Coronavirus wrap: Twickenham becomes drive-through testing centre

The Rugby Football Union has turned Twickenham into a COVID-19 drive-through testing programme.

NHS staff and other key workers will be able to get tested at the site via an appointment system, following the likes of the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium and the Amex Stadium in setting up testing facilities.

RFU chief executive Bill Sweeney said: “The RFU is pleased to be able to support the COVID-19 drive-through testing programme at Twickenham Stadium for NHS and other key workers.

“We receive tremendous support from frontline services during match days at Twickenham and we are grateful for the opportunity to be able to support key workers during this severe national crisis with the use of our site and staff to support operationally.”

A meeting of the International Cricket Council’s chief executives’ committee will be held via conference call on Thursday to discuss the likely impact of coronavirus on the global game.

The meeting, comprising each of the 12 full members nations as well as three representatives from associate cricket, will discuss a series of matters which could determine the shape of sport’s biggest events in the coming years.

With matches and series being postponed across the world and at every level of the game, decisions may need to be made around restructuring the current future tours programme and rescheduling the inaugural World Test Championship and its one-day equivalent. More immediately, the future of the Twenty20 World Cup in Australia – due to start in October – is also in doubt.

ICC chief executive Manu Sawhney said: “This meeting is the first step of a collective process as we assess the impact of this ongoing global pandemic and work together so the sport can emerge from it in a strong position. We need to share knowledge and start to build a deep understanding of what it will take to resume international cricket.

“The scale of this task should not be underestimated and will encompass a myriad of factors until the public health situation has improved to a point that it is safe for our players, our employees, our fans and in a way that will not impact the public health situation adversely.”

Rugby union players in Australia have agreed to take an average salary cut of 60 per cent until September 30.

The Super Rugby season was suspended after the seventh round due to the coronavirus pandemic and Rugby Australia, the four Australian Super Rugby teams and the Rugby Union Players Association (RUPA) have been in discussions of a pay cut for the last three weeks.

A deal has finally been struck with the 192 professional players agreeing to a substantial cut, which will be reversed if the season resumes before the end of September.

Meanwhile, South Africa’s limited-overs tour of Sri Lanka in June has been postponed due to the ongoing spread of coronavirus.

The Proteas were due to visit the island for three Twenty20s and three one-day internationals, the latter series forming part of the International Cricket Council’s new one-day league.

World number one Novak Djokovic’s opposition to vaccines could stand in the way of his return to tennis once it resumes from the coronavirus pandemic.

A push is growing for all players to be vaccinated when tennis starts again, provided a vaccination is produced by then.

Andy Murray’s former coach Amelie Mauresmo last month said tennis should not resume unless players can be vaccinated, although the scientific community has repeatedly said that may be a year away, if a vaccine is developed at all.

“Personally I am opposed to vaccination and I wouldn’t want to be forced by someone to take a vaccine in order to be able to travel,” Djokovic said in a live Facebook chat with several fellow Serbian athletes on Sunday.

Novak Djokovic does not think players should need a vaccination before tennis resumes
Novak Djokovic does not think players should need a vaccination before tennis resumes (Tess Derry/PA)

“But if it becomes compulsory, what will happen? I will have to make a decision.

“I have my own thoughts about the matter and whether those thoughts will change at some point, I don’t know.

“Hypothetically, if the season was to resume in July, August or September, though unlikely, I understand that a vaccine will become a requirement straight after we are out of strict quarantine and there is no vaccine yet.”

Dual grand slam winner Mauresmo last month tweeted: “International circuit = players of all nationalities plus management, spectators and people from the four corners of the world who bring these events to life. No vaccine = no tennis.”

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