The Chicago Bulls' next two NBA games have been postponed due to a coronavirus outbreak.

It was announced by the Bulls on Monday that 10 of their players and additional members of staff are in the league's health and safety protocols.

The NBA confirmed Chicago will not face the Detroit Pistons on Tuesday or the Toronto Raptors two days later.

Ayo Dosunmu and Stanley Johnson took the list of Bulls players unavailable due to entering the protocols to seven for a 118-9 defeat to the Miami Heat on Saturday.

The games against the Pistons and the Raptors will be rearranged.

Bayern Munich head coach Julian Nagelsmann is hopeful Joshua Kimmich's declaration that he is ready to take a COVID-19 vaccine will draw a line under the matter.

Kimmich made headlines in October when he explained he was not willing to receive his first dose due to what he perceived as a lack of research into possible long-term effects.

The 26-year-old has not featured for Bayern since November 6 after twice being forced to isolate due to being a close contact of someone who tested positive for coronavirus.

He was then infected with COVID-19 himself and was last week ruled out until 2022 due to an issue with his lungs.

Kimmich confirmed in an interview with ZDF on Sunday that he is now in a position where he feels ready to get vaccinated.

Nagelsmann, who was himself struck down by the illness, is pleased with Kimmich's announcement but insisted he did not sway the midfielder's decision.

"I think it's good that he faced the media. A lot has been reported about him in the last few weeks," Nagelsmann said on Monday. 

"I gave him my opinion, but in the end his conviction was a result of talks with other people at the club. I rather try to work on the pitch."

Nagelsmann, who has been regularly questioned on the topic over the past two months, added: "I think it's funny I'm still being asked! 

"When the year 2021 comes to an end, I hope that we will be able to deal with the pandemic subject more briefly because we can master the situation."

 

Bayern will be without Kimmich for their final two Bundesliga games of the year, while Jamal Musiala is also doubtful to face Stuttgart on Tuesday and Wolfsburg next weekend.

Musiala has scored in Bayern's last two games, including the decisive strike to see off Mainz 2-1 on Saturday, but a broken hand could keep him out of action until 2022.

"That depends on the pain," Nagelsmann said ahead of the trip to Stuttgart. "He has a splint and could theoretically play, but it's a pain issue. 

"We'll see how he moves today. We'll have to wait a few days and take another X-ray to see how to proceed with the treatment, whether it will be surgical or conservative."

Nagelsmann confirmed Leon Goretzka and Corentin Tolisso are also fitness doubts for Tuesday, but Marcel Sabitzer has returned to training and may be part of the squad.

Bayern have won 66 of their 104 Bundesliga matches against Stuttgart – no other team in Bundesliga history has won so often against a single opponent.  

The Bavarian giants have won 17 of their last 18 league meetings with Stuttgart, with the only exception being a 4-1 loss in May 2018.

Pellegrino Matarazzo's side have taken seven points from their last three games, however, and Nagelsmann is not anticipating an easy game in midweek.

"In terms of the table, they are not quite as good as they were last year," he said. "But it is incredibly difficult to prepare to face them.

"Their coach, who I know well, is a mathematician and that's how he approaches games. You cannot prepare for the way they will set up."

A draw for Bayern at Mercedes-Benz-Arena will ensure they sit top of the Bundesliga at the halfway point for the 15th time in the 16 seasons since the introduction of three points for a win.

The Calgary Flames' next three NHL games have been postponed amid a coronavirus outbreak in the team.

A total of six players and one staff member have entered NHL COVID-19 protocol, the league confirmed on Monday.

Forwards Elias Lindholm, Andrew Mangiapane, Brad Richardson and Adam Ruzicka, defensemen Christopher Tanev and Nikita Zadorov all entered protocol, along with a staff member.

The NHL suggested there may be further cases confirmed in the days ahead, with the team's training facilities closed until further notice.

The Flames (15-7-6) had been set to face the Chicago Blackhawks on Monday, but that game and the subsequent fixtures with the Nashville Predators and the Toronto Maple Leafs will be rescheduled. 

Saturday's game at home to the Columbus Blue Jackets is still set to take place.

US Open champion Emma Raducanu will miss this week's Mubadala World Tennis Championship after testing positive for coronavirus.

The 19-year-old had been due to take on Tokyo Olympics gold medallist Belinda Bencic in the exhibition event in Abu Dhabi.

