Fans of Formula One and MotoGP will not be able to witness the Australian Grand Prix after both 2021 events were cancelled amid the coronavirus pandemic.

F1's Australian GP was scheduled to take place at Albert Park from November 18-21 in Melbourne after the 2020 race was called off due to COVID-19, while the MotoGP meet at Phillip Island was set for October 24.

However, both races have been scrapped for the second successive year because of restrictions and logistical challenges relating to the ongoing pandemic.

With the Australian GP removed from MotoGP's calendar, the Grande Premio do Algarve has been added for November 5-7, with the Malaysia GP brought forward a week to October 22-24.

"We're deeply disappointed that for a second consecutive year, both MotoGP and Formula 1 fans won’t be able to see the world’s best riders and drivers compete at the wonderful Phillip Island and Albert Park Grand Prix Circuits," said Australian Grand Prix Corporation Chairman Paul Little on Tuesday.

"We appreciate the challenge Australia faces with current international travel restrictions and the importance of vaccinations.

"I would like to reassure our motivated and professional staff, suppliers and partners, as well as the Victorian tourism and major events community that we will work tirelessly to deliver these iconic events in 2022."

F1 chief executive Stefano Domenicali said: "While it is disappointing we won't be racing in Australia this season, we are confident we can deliver a 23-race season in 2021 and we have a number of options to take forward to replace the place left vacant by the Australian Grand Prix.

"We will be working through the details of those options in the coming weeks and will provide further updates once those discussions are concluded."

"The FIM, IRTA and Dorna Sports regret to announce the cancellation of the Red Bull Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix," MotoGP said a statement. "The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and resulting travel complications and logistical restrictions mean it has not been possible to confirm the viability of the event at this time, and it will therefore not feature on the 2021 calendar.

"The FIM MotoGP World Championship looks forward to returning to race in front of the Australian fans at the spectacular Phillip Island Grand Prix circuit in 2022."

South Africa suspended training on Monday and again placed their entire squad in isolation after lock Lood de Jager tested positive for coronavirus.

It is the second time the Springboks have been forced to take preventative measures ahead of their upcoming series with the British and Irish Lions.

Vincent Koch, Herschel Jantjies and Sbu Nkosi tested positive for COVID-19 on June 27, though the world champions resumed training and their first warm-up match – a 40-9 victory over Georgia – went ahead as planned last Friday.

However, this Friday's game against the same opponents is now in jeopardy following another positive case, which also raises further questions about the three-match Test series with the Lions.

A statement from SA Rugby on Monday read: "Springbok training has been suspended for Monday following a positive test for COVID-19 in the squad.

"The players have been placed in preventative isolation prior to further PCR testing and a review of the testing data by the Medical Advisory Group (MAG).

"Lood de Jager returned a positive outcome in scheduled testing and, because of his close contact with a number of squad members, the entire group has gone into isolation.

"An update will be issued following the review by the MAG and the further testing."

South Africa's victory over Georgia was their first match since winning the World Cup in November 2019.

Their first Test with the Lions is due to take place on July 24 in Cape Town, before moving to Johannesburg for the second and third matches.

Wimbledon will open up to full-capacity crowds on Centre Court and Court One from Tuesday, after being given the go-ahead by the UK government.

The tournament operated at 50 per cent capacity on its main show courts during the first week of the championships, with it being designated a pandemic era pilot event.

Now Wimbledon is poised to welcome a full house on its two biggest stadiums from the start of the quarter-finals. The women's last-eight matches are due to take place on Tuesday.

It had previously been stated that Centre Court would function at full capacity on finals weekend, July 10-11, but the plan has been brought forward.

It means there will be full outdoor stadiums at a major sporting event in the UK for the first time since COVID-19 triggered a lockdown in March 2020.

 

The World Snooker Championship, an indoor event, welcomed a capacity crowd for its two-day final in May at the Crucible theatre in Sheffield.

In a statement, Wimbledon hosts the All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC) said: "Following the successful staging of the first week of the championships, as agreed with the government's events research programme and in consultation with our local authority in Merton, the AELTC is pleased to confirm that Centre and Number One Court will feature 100 per cent capacity crowds for the quarter-finals, with Centre Court also at 100 per cent for the semi-finals and finals.

