Sports Digest: the virus concerns the forced arrest of all footballers in Argentina


ARGENTINA: All football in Argentina was suspended for nine days on Friday before a strict shutdown decree for much of the country amid the coronavirus pandemic. The move comes about three weeks before the start, on June 13, of the Copa America, the continental football championship to be played in Argentina.

The suspension is another blow for Copa America organizer CONMEBOL. The South American football body decided on Thursday to remove Colombia as a co-host amid a wave of protests against the country’s president, Iván Duque. Argentine President Alberto Fernández said this week that Argentina could host the entire Copa America if needed, but CONMEBOL has not yet clarified where the matches originally scheduled for Colombia will be played.

The decision by Argentina’s football association, known as AFA, to suspend the game in the country does not apply to Copa Libertadores matches scheduled for next week.

“At this time when our country must make an effort to control this painful pandemic which is affecting us, the AFA and everyone in football will once again follow the national authorities and suspend the program of all matches of the local tournaments for nine days, “he added. said in a statement.

Argentina averages around 35,000 daily cases of COVID-19, and the number of deaths from the virus has increased rapidly, totaling nearly 73,000. Fernández on Thursday released his decree closing down high-risk regions. It will start on Saturday and will last until May 31.

MESSI: Lionel Messi might have played his last game for Barcelona. The Argentina star was allowed to skip the squad’s last game of the Spanish league season – at Eibar on Saturday – so he can rest more ahead of the Copa América, Barcelona said on Friday.

Messi did not train on Friday. Barcelona are not in contention for the league title. His contract expires at the end of this season and he has not indicated that he will sign a new one. Messi, 33, has been at Barcelona for his entire career but tried to leave after the 2019-20 season, telling himself he was not happy with the direction the club has taken.

EUROPEAN LEAGUE: Manchester United captain Harry Maguire is expected to miss the Europa League final against Villarreal on Wednesday. United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has played down expectations of Maguire’s return from an ankle injury in time to play in Gdansk, Poland.

“He is walking, but there is a long way between walking and running,” Solskjaer said on Friday. “So to be honest I don’t think we’ll see it in Gdansk, no.”

England center-back suffered ankle ligament damage during a Premier League game at Aston Villa on May 9 when Villa winger Anwar El Ghazi landed on him.


HALEP OUTSIDE THE FRENCH OPEN: Simona Halep, ranked third, withdrew from Roland Garros on Friday due to a calf injury. The 29-year-old Romanian, who won the title at Roland Garros in 2018, tore a left calf muscle at the Italian Open and said she needed more time to heal. The French Open starts on May 30.

“To withdraw from a Grand Slam goes against all of my instincts and aspirations as an athlete, but it is the right one and the only decision to be made,” said Halep.

Halep is a three-time finalist at Roland-Garros. She beat Sloane Stephens in the 2018 final in Paris for her first major singles title. Halep is the reigning champion at Wimbledon, winning the title in 2019. Last year’s tournament was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

This year’s Wimbledon tournament is scheduled to start on June 28.


TOUR OF WWE SHOTS: World Wrestling Entertainment Inc., which saw the pandemic wipe out its lucrative touring business last year, is back on the road. The wrestling league will begin a 25-city tour in July in front of a large crowd, the company said on Friday. The tour begins July 16 in Houston, followed by events on July 18 in Fort Worth, Texas, and July 19 in Dallas. It will last until the beginning of September.

Confidence in hosting live events with fans is skyrocketing due to the growing number of people vaccinated in the United States and the reduction in cases of the virus. Concert organizers have announced plans for major festivals and shows throughout the summer and fall, while the basketball playoffs take place with a limited number of fans in the arenas.

WWE suspended touring in March 2020 and held its two weekly events, Raw and SmackDown, without fans for 70 consecutive weeks. He offered a limited number of tickets to his biggest annual attraction, WrestleMania, which sold out two nights at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla., In April.


ITALIA TOUR: On the Giro d’Italia for the eighth time in his career, Giacomo Nizzolo finally claimed his first stage victory in his home Grand Tour on Friday in Verona, Italy, while the overall lead of Egal Bernal is remained unchanged. Nizzolo won a mass sprint at the end of the 198-kilometer (123-mile) all-flat 13th stage from Ravenna to Verona.

Bernal, the 2019 Tour de France champion, kept 45 seconds ahead of Aleksandr Vlasov and 1 minute and 12 seconds ahead of Damiano Caruso. Edoardo Affini took the lead at the start of the sprint but Nizzolo passed him just before the line. Affini was second and Peter Sagan third.

A big challenge awaits you on Saturday with a painful climb to Monte Zoncolan concluding the 14th stage.

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