However, Raducanu announced on Monday that she will not be able to take part in the tournament as she is now self-isolating. 

"I was very much looking forward to playing in front of the fans here in Abu Dhabi, but unfortunately after testing positive for Covid-19, I will have to postpone until the next opportunity," Raducanu said.

"I'm isolating as per rules and hopefully will be able to get back on court soon."

Raducanu became the first qualifier to win a grand slam title with victory at Flushing Meadows in September, but she has won just two of her five matches since then.

The British teenager, who recently appointed Torben Beltz as her new coach after parting company with Andrew Richardson, will next be in action at the Melbourne Summer Set early in the new year as preparation for the Australian Open.

All-Star guard Zach LaVine is the latest Chicago Bulls player to enter the NBA's health and safety protocols amid a COVID-19 outbreak within the team.

LaVine and team-mate Tony Brown Jr. entered the NBA's health and safety protocols on Sunday, bringing the Bulls' total to nine players since the start of December.

The pair follow DeMar DeRozan, Coby White, Javonte Green, Matt Thomas, Derrick Jones Jr., Ayo Dosunmu and Stanley Johnson in being sidelined.

Once players enter protocols, they must quarantine for 10 days or until they return two negative PCR tests within a 24-hour window.

The Bulls (17-10) are not in action again until Tuesday when they host the Detroit Pistons, where they may have only nine available players.

White and Green will have completed their mandatory isolation period by Tuesday and could be cleared to play.

Under NBA rules, a minimum of eight players are required for a team before postponing a game during an outbreak.

LaVine is enjoying an excellent season, averaging 26.0 points, 4.2 assists and a career-high 5.3 rebounds per game.

Joshua Kimmich expressed regret at not jumping at the chance to be vaccinated against COVID-19 – but took a swipe at those who criticised his hesitancy.

The Bayern Munich and Germany midfielder has confirmed he is now ready to take a vaccine after months of delaying his decision, and after experiencing unpleasant effects of having the virus himself.

The 26-year-old caused a major stir in October when he explained he was not willing to receive his first dose due to what he perceived as a lack of research into possible long-term effects.

"Generally, it was just difficult for me to deal with my fears and concerns, which is why I was undecided for so long," Kimmich said, speaking to German broadcaster ZDF.

"Maybe I had to go through what I have now gone through first. Of course, looking back, I would like to make the vaccination decision earlier, but at the time it wasn't possible for me."

Kimmich has not featured for Bayern since November 6 after twice being forced to isolate due to being a close contact of someone who tested positive for coronavirus.

He was then infected with COVID-19 and was this week ruled out until 2022 due to an issue with his lungs. He told ZDF that to return to full training now would create the risk of that problem extending to his heart and "longer consequences".

Kimmich has been dismayed by some reaction to his reluctance to be jabbed, saying: "I have to say personally that some of the limits have been exceeded.

"I also had the feeling that there was one or another who tried to make a name for themselves through this situation. It wasn't always just objective criticism.

"We always talk about respect, tolerance, openness – and these are precisely the values ​​that I particularly missed in my discussion."

 

Kimmich has played 18 times for Bayern across all competitions this campaign.

Bayern, who are playing their home games behind closed doors due to coronavirus restrictions imposed in Bavaria, sit six points clear at the top of the Bundesliga after beating Mainz 2-1 on Saturday.

Bayern Munich and Germany midfielder Joshua Kimmich is ready to take a COVID-19 vaccine after months of delaying his decision.

The 26-year-old made headlines in October when he explained he was not willing to receive his first dose due to what he perceived as a lack of research into possible long-term effects.

Kimmich has not featured for Bayern since November 6 after twice being forced to isolate due to being a close contact of someone who tested positive for coronavirus.

He was then infected with COVID-19 himself and was this week ruled out until 2022 due to an issue with his lungs.

In an interview with ZDF to be broadcast in full later on Sunday, Kimmich revealed he is now in a position where he feels ready to get vaccinated.

"Generally, it was just difficult for me to deal with my fears and concerns, which is why I was undecided for so long," Kimmich said.

Despite being absent for the past month, Kimmich has featured 18 times for Bayern across all competitions this campaign.

Bayern, who are playing their home games behind closed doors due to coronavirus restrictions imposed in Bavaria, beat Mainz 2-1 on Saturday in Kimmich's absence.

Julian Nagelsmann's men are now six points clear at the top of Bundesliga and face Stuttgart on Tuesday in their penultimate game of the year.