"This marks the first full outdoor stadiums at a sporting event in the UK since the pandemic began. The capacity of Centre Court is 14,979, and the capacity of Number One Court is 12,345. Capacity across the rest of the grounds will be reduced according to the number of courts in play.

"Ticket-holders will continue to be required to show proof of their COVID status on arrival, and are asked to observe the guidance around wearing face coverings on the move and supporting any additional mitigation measures in place."

It is nothing new for there to be uncertainty over what to expect for a British and Irish Lions touring party but the class of 2021 are well and truly stepping into the unknown.

Typically all the talk is over selection. Who starts at number 10? What will the make-up of the pack be, who gets the nod as the centre pairing or which wingers will be unleashed in the first Test?

Of course those questions are still to be answered, but when the Lions arrived in Johannesburg on Monday they were not only facing the challenge of trying to secure a starting berth.

A big surge in coronavirus cases has seen South Africa move into a 'level four' lockdown, with travel restrictions, an alcohol ban and an overnight curfew.

As the Lions were preparing to fly out on Sunday, it emerged that Springboks trio Herschel Jantjies, Vincent Koch and Sbu Nkosi had tested positive for COVID-19 - forcing training to be cancelled and the squad going into isolation.

They have since been given the green light to train and are set to face Georgia at Loftus Versfeld Stadium on Friday in their first Test since beating England in the 2019 World Cup final.

A lot of water has gone under the bridge since the drinks flowed as South Africa celebrated lifting the Webb Ellis Cup in Japan and they have a new head coach in Jacques Nienaber.

The world champions have also faced uncertainty, with the possibility of the Lions having home advantage or the series being staged in a neutral country before it was confirmed South Africa will host the tour.

While South Africa know they will not be entering the Lions den, Warren Gatland and his touring party are not certain where they might be heading just under a month before the first Test in Cape Town on July 24.

 

They are set to face a namesake in the Johannesburg-based Lions side, twice runners-up in Super Rugby, on Saturday as one the first of five matches in Gauteng but it is reported they could make further changes to the schedule.

The COVID situation has led to suggestions the entire three-match Test series could be played in Cape Town, with alternations to the fixtures having already been made last month.

Hostile crowds usually await the Lions, but they are set to face the might of the Springboks behind closed doors without an army of travelling fans to roar them on.

They must also go into battle without inspirational leader Alun Wyn Jones, ruled out due to a dislocated shoulder in the win over Japan at Murrayfield along with Wales team-mate Justin Tipuric.

A strong camaraderie will be needed more than ever, with Conor Murray promoted to skipper the side in the absence of stalwart Jones.

But there will be a lack of nights out as they are restricted to bonding in the bubble.

Gatland's men drew 1-1 with then-world champions New Zealand four years ago and can make it three series without defeat next month - a streak that has not been achieved since 1959.

They have the same head coach and key men who starred against the All Blacks, combined with exciting new faces such as South Africa-born wing Duhan van der Merwe and Louis Rees-Zammit.

Gatland may be unsure what challenges the Lions will face on and off the field before the opening Test but the wily New Zealander knows will know what to expect from a formidable South Africa side.

The delay to the Tokyo Olympics has been a source of frustration for countless athletes, but perhaps none more so than the Japanese stars so desperate to succeed in their home nation.

Uncertainty and confusion surrounding the Games has sadly reigned for the past year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

And yet, here we are in the month the action is set to begin and the show looks certain to go on.

No international spectators will be in attendance, but limited numbers of domestic fans are due to be allowed to watch the action.

So, who are the biggest names representing Japan the locals will hope to inspire to glory? Stats Perform has taken a look…

NAOMI OSAKA

There is no other place to begin than with one of the biggest names in the whole of sport, let alone tennis right now. Naomi Osaka is a superstar with a huge global following, particularly in Japan and America. Only 23 and with four grand slams to her name, there is seemingly no limit to the level she can reach. Osaka is the defending US and Australian Open champion, but withdrew after the first round of the French Open and opted not to play at Wimbledon after revealing a long-endured battle with depression. The issue came to the fore when Osaka had announced she would not take part in media conferences in Paris to protect her mental health, starting a wider conversation over how athletes are treated. 

