Coronavirus in Sport LIVE: Championship aiming to start June 20, Premier League LATEST, Sancho first career hat-trick – The Sun

THE Premier League is a step closer as Man City vs Arsenal on June 17 was announced as the first game of the restarted season.

But Liverpool may have to play at neutral grounds as there are fears over certain fixtures, in particular the Merseyside derby which would be played at Goodison Park.

Old Trafford could be another ground deemed unsuitable for games, with United's fixture against Sheffield United earmarked for a neutral venue.

Follow all the latest coronavirus in sport updates below…

 

  • MORNING, SPORTS FANS

    The Sky Bet Championship is set for a June 20 resumption after the English Football League agreed on a provisional return date.

    The Premier League announced on Thursday that play is due to return on June 17 following the coronavirus suspension that began in mid-March.

    The EFL followed suit on Sunday evening, announcing that the Championship is set to restart around the same time.

    Meanwhile, Premier League clubs will reportedly oppose a points-per-game resolution if the Premier League season is halted by coronavirus again.

    And those battling for Premier League survival would not be in favour of a points-per-game finish to the season.

    The teams currently occupying the relegation places are Norwich, Aston Villa and Bournemouth.

    If points-per-game was used now these three teams would be dropping down to the Championship.

    In other news, Atalanta boss Gianpiero Gasperini claims he caught Covid-19 AFTER his team's Champions League clash against Valencia – which was dubbed the 'coronavirus timebomb'.

    The 62-year-old says the virus made him feel like he was fighting for his life.

    And finally, Jose Mourinho has told players worried about the season restarting to stop being selfish and get on with it.

  • LET'S PLAY BALL

    The Sky Bet Championship is set for a June 20 resumption after the English Football League agreed on a provisional return date.

    The Premier League announced on Thursday that play is due to return on June 17 following the coronavirus suspension that began in mid-March.

    The EFL followed suit on Sunday evening, announcing that the Championship is set to restart around the same time.

    In a statement, the EFL said: “Following Saturday's announcement by the Government to allow elite sporting events to return behind closed doors, the EFL has this weekend agreed to a provisional restart date of the weekend of 20 June 2020 for matches in the Sky Bet Championship.

    “The date is subject to the strict proviso that all safety requirements and Government guidance is met; and that clubs receive clearance from their local authorities in order to stage matches at their home grounds.

    “After discussing various approaches, and, the importance of completing the season in a similar timeline to that of the Premier League to avoid any potential issues with promoted and relegated clubs, the Sky Bet Championship season is set to conclude with the Championship play-off final on or around 30 July 2020.

    “Final details are still to be confirmed following further discussions with the League's Broadcast partner, Sky Sports.”

  • POINT OF ORDER

    Premier League clubs will reportedly oppose a points-per-game resolution if the Premier League season is halted by coronavirus again.

    The season is set to resume on June 17 after the government gave the green light for behind-closed-doors action.

    But with government's lockdown restrictions easing, there are fears that there could be another spike in Covid-19 cases.

    That could ultimately lead to the government reversing its decision on live sport continuing.

    And those battling for Premier League survival would NOT be in favour of a points-per-game finish to the season.

    This would put league chiefs in a very difficult position, as the FA are against cancelling relegation in order to uphold sporting merit.

    The teams currently occupying the relegation places are Norwich, Aston Villa and Bournemouth.

    If points-per-game was used now these three teams would be dropping down to the Championship.

  • CRY NO MOUR

    Jose Mourinho has told players worried about the season restarting to stop being selfish and get on with it.

    The Tottenham boss admitted last week he was worried about players getting injured by the rush to resume the campaign.

    But after the Government gave the green light for the Premier League to return on June 17, the Special One seems to have changed his mind.

    He said: “We shouldn’t be selfish, we shouldn’t demand too much. It’s our time to give.

    “Everyone has pre-season injuries in normal seasons so we cannot expect now not to have an injury here and there.

    “We cannot ask for more than the authorities are giving us, which is maximum security.

    “I think now it’s time just to play and to give people what they want.”

  • AN ENGLISHMAN IS SCORING

    Jadon Sancho has been outstanding for Borussia Dortmund today.

    The Manchester United and Chelsea target has scored a hat-trick against Paderborn.

  • NOT IMPRESSED

    Atalanta boss Gianpiero Gasperini claims he caught Covid-19 AFTER his team's Champions League clash against Valencia – which was dubbed the 'coronavirus timebomb'.

    And the 62-year-old says the virus made him feel like he was fighting for his life.

    More than 44,000 people travelled to the first leg tie that immunologist Professor Francesco Le Foche said was “the apex of collective euphoria in a unique football season for this club”.

    He added that it “could’ve favoured viral reciprocation” and says that it “was madness to play with a crowd present”.

  • PADERBORN VS DORTMUND LIVE

    We've got kick-by-kick updates from this evening's Bundesliga clash.

    Jadon Sancho starts for Lucien Favre.

