Coronavirus wrap: The Open on for now but Belgian football set for cancellation

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The Open remains on but could yet be postponed while Belgium’s Pro League is due to become the first top-level European football division to end prematurely as the fall out to the coronavirus pandemic continues.

The 149th edition of the Championship is due to be held at Royal St George’s in July but is under threat because of the spread of Covid-19.

Speculation had been mounting the event would be postponed – but a final decision has yet to be made.

Martin Slumbers, chief executive of The R&A, said: “We are continuing to work through our options for The Open this year, including postponement.

“Due to a range of external factors, that process is taking some time to resolve.

“We are well aware of the importance of being able to give clear guidance to fans, players and everyone involved and are working to resolve this as soon as we can.”

Belgium’s Pro League is due to end and Club Brugge crowned champions.

The leaders were 15 points clear at the top ahead of the season-ending play-offs.

It is the first top-level football competition in Europe to cancel the season, with just one game of the regular campaign remaining, although the decision needs to be ratified by a general assembly set up by the Pro League on April 15.

Brighton boss Graham Potter, technical director Dan Ashworth and chief executive Paul Barber have all taken significant voluntary pay cuts until June.

The Seagulls have already committed to paying employees, including casual matchday staff who are unable to work due to coronavirus.

An unnamed player tested positive for the virus last week and the squad are on a break from full-time training.

MotoGP’s French Grand Prix has become one of sport’s latest casualties.

The race weekend, which was set to be held at the Bugatti Circuit in Le Mans from May 15 to May 17, has been postponed – with the organisers aiming to reschedule at a later date.

It becomes the latest race to be affected after April’s Spanish Grand Prix was also put on hold.

A MotoGP statement read: “The FIM, IRTA and Dorna Sports regret to announce the postponement of the SHARK Helmets Grand Prix de France.”

Meanwhile, players, coaches and executive staff at Premier League Norwich have donated £200,000 to help local people affected by the pandemic.

The donation is made up of money sacrificed from salary by club staff, and will go towards the purchase and distribution of essential food and toiletries to those in need in the city and the county of Norfolk.

Norwich captain Grant Hanley told the club’s official website: “There are clearly a lot of complexities and discussions happening at this time, but right now this absolutely is the best thing we can do for our community.”

Meanwhile, Spanish giants Atletico Madrid’s players have struck a deal with the club over wages to help 430 non-playing staff. Players will take a 70 per cent cut to safeguard other employees.

Sky Bet Championship Huddersfield have also furloughed the majority of staff, with senior management and the board taking a voluntary pay cut.

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