Major League Soccer
Home | Scoreboard | Match Schedule | Standings | Clubs | Transfers | Player Leaders

The Latest: Atlanta players open to plan to restart MLS

(AP Photo/Danny Karnik)

By The Associated Press

The Latest on the effects of the coronavirus outbreak on sports around the world:

Atlanta United players Anton Walkes and Fernando Meza say they're open to the idea of resuming Major League Soccer with all teams playing in the Orlando, Florida, area.

But Walkes said there are a number of issues that must be addressed before such a plan could be approved.

"The safety of everyone is first and foremost," he said on a video conference call with Atlanta media.

Details of the plan are still under consideration, but the league's 26 teams and limited staff would likely be sheltered in a resort with games played without fans at ESPN's Wide World of Sports Complex at Disney World. The league suspended play on March 12 after teams had played just two games.

Meza said "the logistics of it will be challenging."

Walkes said he's also concerned about the mental aspect of players being asked to essentially quarantine in one location - especially if it means being without families and friends for potentially several months.

Teams could head to Florida as early as June 1 for training camps. After such a long layoff, Walkes indicated it would likely take at least a month to get in proper playing shape to start up again.

The Austrian soccer league says it is investigating first-place club LASK Linz for breaking rules on training during the coronavirus pandemic.

Clubs in Austria are only supposed to hold training for small groups of players under social distancing regulations before full training begins Friday.

But the league says it was sent multiple videos showing "a regular team training session" which supposedly took place "recently." LASK has been charged with a violation of fair-play principles. The team could be fined or have points deducted.

Salzburg commercial director Stephan Reiter says the second-place club is "shocked and stunned" at LASK's conduct.

Soccer is scheduled to resume in the country with the Austrian Cup final on May 29 before the league starts up again next month.

Ireland has postponed its limited-overs cricket matches against New Zealand and Pakistan in June and July because of the coronavirus pandemic.

New Zealand Cricket informed Cricket Ireland this week it couldn't travel and the latter has confirmed putting off the matches in Northern Ireland. The teams were to meet for three Twenty20s in Bready and three one-day internationals in Belfast from June 19 to July 2.

Restrictions on travel and professional sports also forced Cricket Ireland to postpone hosting Pakistan in two T20s on July 12 and 14.

The Netherlands legs of both tours by New Zealand and Pakistan had already been curtailed last month after the Dutch government banned all big sports events until Sept. 1.

Pakistan is still scheduled to tour England for three tests and three T20s from July 30 to Sept. 2.

Cricket Ireland says it is talking with England officials about possibly rescheduling their three ODIs in September in England.

Udinese owner Gianpaolo Pozzo says it "wouldn't make sense" to restart Serie A anytime soon.

Pozzo says it's better to wait until "we've passed the critical phase" before thinking about restarting.

He says if a team is ordered into quarantine after playing two or three matches because a player tests positive and the season is stopped again "we'll have made a huge mistake."

Udinese was three points above the relegation zone in 14th place before Serie A was suspended on March 9.

The Italian soccer federation has set up a pool of inspectors to check that teams comply with new health protocols and government decrees issued during the coronavirus pandemic.

Serie A teams were permitted to resume individual training on May 4 while full team training can restart Monday.

Lazio has reportedly already been training in groups of three players. The federation says inspectors will verify that practices are held according to the rules.

The league said on Wednesday that it hopes to resume playing games on June 13 but the government has not approved a restart yet.

Turkish soccer club Besiktas says eight people have tested positive for the coronavirus and training has been suspended.

The club says president Ahmet Nar Cebi and a player were among those who tested positive.

Turkish teams have resumed limited training sessions following the federation's decision to restart matches in empty stadiums on June 12.

The three leading women's pole vaulters get their turn to compete on Saturday in the second edition of the Ultimate Garden Clash.

Katerina Stefanidi of Greece, Katie Nageotte of the United States and Alysha Newman of Canada will participate in the event but won't be competing in their backyards because they don't have the equipment at home. They will instead be at nearby training facilities.

The top men's pole vaulters competed in the Ultimate Garden Clash at their homes in early May. Mondo Duplantis and Renaud Lavillenie shared the victory with more than 250,000 people watching a live stream.

The winner on Saturday will be the vaulter who clears the bar at 4 meters the most times in 30 minutes.

More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

Updated May 14, 2020

Sports Data API Powered by STATS © 2020 by STATS PERFORM.
Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS PERFROM is strictly prohibited.