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Monday March 30th, 2020 9:24AM

The Latest: Pegulas donating $1.2 million to fight COVID-19

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

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The owners of the NFL's Buffalo Bills and NHL's Buffalo Sabres are committing $1.2 million to supporting local charities and health officials dealing with the new coronavirus pandemic.

Kim Pegula says she and her husband Terry wanted to provide immediate assistance to "those in need and fighting on the front lines."

Money from the teams' charitable foundations will got to the newly formed Western New York COVID-19 community response fund supporting the region's non-profit agencies.

Money also is going to several local food banks and assistance for health officials in purchasing protective gear and medical equipment.

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Rio de Janeiro’s soccer body has extended its prohibition on professional matches in the state to the end of April. The initial suspension is valid until the end of March.

Rio is home to defending Copa Libertadores winners Flamengo.

Brazil has more than 2,400 confirmed cases of the new coronavirus, and 57 people have died.

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The Boston Bruins say they are putting 68 full-time employees on temporary leave and cutting the pay of 82 others who work for the team or Delaware North, which owns the TD Garden.

The moves — which the Bruins called “temporary business stabilization measures” — are effective April 1.

The companies say they intend to restore jobs and compensation “once our business resumes to its normal state from this unprecedented stoppage.”

The Bruins were the last team in the NHL to offer help to gameday employees who lost work because of the coronavirus pandemic — and then only if postponed games aren’t made up. The team is owned by Jeremy Jacobs, who is the chairman of the NHL board of governors and a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame. According to Forbes Magazine, the Jacobs family is worth $3.3 billion.

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Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry is teaming up with Dr. Anthony Fauci for a question-and-answer discussion about the coronavirus.

Curry, a two-time NBA MVP, will host the chat on his Instagram account Thursday — (at)StephenCurry30. Fauci is Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

Curry posted his plans on his Twitter account with an invite to all to submit questions.

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Clemson coach Dabo Swinney is open to the NCAA allowing more football practices after spring ball was cut short because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Tigers got in nine sessions after starting practice Feb. 26 before all spring activities, including their Orange and White scrimmage, were canceled.

Swinney is not in favor of extending fall camp, instead suggesting a sort of NFL-style mini-camp depending on how many spring workouts the team got before spring activities were canceled.

"Maybe if they said everybody could have 12 on-field sessions," Swinney said. “So that means we would get only three just to make it equitable. But some of these schools who got none, they could get 12.”

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Texas Rangers manager Chris Woodward and his wife Erin, a trauma nurse, have recorded a message thanking first responders and health care workers.

The message was sent to the Texas Hospital Association and Medical City of Arlington and Dallas.

“We’re just trying to say thank you to all of these people on the front lines,” Woodward said Wednesday. “The first responders are first on the scene to a lot of these things. ... The doctors, nurses, everybody, they’re putting themselves at risk for all of us.”

Woodward said his wife isn’t currently working in a hospital. She finished a nursing contract at the end of February in Arizona, where they live, and is going back to school for another license.

The Woodwards are also joining Rangers general manager Jon Daniels and his wife, Robyn, to provide meals to health care workers at Medical City of Arlington and Dallas.

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The United Center is going to be turned into a logistics hub to help with Illinois' response to the novel coronavirus.

The United Center and the surrounding area will be used for front-line food distribution, first responder staging and collecting medical supplies.

“On behalf of the Chicago Bulls, Chicago Blackhawks, our athletes, our front offices and our dedicated United Center personnel, our thoughts and support are with the people of this great city and state,” a spokesman for the United Center said in a release. “Together, we will get through this.”

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Mary Roman, a world-class senior athlete who held numerous national age records in track and field, has died of complications from COVID-19, the mayor of Norwalk said. She was 83.

Roman, who also served for 20 years as Norwalk's city clerk, died Monday night at Norwalk Hospital, Mayor Harry Rilling said.

A childhood polio survivor, Roman began competing in senior track events in 1989 and won hundreds of medals, mostly in the throwing disciplines.

At various times, she held the American record in the shot put in the women's 65-69, 70-74 and 75-79 age groups. She also was once the nation's top-ranked thrower and ranked eighth in the world in the weight throw in the 75-79 age group.

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Argentine cyclist Max Richeze has been released from a hospital in the United Arab Emirates, where the UAE Team Emirates rider spent 18 days after testing positive for the coronavirus following the cancellation of the UAE Tour.

Richeze wrote on Instagram that two tests for COVID-19 had come back negative and he was discharged Wednesday.

That status of Richeze's teammate, Fernando Gaviria, remains unknown after he also tested positive for the virus. Two staff members for UAE Team Emirates also tested positive, and the entire team remains in voluntary quarantine.

The second edition of the UAE Tour, a major early season stage race, was canceled with two stages left. Riders and support staff for all 22 teams were isolated, though nearly all of them now have been cleared to leave the country.

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The All England Club says it is still evaluating whether to postpone or cancel Wimbledon because of the coronavirus pandemic and plans to make a decision next week.

That's when the club's main board is scheduled to hold an emergency meeting.

Main-draw play at Wimbledon is slated to start June 29 and preparations for the tournament are supposed to begin in late April.

The club's statement Wednesday says that postponing the two-week grass-court tournament would not come "without significant risk and difficulty" because of the surface.

