latest advice.”

5. No Parkrun events anywhere this week

Parkrun organisers have announced that for the first time in 15 years there will be no events taking place on a weekend. All Parkrun events in the UK, Russia, South Africa, Namibia and Eswatini have now been suspended until at least the end of March.

Real Madrid’s Gareth Bale scored a stunning goal in the 2018 Champions League final victory against Liverpool

Franck Fife/AFP/Getty Images

6. Bale could leave on a free

According to talkSPORT Real Madrid could allow Gareth Bale to leave the club on a free transfer this summer. 

The 30-year-old forward has struggled to force his way into Zinedine Zidane’s starting XI and the Real head coach may look to offload the Welshman at the end of the season. 

Manchester United and Tottenham have both regularly been linked with making a move to bring Bale back to the Premier League.

7. Barca still keen on Aubameyang

Spanish giants Barcelona are preparing to swoop for Arsenal captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

The Gunners look resigned to losing their star striker, the Daily Mail reports, and have placed a £50m price on his head. 

Aubameyang’s contract at the Emirates expires in the summer of 2021 and Arsenal may be forced to cash in. 

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8. Mayweather family in mourning 

American boxing icon Floyd Mayweather is in mourning following the death of his uncle and former trainer Roger. 

The 43-year-old, who finished with a 50-0 record, said: “Roger was a great champion and one of the best trainers in boxing. My uncle was one of the most important people in my life inside and outside of the ring. 

“Unfortunately, his health was failing him for several years and now he can finally rest in peace. Roger meant the world to me, my father Floyd Sr, my uncle Jeff, our whole family, everyone in and around the Mayweather Boxing Gym and the entire boxing world. It is a terrible loss for all of us.”

9. Brady is set for the Bucs

Tom Brady, a six-time NFL Super Bowl winner, is on the verge of agreeing a deal to sign for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. 

The 42-year-old quarterback yesterday announced he was leaving the New England Patriots after 20 years and NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reports that he will sign for the Bucs. 

Rapoport said the deal is “agreed and finalised” and all that’s left is for Brady to announce it.

10. Back pages: French Open dates moved 

The news that the French Open tennis grand slam has been rescheduled for September is reported on the back pages of many of the papers. 

Roland Garros was supposed to host the world’s finest from 24 May to 7 June but it will now start on 20 September, making it the last of the year’s majors.

The Guardian says that the decision by the French Tennis Federation to reschedule the clay-court major has “created confusion and anger” as it will clash with the Laver Cup and start just a week after the US Open

Today’s back pages

French Open farce creates ‘confusion and anger’ and Champions League could be played on weekend

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