Haas driver Nikita Mazepin has been ruled out of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix after testing positive for coronavirus.

The Russian, who qualified at the back of the grid on Saturday, will sit out the season-ending race after returning a positive result at the Yas Marina Circuit.

Mazepin had driven in all of the sessions ahead of Sunday's concluding race, meaning reserve driver Pietro Fittipaldi is unable to step in.

Mick Schumacher will therefore be Haas' sole representative in the 19-driver race, with the German starting from 19th.

Formula One confirmed all of Mazepin's close contacts have been declared and there will be no wider impact on Sunday's highly anticipated race.

A Haas statement read: "Nikita is physically well, having been asymptomatic, but he will now self-isolate and adhere to the guidelines of the relevant public health authorities, with safety the ultimate priority for all parties concerned.

"Uralkali Haas F1 Team wish Nikita well, and we look forward to his return to the race track in early 2022 for pre-season testing."

Mazepin, who is one of only two regular drivers – alongside team-mate Schumacher – without a point to his name this season, added in a social media post: "Hi, everyone!  Sorry to report I've had a positive Covid test.  

"Feeling totally fine but won't be able to race today. Wishing all my fellow drivers a fantastic end to the season and sending thanks and love to everyone for their support."

Tottenham's postponed Europa Conference League group game with Rennes will not be rearranged, UEFA announced on Saturday.

European football's governing body indicated a new date for the game could not be agreed upon by the two clubs, after COVID-19 cases in the Spurs camp caused a call-off on Thursday's fixture.

It remains to be seen what UEFA rules, with Tottenham having needed a win from the Rennes game to reach the knockout stage. Rennes sit top of Group G, after three wins and two draws from their five games. All other group-stage games have been completed.

In a statement, UEFA said it had been in contact with Tottenham and Rennes in an effort "to find a viable solution in order to reschedule the match".

"Unfortunately, despite all efforts, a solution that could work for both clubs could not be found," said UEFA. "As a consequence, the match can no longer be played and the matter will, therefore, be referred to the UEFA control, ethics and disciplinary body for a decision to be taken in accordance with annex J of the above-mentioned competition regulations."

This section of regulations states that in the case of it being not possible to reschedule a game by a specific deadline – in this case, December 31 is the specified cut-off – UEFA may impose sanctions.

The UEFA guidelines state: "If it is not possible to reschedule the match within the final deadline... the club that cannot play the match will be held responsible for the match not taking place and the match will be declared by the UEFA control, ethics and disciplinary body to be forfeited by the club, which will be considered to have lost it by 3-0."

The same section of regulations states: "Moreover, the UEFA control, ethics and disciplinary body may take further disciplinary measures if the circumstances so justify."

Tottenham boss Antonio Conte said in midweek that eight players and five members of staff at Tottenham had contracted the virus in what he labelled a "serious problem".

Rennes released a statement claiming Tottenham had made a "unilateral" decision to postpone Thursday's clash without UEFA ratification, although the governing body later confirmed the postponement to the French club.

Rennes have two Ligue 1 matches and one Coupe de France game before they take a break over Christmas, resuming their season on January 8.

Spurs' Premier League game against Brighton and Hove Albion on Sunday has also been postponed because of the outbreak. Unlike Rennes, they are due to play through the Christmas period.

The draw for the knockout round play-off draw is due to take place on Monday, featuring the eight runners-up from the Europa Conference League group stage and the eight third-placed teams from the Europa League group stage. One seeded place remains unresolved ahead of that draw.

Tottenham sit three points behind Dutch side Vitesse in Group G of the Conference League, as UEFA moves to bring finality to the situation.

Hobart will stage an Ashes Test for the first time after Blundstone Arena was confirmed as the venue for next month's series finale between Australia and England.

The fifth and final Ashes showdown was meant to be held in Perth from January 14-18 before it was relocated due to Western Australia's border restrictions amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Melbourne – the scene for the Boxing Day Test – and Sydney, which will host the fourth Test, were in the mix to stage further matches this series.

However, Ashes cricket will come to Hobart via a day-night Test – the second pink-ball fixture of the 2021-22 series following Adelaide, starting December 16.

"We considered a range of factors, including commercial, logistical and operational considerations," Cricket Australia (CA) CEO Nick Hockley said on Saturday.

