Coronavirus hits sport: Aussie NBL players set for pay cut, Supercars to announce return date

Australian NBL players have agreed to salary cuts of up to 50 percent for the 2020/21 season, sources told ESPN.

On Thursday, 15 of the 18 team representatives voted in favour of the cuts and the new measures are now expected to go ahead.

ESPN claims contracted players were informed of the decision after the meeting, with all parties agreeing to a tiered system of reductions. 

The report adds that, before free agency, all players can opt out of their current contracts, with their NBL rights to be retained by their respective clubs.

The start to NBL free agency was pushed back to May 1, but may be postponed again.

Proposed salary cuts

  • $60,000-$79,000: no change 
  • $80,000-$99,000: 27.5 percent 
  • $100,000-119,000: 32.5 percent 
  • $120,000-139,000: 35 percent 
  • $140,000-159,000: 37.5 percent 
  • $160,000-179,000: 42.5 percent 
  • $180,000-$199,000: 45 percent 
  • More than $200,000: 50 percent

Supercars to announce return date at end of April

Supercars chief executive Sean Seamer has confirmed a return date for racing can be expected in the next two weeks.

The new season was suspended after one round, due to the global coronavirus pandemic.

Seamer says "everything was on the table", including two-day rounds, mid-week races, newlook race formats and reduced personnel to ensure the 14-round season is completed.

Kiwi driver Scott McLaughlin.
Kiwi driver Scott McLaughlin. Photo credit: Photosport

"We will have a better idea by the end of the month… as to exactly when we are able to come back and what form it takes," he said.

As it stands, Winton is the next race on the calendar, scheduled to start on June 5, while races in New Zealand, Perth and Tasmania are currently without a date. 

Another issue facing Supercars is the financial stability of naming-rights sponsor Virgin Australia, with fears the airline could go into administration, without a federal government bailout, after grounding almost its entire fleet.

Supercars use the airline to carry all their drivers, teams and support staff to events around the country.

"We will cross that bridge when we come to it," Seamer said of Virgin Australia, whose Supercars contract expires at the end of next season.

"Obviously, Virgin is going through as tough a time as anyone. We are confident they are doing everything they can and when we go racing again, we plan to be flying with them."

PGA Tour announces return plan

The PGA Tour has announced plans to resume in June, with the first four tournaments played behind closed doors.

The tour has been suspended since the Players Championship was cancelled after the opening round in mid-March, but officials are determined to get back out on the course as soon as possible.

The adjusted 2019/20 season is scheduled to resume June 12-15 (NZ time) at Fort Worth, Texas, with the Charles Schwab Challenge rescheduled from May.

The second event will be the June 19-22 RBC Heritage in South Carolina, which was originally cancelled, but will now fill the week vacated by the US Open.

The June 23-29 Travelers Championship in Connecticut and July 3-6 Rocket Mortgage Classic in Detroit make up the final two events currently set to be played with no spectators.

If play restarts as planned, the PGA Tour's season, which has played 22 events through the Arnold Palmer Invitational, will now consist of 36 events.

The tour had previously been scheduled to return on May 21, and the extended suspension means the RBC Canadian Open and the Barbasol Championship have now been cancelled.

Tiger Woods.
Tiger Woods. Photo credit: AAP

Meanwhile, the Memorial Tournament, originally scheduled for June 4-7, will now take place from July 26-29, when the 149th Open Championship was due to be held at Royal St George's in Kent.

"The health and safety of all associated with the PGA Tour and our global community continues to be our No. 1 priority, and our hope is to play a role - responsibly - in the world's return to enjoying the things we love," said PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan.

"Today's announcement is another positive step for our fans and players, as we look toward the future, but as we've stressed on several occasions, we will resume competition only when - working closely with our tournaments, partners and communities - it is considered safe to do so, under the guidance of the leading public health authorities."

Indian Premier League suspended until further notice

The 2020 Indian Premier League has been suspended "until further notice".

On Thursday, key franchise officials told Reuters the Twenty20 competition would be postponed, but now it's official. 

"The health and safety of the nation and everyone involved in our great sport remains our top priority," says the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).

"The BCCI, along with the franchise owners, broadcaster, sponsors and all the stakeholders, acknowledge that the IPL 2020 season will only commence when it is safe and appropriate to do so.

Tim Southee.
Tim Southee. Photo credit: Indian Premier League

On Tuesday, India's national lockdown was extended until next month, so a postponement was inevitable.

Six Blackcaps players were due to take part in the tournament, including captain Kane Williamson and all-rounder Jimmy Neesham. 

Indian media speculated on a possible window in September-October, before this year's Twenty20 World Cup in Australia.

But Sri Lanka has offered to host the tournament, if India is unable to do so. The 2009 tournament was moved to South Africa, because of security concerns, while the 2014 competition was partly held in the United Arab Emirates, when the dates of the event clashed with general elections in India.

"It looks like Sri Lanka will be clear of the coronavirus before India," Sri Lankan Cricket president Shammi Silva told Reuters in Colombo.

"If so, we can host the tournament here. We will be writing to the Indian cricket board soon."