    CLICK HERE FOR OUR LIVE BLOG FOR PADERBORN VS DORTMUND

  • TOUGH TIMES

    Lionel Messi fears football will “never be the same” due to the coronavirus pandemic.

    He opened up on the tragedy of seeing loved ones die from the virus, which he describes as the “most unfair thing of all”.

    The 32-year-old told El Pais, via Goal: “Most of us are left with doubts about what the world is going to be like after everything that has happened.

    “Beyond the confinement and the situation that took us by surprise, many people had a really hard time because this situation affected them in some way, as it happened with all those who lost their family and friends and could not even see them.

    “I think there were a lot of negative things in this crisis, but there can be nothing worse than losing the people you love the most, that creates enormous frustration for me and seems to me the most unfair thing of all.

    “Football, like life in general, I think will never be the same.”

  • RIO GRANDE

    Rio Ferdinand has been voted as the greatest Premier League defender ever – after a poll of 9,000 SunSport readers.

    The Manchester United legend pipped Chelsea captain John Terry and Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk to the coveted title.

    Ferdinand was part of United's 2008 Champions League-winning side.

    He took nearly 30 per cent of the vote with 2,622 fans voting for him.

    Terry gained just over 19 per cent, while Van Dijk had 16 per cent.

  • CAN JADO' IT?

    Can Borussia Dortmund keep their fading Bundesliga title hopes alive with a win away at Paderborn?

    Jadon Sancho will surely be back in the starting XI after beginning the game against Bayern Munich on the bench.

    We'll have kick-by-kick coverage here on SunSport, so stay tuned.

    Kick-off is at 5pm British time.

  • SLICED SERVICE

    Wimbledon cannot cook for legends Roger Federer or Serena Williams this summer.

    Yet the strawberries and cream will not go to waste — as tennis chiefs instead feed thousands of vulnerable people across London.

    The 2020 Championships have been cancelled for the first time in 75 years due to Covid-19.

    There will be no balls struck in anger or incredible matches to watch on Centre Court.

    But we can reveal one of the SW19 kitchens will still be busy as the All England Lawn Tennis Club provide around 200 free meals per day for disadvantaged people.

    Executive chef Adam Fargin, 35, usually heads a team of 320 during the two-week tennis action, ensuring thousands of punters are well-fed and watered.

    Instead, he has been hard at work — five days a week, eight hours a day — cooking high-spec ready-made meals in the Wingfield Cafe which are then distributed across the capital.

  • EXPLOSIVE RETURN

    Dynamo Dresden supporters laid on a crazy firework display outside their team hotel ahead of their delayed return to match action.

    A cacophony of explosions was accompanied by a sea of flares as ultras held up a banner reading: “Together against the rest of the world.”

    Dynamo restarted their Bundesliga.II campaign on Sunday afternoon having been held back from competing due to a coronavirus outbreak in the squad.

    Two positive tests after the team returned to training in early May led to the entire team being placed in quarantine.

    A further pair of cases were then confirmed ten days ago, in a player and a member of staff.

  • BRAVE FACE

    Valentina Shevchenko took an absolute battering against Katlyn Chookagian – and had the marks to prove it.

    The UFC star shared a selfie showing her bruised and cut face after her loss at last night's UFC Fight Night in Las Vegas.

    With the victory, Chookagian equalled Valentina Shevchenko's UFC flyweight winning record – by dominating her SISTER.

    Chookagian was left heartbroken after losing against Shevchenko for the 125lb title in her last fight.

    But she took out her frustration on the champion's older sister Antonina, winning every round and leaving her face severely battered.

    Much of the fight was fought on the floor as Chookagian, 35, landed takedowns at will before laying down some forceful ground and pound.

  • CUT IT OUT

    Tyron Woodley suffered a gruesome eye cut as Gilbert Burns pulled off the biggest win of his career last night at UFC Fight Night 176.

    The former welterweight champion was fighting for the first time since losing his belt to Kamaru Usman last year, as he took on in-from Burns at the UFC's Apex Center in Las Vegas.

    The convincing points loss puts a major dent in the 38-year-old's run back to the belt, but Burns, now on a six-fight winning streak, is eyeing a shot at Usman's title.

  • 'I'M FEELING SHARP'

    Harry Kane reckons Spurs may have to win eight of their nine games left if they are to make it into the Champions League.

    Tottenham, in eighth spot, are seven points behind fourth-placed Chelsea — but the Covid-19 shutdown could now give them a chance to resurrect their season.

    England skipper Kane said: “We have got to finish in the top four, there is no doubt about that.

    “We have got a massive game against Manchester United and, realistically, we are going to have to win seven or eight to get into the Champions League.”

  • GAME ON!

    Football has been given the green light to be played behind closed doors when the Premier League returns next month as the government today reveals new guidelines for sport.

    Millions of footie fans were celebrating this week after it was announced the season would restart on June 17 – with all 92 matches shown live on TV and a third of them totally free.

    Premier League Chief Executive Richard Masters revealed games would be played behind closed doors to avoid a second spike – with Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden giving the plans the seal of approval at today's No10 briefing.