Playing without fans has been ruled out. Wimbledon hasn't been canceled since World War II.

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NASCAR says in a memo to teams that one of its employees at track at Atlanta Motor Speedway two weeks ago has tested positive for the coronavirus.

The employee was not identified and NASCAR said the individual has been receiving medical care and all potentially exposed have been told to self-quarantine.

NASCAR was at Atlanta scheduled to race March 15 without spectators. But two days prior to the race, NASCAR postponed Atlanta and last weekend's race at Homestead-Miami Speedway, which instead was converted into a virtual iRacing event broadcast on Fox Sports 1 with 35 drivers.

NASCAR has suspended its season through May 9 and will race at least five more iRaces, televised on Fox, during the stoppage.

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Now that the Tokyo Olympics have been postponed for up to a year because of the coronavirus outbreak, world-class athletes have plenty of free time.

American swimming star Ryan Murphy, who won three gold medals at the 2016 Rio Games, is planning to fly home to Jacksonville, Florida,from his training base at Cal-Berkeley.

"I haven't been home in a year and half," the 24-year-old Murphy told The Associated Press on Wednesday. "It's been forever. That's the silver lining to all the madness. My parents are home and I suddenly get to spend a lot more time with them. I'm looking forward to it."

Murphy's coach Dave Durden, one of the head coaches for the U.S. team in Tokyo, essentially wrapped up the season after Tuesday's announcement by the International Olympic Committee. He met with his each of his swimmers and told them to take a few weeks off.

"That's closure for now," Murphy said. “We're taking a step back and trying to create a plan and refocusing toward 2021."

Murphy says he's got a mask, gloves and wipes for his cross-country flight, which comes at a time when much of the world is locked down.

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The NHL's chief medical officer expects the coronavirus pandemic to get worse before it gets better.

Dr. Winne Meeuwisse says the virus "really just entering the rapid acceleration phase" in North America. That makes it unclear when hockey might resume.

He says the league is thankful only two players have tested positive for COVID-19 so far and its hopeful weeks of isolation will prevent more from contracting the virus. Players and staff have been told to self-quarantine until at least April 4.

There is no timeline for when players might be able to start working out in small groups or report to team training facilities. Meeuwisse says the trajectory of the coronavirus outbreak in the U.S. and Canada will determine when that might be possible.

Varying recommendations and lockdown regulations across the league's 31 markets could impact how the NHL proceeds. Meeuwisse and deputy commissioner Bill Daly are still unsure whether fans would be allowed in for potential games when they resume.

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Mary Roman, a world-class senior athlete who held numerous national age records in track and field, has died of complications from COVID-19. She was 83.

Mayor Harry Rilling of Norwalk, Connecticut, made the announcement. Roman, who also served for 20 years as Norwalk's city clerk, died Monday night at Norwalk Hospital.

A childhood polio survivor, Roman began competing in senior track events in 1989 and won hundreds of medals, mostly in the throwing disciplines.

At various times, she held the American record in the shotput in the women's 65-69, 70-74 and 75-79 age groups.

She was once the nation's top-ranked thrower and ranked eighth in the world in the weight throw in the 75-79 age group. In 2016, she was named Connecticut Masters Games Athlete of the Year.

Former Norwalk Mayor Richard Moccia told Hearst Connecticut Media that he didn't think he ever met a person who didn’t like Mary Roman."

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Aqueduct has extended the suspension of live horse racing through at least April 5 because of the impact of the new coronavirus in New York.

As a result, the $750,000 Wood Memorial has been postponed. No make-up date has been determined yet for the major Kentucky Derby prep that was to be run on April 4.

Last Thursday, the New York Racing Association suspended racing at Aqueduct after confirmation that a backstretch worker who lived and worked at Belmont Park tested positive for COVID-19. The Belmont backstretch is home to 585 workers who tend to the daily care of more than 1,300 horses stabled on the property.

The pandemic has affected other prep races for the Kentucky Derby, which itself was postponed from May 2 to Sept. 5. The Sunland Derby in New Mexico and Blue Grass and Lexington stakes in Kentucky have been canceled, along with the UAE Derby. The Arkansas Derby was pushed back from April 11 to May 2.

For now, the Florida Derby on March 28 and Santa Anita Derby on April 4 are still scheduled.

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NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has instructed the 32 teams to close their facilities to all but a select few employees by 6 p.m. Wednesday.

In a memo to the teams, Goodell said the restrictions meant as a safeguard against the new coronavirus will be in force until at least April 8. Then the league will re-evaluate, using advice from medical experts and health authorities. The few exceptions include trainers and doctors treating players, security and technology personnel.

The NFL has gotten some pushback for not postponing the draft scheduled for April 23-25 while the rest of the sports world is largely shut down. The league is developing a new format because it has scrapped the public events set for Las Vegas.

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The Belgian soccer league says clubs should not apply for temporary layoffs for their players despite matches remaining suspended because of the coronavirus outbreak.

The league asked clubs not to burden the government's temporary unemployment scheme for employees forced out of work because of the lockdown measures implemented in Belgium.

The league says exceptions can be made only “for urgent economic reasons."

The league also says it's too early to decide when matches can resume.

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

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