Following is a summary of current sports news briefs.
UK Sport hopeful government extends funding for Games in 2021
UK Sport chair Katherine Grainger has said the organization will hold discussions with the government on extending Team GB's current level of funding through to next year's rescheduled Tokyo Olympics. A total of 345 million pounds ($408.9 million) was allocated for Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic athletes but with the current funding cycle running until March 2021 it may no longer cover the Games as intended.
'Virtual' WNBA Draft to be held April 17 as scheduled
The "virtual" WNBA Draft will go on as scheduled April 17 with precautions in place to minimize health risks during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert's announcement of all picks will air live on ESPN2. Top prospects will take part remotely, a plan similar to what has been disclosed by the NFL for its player draft six days later.
Tour de France may go ahead without roadside spectators - sports minister
It is too soon to decide whether the Tour de France can go ahead amid the coronavirus pandemic, but if it does it may be without roadside spectators in order to minimise infection risk, the French sports minister said. Following the postponement of the Euro 2020 soccer Championship and the Tokyo Olympic Games, the Tour de France - which takes place in June and July - is one of the last major global sporting events that has not yet been cancelled or postponed.
IOC working toward July-August Olympics in 2021: Yomiuri
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is working with sports bodies to arrange a July-August window for the postponed Tokyo Olympics in 2021 and hopes to confirm the schedule within a month, Japan's Yomiuri newspaper reported on Thursday. John Coates, the IOC's Coordination Commission chief for Tokyo, told the Yomiuri the Games would have to be held between the tennis Grand Slams of Wimbledon, slated to end in mid-July, and the U.S. Open, which starts in late August.
On canceled Opening Day, Manfred confident MLB will be back
On the day the 2020 Major League Baseball season was supposed to begin, commissioner Rob Manfred vowed the game would return as part of the recovery from the grips of the coronavirus pandemic. "The one thing I know for sure is baseball will be back," Manfred said. "Whenever it's safe to play, we'll be back. Our fans will be back. Our players will be back. And we will be part of the recovery, the healing in this country, from this particular pandemic.
Tokyo delay opens door for dope-tainted Indian wrestler
The postponement of the Tokyo Games to 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic may have opened the door for dope-tainted Indian wrestler Narsingh Yadav to realize his dream of winning an Olympic medal. Yadav was handed a four-year doping ban just hours before his first bout at the Rio Olympics after the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) won its appeal against an earlier exoneration.
Exclusive: Player contracts should be extended due to coronavirus - FIFA internal document
Current contracts for players and coaches should be extended until the end of the delayed domestic soccer seasons, according to an internal FIFA document presented to its Coronavirus Working Group. The confidential document, seen by Reuters, also recommends allowing transfer windows to be changed in accordance with new season dates and urges clubs and players to work together to find solutions to salary payments during stoppages.
South Korea wants age limit raised for 2021 football tournament
South Korea's football association on Thursday called on the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to raise the age limit for the Tokyo Games in 2021 to ensure those players who helped their teams qualify are still eligible to compete. The Olympic men's football tournament is restricted to under-23 players. For 2020, players born on or after Jan. 1 1997 are eligible, while squads can also include three players over the age of 23.
Tokyo postponement could delay retirement for India's Paes
Veteran Indian tennis player Leander Paes is contemplating extending his career by another year to bid for an eighth Olympic appearance following the postponement of the Tokyo Games to 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic. Paes, who will turn 47 in June, announced late last year that 2020 would be his "farewell year" as a professional before he hangs up his racket.
Sadness in scarred Fukushima after torch relay canceled
It was meant to be the start of a triumphant march to the Tokyo 2020 Games: the torch relay would begin on Thursday in Fukushima, battered by the 2011 earthquake and nuclear disaster, as a poignant symbol of the "Recovery Olympics." But instead, it was like any other day for this prefecture in northeast Japan after the relay was scrapped following the Games' postponement due to the coronavirus pandemic.