    But he warned there would be restrictions in place – including social distancing in the dug-out and players celebrating 2m apart.

  • BOURNE AGAIN

    Eddie Howe believes his Cherries squad is STRONGER than before lockdown.

    Howe, back at his desk plotting team tactics after the 12-week enforced break, said: “It’s really good getting back to work.

    “The stuff we did with groups of five was very productive and very enjoyable — but I’m still delighted to get back to full- contact training.

    “And I’m also delighted to be in the office preparing for the Premier League restart, planning has definitely started for Palace.

    “We have got just over three weeks to get our preparations right — and that time is going to zip by.

    “We must now make sure the players are fit, ready and able to cope with the demands that come afterwards.

    “These nine games are so important to us and we need to get our best players on the pitch.”

  • CORONAVIRUS NEWS

    In positive news ahead of the Premier League return on June 17, the Prem have confirmed that after the fourth round of testing for coronavirus, they've had no new positive results.

    A statement said: “The Premier League can today confirm that on Thursday 28 May and Friday 29 May, 1,130 players and club staff were tested for COVID-19.

    “Of these, zero have tested positive.

    “The Premier League is providing this aggregated information for the purposes of competition integrity and transparency.

    “No specific details as to clubs or individuals will be provided by the League and results will be made public after each round of testing.”

    Meanwhile, Man City could have a ‘pre-season’ of just 14 DAYS if they reach the Champions League final.

    September 12 has been pencilled in for the start of the 2020-21 Premier League campaign.

    But that is just two weeks after the provisional date for Europe’s showpiece on August 29.

    In other news, England and West Indies will have to take several measures to make sure their three-Test series happens in July.

    The ECB has set out a series of measures which it believes makes the environment as safe as possible.

    Players and support staff must attend training in full kit, observe social distancing and take temperature checks on arrival.

    And finally, British Horseracing Authority chief executive Nick Rust hopes the return of racing on Monday will “lift the nation's spirits in difficult times”.

    Racing was given Government clearance to resume on Saturday, with Newcastle's ten-race card representing the first meeting in Britain since Wetherby and Taunton raced behind closed doors on March 17.

    That no-spectators policy will be in place for the foreseeable future, along with a raft of stringent hygiene and social-distancing measures that are pivotal to the Government go-ahead for elite sport following the coronavirus shutdown.

  • MAN DOWN

    Man City could have a ‘pre-season’ of just 14 DAYS if they reach the Champions League final.

    September 12 has been pencilled in for the start of the 2020-21 Premier League campaign.

    But that is just two weeks after the provisional date for Europe’s showpiece on August 29.

    And Pep Guardiola’s side could be facing almost a year of club football without a proper summer break.

    Rivals Liverpool are out of the Champions League and FA Cup, so are due to finish their season on the weekend of July 25.

    This would give them a seven-week turnaround — up to five weeks more than City, who are chasing a cup double.

    And that would be a clear advantage to the champions-elect as they look to defend their domestic crown.

  • FLOYD TRIBUTE

    Schalke's American midfielder Weston McKennie donned a 'Justice For George' armband in the Bundesliga on Saturday to pay tribute to George Floyd.

    Floyd, 46, was an African-American man who died on Monday, after cop Derek Chauvin was filmed kneeling on his neck during an arrest for allegedly using a counterfeit note, a non-violent crime.

    USA international McKennie was spotted wearing the armband in his side's 1-0 loss to Werder Bremen.

    McKennie, who has won 19 caps for his country, later posted a compilation of images of him wearing the armband on Instagram and Twitter.

    The 22-year-old captioned the post: “To be able to use my platform to bring attention to a problem that has been going on to long feels good!!!

    “We have to stand up for what we believe in and I believe that it is time that we are heard! justiceforgeorgefloyd saynotoracism.”

  • HAY DAY

  • CONTACT TRAINING IS BACK

    Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has shared a funny Instagram exchange with Sokratis Papastathopoulos.

    The pair appear to be rowing over how their inter-squad games are reffed.

    Some things never change.

  • ZERO COVID CASES

    The Prem have confirmed that after the fourth round of testing for coronavirus, they've had NO new positive results… so on we march to June 17!

    A statement said: “The Premier League can today confirm that on Thursday 28 May and Friday 29 May, 1,130 players and club staff were tested for COVID-19.

    “Of these, zero have tested positive.

    “The Premier League is providing this aggregated information for the purposes of competition integrity and transparency.

    “No specific details as to clubs or individuals will be provided by the League and results will be made public after each round of testing.”

  • FT: BAYERN MUNICH 5 DUSSELDORF 0

  • JUSTICE FOR GEORGE

    Schalke star Weston McKennie wore a black armband in support of George Floyd, who died after being knelt on at the neck my a police officer in Minneapolis.

    USA international McKennie, 21, tweeted: “To be able to use my platform to bring attention to a problem that has been going on too long feels good!!!

    “We have to stand up for what we believe in and I believe that it is time that we are heard!”

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