Coronavirus hits sport: Southampton first EPL players to defer salaries

Southampton has become the first Premier League club to announce its players will defer part of their salaries, during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Saints announced measures to help the club and non-playing staff through the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Southampton's players, manager Ralph Hasenhuttl and his coaching staff have agreed to defer part of their salaries for the months of April, May and June "to help protect the future of the club, the staff that work within it and the community we serve".

"Our owners, Mr Gao and Katharina Liebherr, have put measures in place to ensure that all staff not deferring part of their salaries will continue to receive 100 percent of their pay, paid in the normal way until June 30," Southampton said.

"In these unprecedented times we are dealing with many challenges to our business model and day-to-day operations.

"The situation is ever-evolving, and we will continue to monitor and assess the impact to the club over the coming weeks, before deciding any further action necessary."

Tennis stars sign up for virtual Madrid Open

Former Grand Slam champion Andy Murray and Frenchman Lucas Pouille are the first players confirmed for the Virtual Madrid Open, organisers announced on Friday (NZ time). 

Sixteen men and 16 women will take part in a four-day online tournament from the comfort and safety of their own homes, after the real event was postponed, because of coronavirus.

The virtual tournament will take place between April 27-30. All professional tennis has been cancelled until at least July 13.

Andy Murray.
Andy Murray. Photo credit: AAP

Each male and female winner will decide how much of a £131,700 (NZ$263,000) purse to donate to "tennis players currently suffering economically".

More players will be announced over the coming days. 

Australian test tour of Bangladesh postponed

Australia's test tour of Bangladesh has been postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The test series was meant to begin on June 11, but due to health and safety reasons around the global pandemic, the series is off. 

"I would like to thank the Bangladesh Cricket Board for the open, honest and responsible discussions that led us to this mutually-agreed position," said Cricket Australia chief executive Kevin Roberts.

Aussie test captain Tim Paine.
Aussie test captain Tim Paine. Photo credit: Getty

"The health of our people and communities is the No.1 priority for both boards and that is reflected in the action we have taken in postponing the two test matches.

"As we know, the global cricket calendar is very busy but we will do everything we can to honour our commitment to Bangladesh and will continue to work with the BCB on an agreed date."

Meanwhile the staging of England's home tests against West Indies in June is looking "less and less likely", according to director of cricket Ashley Giles.