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Coronavirus: Warriors to play without fans, Giants to move home game

The Golden State Warriors will play in an empty arena when they take on the Brooklyn Nets at 10:30 p.m. EDT Thursday at Chase Center in San Francisco. File Photo by Terry Schmitt/UPI
The Golden State Warriors will play in an empty arena when they take on the Brooklyn Nets at 10:30 p.m. EDT Thursday at Chase Center in San Francisco. File Photo by Terry Schmitt/UPI | License Photo

March 11 (UPI) -- The Golden State Warriors on Wednesday became the first NBA team to announce it will play a game without fans because of the coronavirus outbreak.

"Due to escalating concerns about the spread of the coronavirus, and in consultation with the city and county of San Francisco, [Thursday's] game vs. the Brooklyn Nets at Chase Center will be played without fans. Fans with tickets to this game will receive a refund in the amount paid," the Warriors said.

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The Warriors' announcement came after the San Francisco Health Office issued an order that prohibits group events of 1,000 people or more for the next two weeks. Golden State has a five-game road trip after Thursday's game. The Warriors are to return to Chase Center on March 25.

The Warriors and Nets tip off at 10:30 p.m. EDT Thursday in San Francisco.

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Major League Baseball's San Francisco Giants also issued a statement, saying they will not play their March 24 exhibition game against the Oakland Athletics at Oracle Park in San Francisco. The Giants are working with MLB to finalize alternative arrangements for the game.



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The NBA, MLS, NHL and MLB announced Monday that they have closed locker rooms to media and any non-essential personnel until further notice. The New York Knicks have postponed their 50th anniversary celebration for the 1969-1970 championship team due to concerns about the coronavirus.

Sources told SNY and the New York Post players from the championship team were concerned about traveling to New York for the March 21 ceremony due to the outbreak. All of the team members are older than 70.

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In Santa Clara County, Calif., the public health officer issued an order Monday to cancel mass gatherings of more than 1,000 people. The ban went into effect Wednesday afternoon and will last three weeks.

While there is no NBA franchise in Santa Clara County, but there are NHL, AHL team and MLS teams in the area. Stanford University also is in the county. Santa Clara County reported its first coronavirus-related death Monday.

"SAP Center at San Jose is aware of the county of Santa Clara's Public Health Department order to prohibit public and private mass gatherings through the end of March," the San Jose Sharks said in a statement.

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The San Jose Earthquakes major league soccer team said it will comply with the county mandate. The Earthquakes' next home game is March 21.

"The San Jose Earthquakes fully support the county of Santa Clara Public Health Department's recent announcement barring all mass gatherings through the end of the month and will comply immediately," the Earthquakes said in a statement.

At Stanford, the athletic department announced Monday that all home sporting events will be closed to the public until at least May 15.

Other college sports impacted

The University of Southern California and UCLA have banned fans from home sporting events in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

The Trojans barred fans from games until at least March 29 and the Bruins until at least April 10. Home events for USC and UCLA will be limited to student-athletes, coaches, officials, media members and other essential personnel.

Three schools have canceled their trips to play against the Trojans this weekend in Los Angeles, including North Carolina State's women's tennis team, Harvard's men's volleyball team and Stony Brook's women's lacrosse team.

"Please know that these measures were taken with an abundance of caution for the health and well-being of our campus community," USC said in a news release.

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"USC athletics will continue to take direction from the university and its emergency operations center team that meets daily to assess the coronavirus situation and its effect on our campus and community, with recommendations from Los Angeles County health authorities and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Meanwhile, Michigan and Ohio State canceled their annual spring football games over concerns about the coronavirus.

In a statement released Wednesday, Michigan announced it won't play its scrimmage scheduled for April 18 in Ann Arbor. The school also announced that all third-party competitions and events scheduled to take place on or in its athletic facilities through April 21 are canceled.

Ohio State announced Wednesday its spring game, set for April 11 at Ohio Stadium, was canceled.

All other Ohio State sporting events for the remainder of this academic year "will be limited to student-athletes and their immediate family members, team coaches and staff, essential event management, operational and facility staff, and credentialed members of the media."

Ivy League cancellations

The fan bans came after the Ivy League on Tuesday canceled its men's and women's basketball conference tournaments due to coronavirus concerns. The four-team tournaments were set to begin Friday and end Sunday in Cambridge, Mass.

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The Ivy League's decision resulted in Yale being named the men's conference champion and Princeton being named the women's conference champion. Both squads earned automatic bids into the NCAA Division I basketball tournament after being given the titles, despite not playing conference tournament games.

The Ivy League also canceled all out-of-season practices and competitions and said other sporting events will be highly restrictive for spectators.

No other major Division I conference tournaments have been canceled, but several conferences announced fan bans for games, including the Mid-American and Big West conferences. The Mid-American Conference tournament is being played in Cleveland. The Big West Conference tournament is in Anaheim, Calif.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said Tuesday that the state has recommended all Ohio universities move to remote classes and indoor sporting events be held without fans. Ohio State University, Miami University, Ohio University, the University of Cincinnati and other major Ohio universities have suspended in-person classes and have moved to online courses.

College basketball is entering the climax of its season, but soccer has been the sport hit hardest globally as a result of the coronavirus. Several games in Spain's La Liga, Italy's Serie A, Germany's Bundesliga, England's Premier League, France's Ligue 1 and the Champions League have been postponed, canceled or held without fans in the last two weeks.

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Soccer postponements

Manchester City and Arsenal were set to play a Premier League match Wednesday, but the game has been postponed due to a link to the coronavirus. Several players and members of Arsenal's team staff were sitting near Olympiakos owner Evangelos Marinakis during a match Thursday in London. Marinakis announced Tuesday that he tested positive for the coronavirus.

"As a result, the players are unavailable for [Wednesday's] match against Manchester City and the Premier League has decided the game should be postponed," Arsenal said.

Brighton, Arsenal's next opponent, said they plan to play their match against the Gunners Saturday in Brighton, England. Olympiakos announced Wednesday that the entire team tested negative for the coronavirus.

Italy has been one of the countries hit hard by the coronavirus. Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announced Monday that all sporting events in the country will be suspended until April.

Serie A has suspended play until at least April 3. UEFA also suspended two Europa League round of 16 matchups that were planned for Thursday in Milan, Italy, and Seville, Spain. AS Roma said they could not play Sevilla because their plane was not authorized to land in Spain. Getafe president Angel Torres said Getafe would not travel to Italy to face Inter Milan, citing coronavirus concerns.

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The Seattle Sounders became the first MLS team impacted by the outbreak Wednesday after Washington Gov. Jay Inslee announced that events with more than 250 people are banned in King County. The Sounders said they will postpone their March 21 match against FC Dallas as a result of the order.

Juventus defender Daniele Rugani tested positive for the coronavirus, the club announced Wednesday night. He became the most prominent professional soccer player to test positive for the disease.

"The footballer, Daniele Rugani, has tested positive for Coronavirus-COVID-19 and is currently asymptomatic," the club said in a statement. "Juventus football club is currently activating all the isolation procedures required by law, including those who have had contact with him."

German club Hannover announced Wednesday that defender Timo Hubers also tested positive for the virus.

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