"On the balance of these the CA board agreed on Blundstone Arena being the most appropriate venue to host the fifth Vodafone Men's Ashes Test match.

"We also acknowledge the postponement of the Australia and Afghanistan Test due to be played in Hobart earlier in the year played a part in the decision."

Hobart was due to host last month's Australia-Afghanistan Test before it was cancelled.

The upcoming clash will be the first Test match in Tasmania's capital city since Australia were thrashed by South Africa in November 2016.

Cricket Tasmania CEO Dominic Baker added: "This is a great day not just for Tasmanian cricket, but for Tasmania in general.

"This will be without a doubt the biggest sporting event Tasmania has ever hosted.

"While the circumstances that have led us to be able to have the opportunity to host this Test are undoubtedly unique, we are thrilled that Tasmanians will have this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to witness an Ashes Test in their own backyard."

Bayern Munich will be without Joshua Kimmich for the remainder of 2021 as the midfielder recovers from coronavirus.

Kimmich, who has not yet been vaccinated against the virus, has not played for Bayern since November 6.

The 26-year-old was considered a close contact of Bayern team-mate Niklas Sule, who returned a positive PCR test result while on international duty with Germany last month.

After going through a period of isolation, Kimmich was forced to quarantine again when he was classed as a contact of another suspected COVID-19 case. He then tested positive for the virus himself later in November.

Kimmich has stated he is unwilling to receive a coronavirus vaccine until more is known about possible long-term effects. 

Although Kimmich is no longer suffering from COVID-19, Bayern have confirmed he will not return to action until January.

Kimmich explained this was due to "slight infiltrations" in his lungs, which mean he has been unable to train fully.

"I'm happy my self-isolation caused by the coronavirus has ended," Kimmich said in a statement released on Bayern's official website.

"I'm doing very well, but I'm not yet able to train fully due to slight infiltrations in my lungs. I'll therefore do some rehabilitative training and can't wait to be fully back in action in January."

Bayern, who are having to play their home games behind closed doors due to coronavirus restrictions imposed in Bavaria, face Mainz, Stuttgart and Wolfsburg before the Bundesliga takes its winter break.

Julian Nagelsmann's side beat Barcelona 3-0 on Wednesday in the Champions League, a victory that followed up Saturday's contentious 3-2 win over Borussia Dortmund.

That Klassiker success lifted Bayern four points clear at the top of the Bundesliga.

Rennes have confirmed their squad is returning to France after their Europa Conference League match with Tottenham was postponed.

Spurs stated on Wednesday that Thursday's encounter with the Ligue 1 side at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium had been called off due to an outbreak of COVID-19 within Antonio Conte's squad.

Conte said that eight players and five members of staff had contracted the virus in what he labelled a "serious problem".

Spurs have reportedly asked the Premier League to postpone Sunday's meeting with Brighton and Hove Albion.

However, Rennes released a statement on Wednesday claiming Tottenham had made a "unilateral" decision to postpone Thursday's clash without UEFA ratification.

Confirmation from the governing body has now been given to Rennes, though, with the visiting club's squad and coaching staff travelling back to France following full negative coronavirus test results.

In a statement published on their official website, Rennes, who play Nice on Sunday, made clear that the rearranged fixture must not further congest a hectic schedule or disrupt their mid-season break.

The statement read: "After being informed of the cancellation of tonight's match by UEFA, Stade Rennais FC decided to return to Brittany. The entire delegation that will board at London City Airport has tested negative.

"Stade Rennais FC hope that the interests of the club will be respected given the important sporting deadlines that await the Rouge et Noir this December. 

"Stade Rennais FC is deeply sorry for the Rennes fans who decided to come to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium to cheer on the Rouge et Noir."

Rennes have two Ligue 1 matches and one Coupe de France game before they take a break over Christmas, resuming their season on January 8.

Rennes have contested Tottenham's announcement of their Europa Conference League game being postponed, claiming it to be a "unilateral" decision that is yet to be ratified by UEFA.

Spurs released a statement on Wednesday informing the public of an apparent agreement to postpone Thursday's visit of Rennes due to a coronavirus outbreak.

Antonio Conte revealed earlier in the day that eight players and five members of staff had tested positive for the illness. As a result, Spurs have shut their first-team training facility.

UEFA rules state teams must fulfil a fixture in the competition if they have 13 players, plus a goalkeeper, available for selection.

