February 26, 2021

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Coronavirus and sports: Everton ‘appalled’ by Moise Kean house party

Premier League side Everton have strongly condemned the actions of Italian striker Moise Kean after the Italian flouted government lockdown rules. Elsewhere, the NBA are eyeing a return to training.

April 26

— Everton striker Moise Kean in hot water

Premier League side Everton have strongly condemned the actions of striker Moise Kean after the Italian flouted government lockdown rules by hosting a house party. Images of the 20-year-old, who joined from Juventus last summer, appeared in the British press on Saturday.

“Everton Football Club was appalled to learn of an incident in which a first team player ignored government guidance and club policy in relation to the coronavirus crisis,” the Premier League club said in a statement. “The club has strongly expressed its disappointment to the player and made it clear that such actions are completely unacceptable.

— NBA players set to return to training

Reports in the U.S. are suggesting that NBA players could return to team training facilities as early as Friday, provided there are no stay-at-home orders as part of the response to the coronavirus pandemic in their respective states.

The NBA was the first major professional American sports league to halt its season due to the coronavirus on March 11 after Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz tested positive. 

Strict measures are being put in place, while the resumption of training will initially be on a purely voluntary basis.

— Nicaragua host boxing event as fighters “have to eat”

Boxing resumed in Nicaragua on Saturday night with a televised eight-fight card infront of a live, though sparse audience in Managua.

Promoter Rosendo Alvarez, a former two-time world champion, offered free tickets to the event whilst openly dismissing the threat of the virus.

“Here we don’t fear the coronavirus, and there is no quarantine. The three deaths (reported so far by the Ministry of Health) came from outside and nobody within the country has been contaminated,” Alvarez, known as “El Bufalo,” said before the event. “Nicaragua is a poor country and the boxers have to eat. They can’t stay shut up in their house.”

Officials did not announce attendance figures.

April 25

— Premier League eyeing June return

The English Premier League is hoping to return on June 8 in order to complete the unfinished season on July 27, according to a report in The Times newspaper. The Premier League has 92 games to complete, with most of its 20 teams having played 29 of the 38 games, and it is reported that its executives have been holding talks with the British government with other sports governing bodies.

Games would be played behind closed doors and a maximum of only 400 people would be allowed to attend including the media, subject to a negative Covid-19 test. The United Kingdom recorded 768 coronavirus deaths on Friday, not including those in care homes, with its total number of deaths likely to pass the 20,000 mark on Saturday.

— UFC set for return on May 9 in Florida

After several recent cancellations due to the spread of the coronavirus, the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) has announced its comeback with three fight cards in the space of a week in Jacksonville, Florida.

“We’re going back-to-back: we’re doing Saturday, Wednesday, Saturday,” said Dana White. “This event is going to be stacked from top to bottom. Just the main event, [Tony] Ferguson versus [Justin] Gaejthe. It’s impossible for that to not be an incredible fight.”  

Restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic had prevented UFC 249 from being staged last Saturday after ESPN refused to give the UFC the green light.