Coronavirus Hits Sport: Formula One senior management take pay cuts, send staff on leave

Formula One has put almost half its staff on furlough until the end of May, due to the coronavirus, with chairman Chase Carey and senior management also taking pay cuts.

Sources said those on furlough were mainly employees whose work was race-weekend focused and who could not carry out their tasks remotely. The company employs more than 500 people.

A spokesman said the senior leadership team had voluntarily taken a 20 percent pay cut, but would remain at work, while American Carey had taken a bigger reduction.

F1 gains most of its revenue from race-promotion fees, broadcast deals, and advertising and sponsorship, which have all been stalled by the virus, with most sport at a standstill globally.

Three of the seven British-based teams - McLaren, Williams and Racing Point - have also furloughed staff in the past week to cut costs.

The F1 season has yet to start, with the March 15 season-opener in Australia cancelled, along with the Monaco showcase in May.

F1 boss Chase Carey
F1 boss Chase Carey Photo credit: Getty

Six other races have been postponed and Liberty Media-owned Formula One hopes to start up sometime in the European summer, conditions permitting, with a reduced schedule of 15-18 races.

F1 will now extend its shutdown period by a further two weeks, from 21 to 35 days, as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

The shutdown is normally in the summer, when teams are not allowed to carry out development work on their cars.

Last month, governing body FIA brought the summer shutdown period forward to the spring and extended it by seven days to three weeks.


Dutch league to restart in June

The Dutch FA (KNVB) plans to resume the suspended soccer season for its top two divisions behind closed doors on June 19, after a meeting of clubs and other major stakeholders.

Clubs hope to return to training in mid-May, should the government lift restrictions to combat the threat of the coronavirus pandemic, which has hit the country hard with more than 2000 deaths.

The decision would keep the Dutch in line with governing body UEFA's wishes that all countries try to complete their seasons, even if several months late, although some top Dutch clubs want the rest of the season to be cancelled, like in neighbouring Belgium.

The KNVB was not immediately available to comment on the reports that a full programme of league games would be played on the weekend of June 19-21, followed by a handful of catch-up games, but all behind closed doors.

A date for the Dutch Cup final between Feyenoord and FC Utrecht was still to be found, and there were plans to shorten the end of season promotion-relegation playoffs.

The conference call with all first and second division clubs was also attended by the players' union, refereeing representatives, television rightsholders and the supporters' association, reports added.

Last week, three of the top four clubs in the Dutch Eredivisie league table - Ajax Amsterdam, AZ Alkmaar and PSV Eindhoven - all called for an end to the current campaign, criticising the KNVB's desire to try and complete the term.

Ajax technical director Marc Overmars said: "We in the Netherlands are not as dependent on television rights incomes as the leagues in Spain, England, Italy and Germany are.

"I think that they had been put under big pressure by UEFA to continue playing at whatever cost," added the former Barcelona and Arsenal winger.


World Athletics halts Games qualification

World Athletics has suspended Olympic qualification, because of the coronavirus pandemic and the postponement of the Tokyo Games to 2021.

No performances between April 6 and November 30, 2020, will count towards reaching next year's delayed Games in Tokyo.

Instead, qualification will resume on December 1 until June 29, 2021, before the rescheduled event, which was pushed back 12 months.

"I am grateful for the detailed work and feedback from our athletes' commission and council, who believe suspending Olympic qualification during this period gives more certainty for athlete planning and preparation," says World Athletics president Sebastian Coe. 

"It is the best way to address fairness in what is expected to be the uneven delivery of competition opportunities across the globe for athletes, given the challenges of international travel and government border restrictions."

Athletes who have already met the entry standard since the start of the qualification period in 2019 remain qualified and eligible for selection.

The Olympics and Paralympics were both postponed last month.

The Olympic Games will now start on July 23, 2021, until August 8.

The Paralympic Games, originally due to start on August 25, will take place between August 24 and September 5, 2021.

Meanwhile, World Athletics also said that half of the staff at its Monaco headquarters would be furloughed on full pay.


MotoGP races in Italy, Catalunya postponed

Moto GP bikes in action
Moto GP bikes in action Photo credit: Getty

The MotoGP season will not begin until mid-June after the Italian and Catalan races were postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The decision brings the number of postponed races to seven, while the March 8 first round in Qatar was cancelled.

Italy and Spain, where a majority of the riders and teams come from, are the two European countries worst affected by the virus, with more than 16,000 deaths in Italy and 13,000 in Spain.

"The FIM, IRTA and Dorna Sports regret to announce the postponement of the Gran Premio d'Italia Oakley [May 31] and Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya [June 7]," MotoGP said in a statement.

"The ongoing coronavirus outbreak has obliged the two events to be rescheduled.

"As the situation remains in a state of constant evolution, new dates for these GPs as well as the recently postponed French and Spanish GPs, cannot be confirmed until it becomes clearer when exactly it will be possible to hold the events."

MotoGP added that a revised calendar will be published "as soon as available."

The German Grand Prix on June 21 is the next scheduled race in the calendar.