 

HIDEKI MATSUYAMA

So often a nearly man, 2021 has already been a breakthrough year for the gifted Hideki Matsuyama. There were seven top-10 finishes in major tournaments before finally the 29-year-old took top billing to win the Masters at Augusta back in April. In doing so he became the first Japanese man to win a major tournament (Hinako Shibuno and Chako Higuchi have both won majors in the women's game). Olympic gold is certainly not out of the question for one of the most gifted players in golf.

KIYUNA RYO

Karate is making its Olympics debut and so is one of its greatest ever competitors in the form of Kiyuna Ryo. In 2019, Ryo won every competition he entered - including a third Asian championship - while the pandemic denied him a shot at a record fourth straight WKF world championship in June 2020. It will take a huge effort to stop Ryo, who will be 31 by the time the Games begin, standing atop the podium.

UTA ABE

The younger sibling of two-time world champion Hifumi Abe – himself off to Tokyo 2020 – judoka Uta Abe represents a serious medal hope for Japan. A two-time world champion herself in the -52kg category, she will aim to become an Olympic champion on July 25 – the same day her brother will aim to wear gold in the men's -66kg category. There is no shortage of judo talent in Japan, with Shohei Ono aiming to defend the -73kg gold he won at Rio 2016.

KENTO MOMOTA 

The past 18 months have been challenging for everyone but especially for Kento Momota. In January 2020, the badminton star was involved in a road accident that claimed the life of his driver, while he required surgery on his eye socket. A combination of the injury, the global pandemic and a positive test for coronavirus kept Momota off the court for 14 months. But the two-time world champion – who won an astounding 11 titles as recently as 2019 – will be desperate to complete a fairytale ending with gold in Tokyo.

 

DAIYA SETO

One of Japan's greatest hopes in the pool, Daiya Seto already has an Olympic medal in the form of a bronze from Rio four years ago in the 400 metre individual medley. With four gold medals in long course world championships and as many at the Asian Games, there are plenty of high hopes for Seto.

The T20 World Cup will now be held in the United Arab Emirates and Oman rather than India this year, the ICC has confirmed on Tuesday.

Australia was originally scheduled to host the 2020 tournament ahead of India staging it this year. However, the pandemic forced the ICC to postpone last year's tournament, giving Australia hosting rights for 2022.

A second surge in cases of coronavirus in India has now forced a major change to the 2021 competition, which will still be hosted by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).

The ICC had asked the BCCI to decide on the feasibility of staging the tournament, with BCCI vice-president Rajeev Shukla saying on Monday it had opted against remaining as hosts.

October 17 remains the start date for the competition, which will end with the final on November 14.

The Dubai International Stadium, the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi, the Sharjah Stadium, and the Oman Cricket Academy Ground will be the four World Cup venues.

The first round of the tournament, comprising of eight qualifying teams, will be split between Oman and the UAE. Four of those teams will move into the Super 12s round, joining eight automatic qualifiers.

ICC CEO Geoff Allardice said: "Our priority is to deliver the ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2021 safely, in full and in its current window Whilst we are incredibly disappointed not to be hosting the event in India, the decision gives us the certainty we need to stage the event in a country that is a proven international host of multi-team events in a bio-secure environment.

"We will work closely with the BCCI, the Emirates Cricket Board and Oman Cricket to ensure fans can enjoy a wonderful celebration of cricket."

India has recorded over 30 million coronavirus cases since the start of the pandemic, the second-most in the world behind the United States. Nearly 400,000 people have died from the disease in the country.

The UAE has had nearly 629,000 cases with just over 1,800 deaths.

West Indies are the defending champions having claimed a dramatic victory over England in the 2016 final in India.

Sri Lanka trio Kusal Mendis, Niroshan Dickwella and Danushka Gunathilaka have been sent home from their tour of England for breaching the team's bio-secure bubble.

The three players were in Durham preparing for the first of three one-dayers against England but left the team hotel to visit the city centre against COVID-19-related health guidelines.

A statement from Sri Lanka Cricket on Monday said: "This decision was taken following a preliminary inquiry conducted over a video posted on social media in which the three said players can be seen outside their designated hotel.

