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Coronavirus latest: NBA planning for July return

Coronavirus latest: NBA planning for July return
© Reuters
The NBA is in discussions with The Walt Disney Company about resuming the NBA in late July.

Basketball great Patrick Ewing is self-isolating in hospital after testing positive for coronavirus while the NBA announced hopes to resume the season in July.

An 11-time NBA All-Star, Ewing also collected two Olympic golds, the second of which came when he was part of the United States' 1992 squad, dubbed the 'Dream Team' because of the inclusion of so many all-time greats.

The 57-year-old said on Twitter: "I want to share that I have tested positive for COVID-19. This virus is serious and should not be taken lightly. I want to encourage everyone to stay safe and take care of yourselves and your loved ones."

The NBA is in discussions with The Walt Disney Company about resuming the NBA in late July at a single-site complex in Florida.

The league has been shut down since March 11 due to coronavirus, but the governing body is looking at restarting the season at Disney's ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.

All games, practice sessions and housing of the players would be staged at the venue in Orlando.

NBA chief communications officer Mike Bass said: "The NBA in conjunction with the National Basketball Players Association, is engaged in exploratory discussions with the Walt Disney Company about restarting the 2019-20 NBA season in late July at Disney's ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Florida as a single site campus for games, practices and housing."

LaLiga has been given the go-ahead to restart from June 8, according to Spain's Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez in an address to the nation.

The Spanish top-flight was suspended on March 12 because of coronavirus but the league stepped up its preparations for a resumption as group training of up to 10 players was allowed at the start of the week.

There are 11 rounds of fixtures still to play in LaLiga, which will confirm a return date in the coming days although Javier Tebas, the league's president, has stated June 12 is an option.

"The resumption of major professional sporting competitions and, in particular, La Liga will be allowed from the week of June 8," Sanchez said in a quote according to the BBC.

The Segunda Division – Spain's second tier – has also been cleared to resume on the same date.

Scottish Football Association chief executive Ian Maxwell believes the game is likely to return in August.

Some previous predictions from within the Scottish football authorities had signalled September or October as a realistic return date following the coronavirus suspension but Maxwell is more optimistic ahead of a meeting with the Scottish Government on Friday.

A route out of lockdown was published on Thursday which outlined phase two as the beginning of professional sport's return, with phase one set to begin on May 28.

"I think it is likely that we will see football in August," Maxwell told BBC Radio Scotland's Sportsound. "We are seeing it in countries across Europe.

SFA chief executive Ian Maxwell is confident of professional football in Scotland restarting in August
SFA chief executive Ian Maxwell is confident of professional football in Scotland restarting in August (Andrew Milligan/PA)

"I think it is definitely achievable, the plans we are putting in place are comprehensive. We have to make sure we are giving Government comfort that we can do it in a manner that keeps the players, the staff, everybody involved in the game safe, and I'm sure we can do that."

But Scottish Government health official Jason Leitch has warned that professional sport will have to go through a number of stages before a return to competitive action.

A detailed route out of lockdown was published last week which stated that sports such as golf, angling and bowls would start to come back from May 28 with a return of professional sport to come in phase two.

With the restrictions currently reviewed every three weeks, that timeline has given sports fans hopes but Leitch, Scotland's national clinical director, warned that no dates had been attached to the phases.

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