"The three players will be suspended from all forms of cricket until the completion of the inquiry."

The trio featured in Sri Lanka's Twenty20 international series against England, which the hosts won with a 3-0 whitewash, and had been expected to be involved in the ODI series.

"The players have been suspended pending a full inquiry, but have confessed to having gone out," Sri Lanka Cricket vice-president Mohan de Silva told Cricinfo.

"They are being recalled [home] from the tour with immediate effect."

 

Mendis, 26, only made 54 runs in three innings during the T20 series but did top score with 39 in the second T20 in Cardiff while fellow batsmen Gunathilaka, 30, has struggled with knocks of four, three and 19.

Dickwella played the second two matches but the 28-year-old managed just 14 runs with the bat and no catches or stumpings.

The departure of Mendis, Gunathilaka and Dickwella, following an injury to Avishka Fernando has left Sri Lanka has left coach Mickey Arthur with a depleted squad but there are no plans to cancel the series, which starts on Tuesday.

The match referee for England's Twenty20 series whitewash of Sri Lanka this week has tested positive for COVID-19. 

Phil Whitticase returned the positive result following a PCR test administered on Friday at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton. 

He will now observe a 10-day period of self-isolation from June 25 in accordance with the UK Government's protocol on quarantine, a statement from the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) said. 

The ECB also confirmed seven other members from the match officials and anti-corruption unit teams were deemed to be close contacts, including five people who were due to officiate at England's first ODI match against Sri Lanka in Durham on Tuesday. They will also have to self-isolate for 10 days.

No members of the two teams were impacted, according to the ECB, which said alternative arrangements will be put in place to ensure Tuesday's ODI goes ahead as planned.

South Africa Rugby has announced the entire Springboks squad is self-isolating after three players tested positive for COVID-19 ahead of the Test series against the British and Irish Lions.

Following the discovery of the trio of cases during PCR testing in Johannesburg, the reigning world champions announced the cancellation of a planned training session on Sunday.

Team management will consult with medical experts before deciding what steps to take next, with the isolation of players and staff coming just as the Lions prepare to fly out from Edinburgh.

"The Springboks cancelled Sunday's planned training session in Johannesburg as a precautionary measure when scheduled testing protocols returned three positive COVID-19 test results when the team assembled on Saturday," a statement read.

"Three players tested positive for the virus following stringent real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing procedures on arrival at the team base.

"Team management immediately put the squad into self-isolation as a precaution until specialist medical advice is sought from the medical advisory group (MAG).

"A decision on further team activities will be made shortly.

"Director of rugby Rassie Erasmus emphasised that the team had followed all the necessary precautions since the start of the three-week conditioning camp hosted in Bloemfontein, which included mandatory COVID-19 testing three times a week, and that they would be led by specialist advice before any action is taken."

 

The Lions have had problems to deal with before departing for South Africa, captain Alun Wyn Jones suffering a dislocated shoulder during the warm-up win over Japan on Saturday that will see him miss the entire trip.

Fellow Wales international Justin Tipuric is another to be ruled out following the 28-10 victory at Murrayfield, with head coach Warren Gatland calling up Adam Beard and Josh Navidi as replacements.

Conor Murray, meanwhile, is to take over the captaincy duties in the absence of Jones, who was set to lead the squad on his fourth tour with the Lions.

The three-match Test series against the Springboks begins at Cape Town Stadium on July 24.

The Formula One British Grand Prix is set to take place in front of packed Silverstone grandstands after the circuit was given the go-ahead for a full-capacity event.

Last year's race took place without fans, as did a subsequent 70th Anniversary Grand Prix at the famous track, but 140,000 spectators will be allowed to attend the 2021 grand prix.

The race weekend of July 16-18 comes on the weekend before England is due to loosen its COVID-19 restrictions, and those heading to the grand prix will have to show evidence of negative tests or proof of full vaccination.

In a statement, Silverstone announced: "We are delighted to confirm that the Formula 1 Pirelli British Grand Prix 2021 has been included in the latest phase of the UK government's event research programme (ERP) allowing a full capacity crowd for the event.

"Ticket holders will be asked for either proof of a negative lateral flow test taken within 48 hours of arrival at Silverstone or proof of full vaccination, the second dose having been received at least 14 days prior to the first day of attending the British Grand Prix.

"The Silverstone team will be working closely with the ERP experts and particularly the director of public health in Northamptonshire on the specific conditions of entry that will enable the event to operate safely and will be announcing these details to ticket holders in the next 10 days."

Lewis Hamilton won last year's British Grand Prix, on his way to a record-equalling seventh drivers' title.

The Saturday of the 2021 race weekend will see the inaugural F1 Sprint take place, with a 100-kilometre race due to determine grid positions for Sunday's grand prix.

Formula One president and CEO Stefano Domenicali said: "It is fantastic news that Silverstone will be a full-capacity event and it will be an incredible weekend with hundreds of thousands of fans being there to see our first event Sprint event on the Saturday and the main event on Sunday.

"I want to express my huge appreciation to the prime minister, Boris Johnson, secretaries of state Oliver Dowden and Michael Gove and Silverstone managing director Stuart Pringle for their tireless work to achieve this great outcome. All of the drivers and the teams are hugely looking forward to Silverstone and we can't wait to be there in July."

England duo Mason Mount and Ben Chilwell will miss the match with the Czech Republic and must self-isolate up to and including June 28.

It was confirmed on Monday that the Chelsea players had begun isolating after being deemed close contacts of Billy Gilmour, who tested positive for coronavirus after Scotland's 0-0 draw with England at Wembley last Friday.

The Football Association said the precautions had been taken after consultation with Public Health England, despite both players returning negative PCR and lateral flow test results.

On Tuesday, the FA said Chilwell and Mount will train individually in private areas of England's St. George's Park base, where the rest of the squad will return after their final Group D match with the Czech Republic.

It means that, should England win and top the group, Mount and Chilwell will miss the last-16 match, which takes place on June 29.

If Gareth Southgate's side fail to take three points, they will finish second in the group behind the Czech Republic, meaning their first knockout match will be on June 28.

England said via Twitter: "We can confirm that Ben Chilwell and Mason Mount must isolate up to and including next Monday [28 June]. This decision has been taken in consultation with Public Health England.

"The pair were confirmed overnight as close contacts of Scotland’s Billy Gilmour after his positive test following last Friday's match.

"Chilwell and Mount will isolate and train individually in private areas at England’s training base St. George's Park, with the rest of the squad returning there after tonight's fixture against Czech Republic at Wembley.

"We will continue to follow all COVID-19 protocols and the UEFA testing regime, while remaining in close contact with PHE.

"The entire England squad and staff had lateral flow tests on Monday and all were again negative, as was the case with Sunday's UEFA pre-match PCR tests. 

"Further tests will be carried out as and when appropriate."

UEFA insists there are no plans to move the Euro 2020 semi-finals and final away from Wembley.

England's national stadium is due to host five knockout matches, but UEFA confirmed last week there is a "contingency plan" in place should overseas supporters be forced to quarantine for 10 days in line with coronavirus protocols in the United Kingdom.

Cases of COVID-19 have been increasing in recent weeks in the UK, fuelled by the Delta variant first identified in India, with a further 10,633 positive tests on Monday.

Recent reports suggested UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin was prepared to move the semi-finals and final to Budapest, while Italian prime minister Mario Draghi has called for the prestige fixtures to be played elsewhere, with Rome touted as another alternative.

However, European football's governing body remains committed to staging the tournament's three biggest fixtures at Wembley.

"UEFA, the English FA and the English authorities are working closely together successfully to stage the semi-finals and final of Euro 2020 at Wembley and there are no plans to change the venue for those games," a UEFA spokesman said on Tuesday.

The semi-finals are set to take place on July 6 and 7 before the final on July 11.

The prime minister of Italy has called for the Euro 2020 final to be moved from Wembley due to coronavirus concerns.

Mario Draghi says the level of infection in the United Kingdom means alternative venues must be considered.

"I will try to stop the final being held in a country where infections are rising quickly," he said on Monday when asked if Rome could be considered a possible replacement.

Wembley is due to host five knockout matches, including both semi-finals and then the final on July 11. Italy will also play their last-16 game in London against Austria on June 26.

Cases of COVID-19 have been increasing in recent weeks in the UK, fuelled by the Delta variant first identified in India, with a further 10,633 confirmed on Monday.

There are also still strict travel restrictions in place, with almost all travellers required to quarantine for 10 days after entering the country.

This is said to have prompted concerns among foreign officials, VIPs and media members who wish to attend knockout matches at England's national stadium.

UEFA admitted last week that there was a "contingency plan" in place should it decide holding the final in London was impractical after reports suggested president Aleksander Ceferin was prepared to move the game to Budapest.

However, it was reported in England on Monday that the UK government is prepared to allow a crowd of 60,000 people for the game – matching the proposed capacity from the Hungarian capital – while around 2,500 VIPs and media members could be exempt from having to quarantine after arriving for the fixture.

England players Mason Mount and Ben Chilwell have been forced to self-isolate after coming into close contact with Billy Gilmour – the Scotland midfielder who tested positive for coronavirus.

Gilmour was named man of the match in Scotland's 0-0 Euro 2020 Group D draw at Wembley on Friday but it was confirmed on Monday he would have to isolate for 10 days, forcing him out of Tuesday's crunch clash with Croatia at Hampden Park.

England also conclude their group campaign with a match against the Czech Republic at Wembley, although manager Gareth Southgate has now had his plans disrupted after Mount and Chilwell interacted with their Chelsea team-mate.

"We don't know at the moment," Southgate said when asked at a pre-match news conference whether the pair would be available to play. 

"There's got to be quite a doubt but there's still a lot of discussions and investigations going on behind the scenes,

"At the moment they are isolating, we just have to find out over the next 12 hours or so."

The duo returned negative lateral flow tests on Monday and trained with their international colleagues but, on the advice of Public Health England, they will now be kept away from the rest of Southgate's squad and backroom staff until further advice is received.

"As a precaution at this time and in consultation with Public Health England, Ben Chilwell and Mason Mount are isolating after interaction with Scotland player Billy Gilmour at Friday's match," a statement published on England's official Twitter account read.

"The pair will be kept away from the rest of the England players and wider support team, pending further discussions with Public Health England.

"The entire squad had lateral flow tests on Monday afternoon and all were again negative, as was the case with Sunday's UEFA pre-match PCR tests.

"We will continue to follow all COVID-19 protocols and the UEFA testing regime, while remaining in close contact with Public Health England."

In the event of a 10-day isolation period, beginning from their contact with Gilmour, Mount and Chilwell would be ruled out of facing the Czech Republic – who are level on four points with England at the top of the group – but would be available to return for a potential last-16 encounter on Monday or Tuesday of next week, providing they do not return a positive COVID-19 test in the interim period.

Left-back Chilwell is yet to feature for England at Euro 2020 and did not make the matchday squad for their opening 1-0 win over Croatia.

Mount, who had been due to take part in the news conference alongside his boss, has been an integral part of Southgate's side for some time, however, starting both Three Lions' matches at the tournament so far.

England's performance in the draw with Scotland was heavily criticised and if Mount has to sit out against the Czechs, it would only further increase the clamour for Aston Villa's Jack Grealish to be handed a starting berth.

The Tokyo Olympics could take place with no spectators in attendance if the Japanese capital is placed into another state of emergency, the nation's prime minister Yoshihide Suga has said.

Japan is moving ahead with plans to host the Games, which were postponed by a year due to the coronavirus pandemic, despite strong public opposition and warnings from health officials that crowds could lead to increased infection rates.

International fans are already banned from attending, with a decision on domestic spectators due to be taken on Monday.

On Sunday, the state of emergency that had been imposed on Tokyo and eight other prefectures was lifted, though looser restrictions remain in place until July 11.

Speaking to reporters at a vaccination centre, Suga said: "In the event a state of emergency was declared then we can't rule out not having spectators.

"I think that's obvious from the standpoint of making safety and security our utmost priority."

There were 376 new positive tests for COVID-19 reported in Tokyo on Sunday, an increase on the 304 a week prior. The seven-day average in the capital also rose to 388 from 384.1.

Tokyo 2020 president Seiko Hashimoto and Tokyo 2020 CEO Toshiro Muto are due to hold a news conference later on Monday after the culmination of talks surrounding domestic fans.

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