But Conte claimed Spurs only have 11 players to choose from, with the club subsequently indicating the Group G showdown had been postponed.

However, Rennes have cast doubt over the situation and accused Spurs of seemingly changing their minds about fulfilling the fixture after the Ligue 1 club had landed in London.

A Rennes statement read: "Following the press release published by Tottenham at 21:00 this Wednesday, Stade Rennais FC would like to clarify the following facts.

"In a video conference at 19:45 between representatives of UEFA, Tottenham and Rennes, the Spurs director of football announced their intention not to play the UEFA Europa Conference League game, [on] Thursday evening, [a] unilateral decision which has not been confirmed by UEFA in any way.

"The Tottenham representative did not want to announce the number of players affected by COVID-19 when the rule states that a match must be played as long as the team has 13 outfielders and a keeper.

"They argued for a decision by the English authorities without advancing any official document. As the match was not officially cancelled by UEFA, Rennes upheld their decision to play.

"Faced with this 'London fog', Rennes reserves the right to approach UEFA. This lack of fair play is all the more glaring as Tottenham had confirmed by email that the match would be held at the start of the afternoon before warning Rennes of their intention not to play just after their landing in London."

Rennes are already assured of top spot in Group G, while second-place Tottenham are level on seven points with Vitesse, who host bottom side Mura on Thursday in the final round of group fixtures.

Real Madrid have taken out an additional loan of €225million for a new phase of remodelling work at the Santiago Bernabeu that will see an underground greenhouse installed.

Los Blancos initially confirmed plans for the €525m renovation four years ago, with the work set to increase capacity by 4,000 to roughly 85,000 and include the incorporation of a retractable roof and pitch.

Construction work began in 2020 during the hiatus ushered in amid the early months of the coronavirus pandemic, with Madrid subsequently playing their home matches at Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano – the club's training base – when the 2020-21 season resumed.

Madrid eventually returned to the Santiago Bernabeu in September this year but much of the remodelling is yet to be completed, with the club now confirming an extra phase has been added.

The subterranean greenhouse will ensure their playing surface remains pristine even when it is retracted.

Providing details of the loan and its use, a club statement read: "Real Madrid signed the extension of the financing of the works not initially included in the Santiago Bernabeu stadium remodelling project through a new loan for a total amount of €225million, with a term of 27 years and a fixed interest rate of 1.53 per cent.

"These conditions are the best ever obtained for long-term financing in the sport industry. The loan also includes a grace period for the repayment of the principal, so that Real Madrid will not start repaying the loan until 30 July 2024.

"The funding will be used for the construction of a large underground greenhouse which was not foreseen in the initial work due to its complexity and which was technologically resolved at a later date.

"This greenhouse will allow the automatic removal of the pitch and its preservation in optimal conditions and in perfect shape to be used when a football match is to be held. In this way, the number of events that can be held without impacting the grass will be maximised."

Novak Djokovic has been included in the official entry list for the 2022 Australian Open, with Tennis Australia adamant that no loopholes are being explored.

The world number one, who has won nine of his 20 grand slam titles in Melbourne, has not yet disclosed his COVID-19 vaccination status, meaning there is doubt over whether he will be able to participate.

Every person competing or attending the grand slam next month will need to have been fully vaccinated against coronavirus.

However, despite the uncertainty, the 34-year-old was named in the official list of players for the tournament draw.

Djokovic had already been named in Serbia's team for the ATP Cup, which is to be held in Sydney, leading to speculation that he could enter Australia by travelling directly to New South Wales, which has different COVID-19 restrictions to the state of Victoria, and may then seek a medical exemption to get around the rules applying to unvaccinated travellers.

James Merlino, Victoria's deputy premier, responded to these reports, which also suggested Djokovic had the backing of Tennis Australia.

"My view on this is really clear and really simple," Merlino said on Wednesday. "Everyone's looking forward to the Australian Open and everyone who will attend – spectators, players, officials, staff – everyone is expected to be fully vaccinated.

"They're the rules. Medical exemptions are just that – it's not a loophole for privileged tennis players. It is a medical exemption in exceptional circumstances if you have an acute medical condition."

Tennis Australia responded to Merlino's comments with a statement of their own.

"Any suggestion that Tennis Australia is seeking 'loopholes' within this process is simply untrue. Adjudicating on medical exemptions is the domain of independent medical experts. We are not in a position to influence this process and nor would we," the statement read.

"Any application for a medical exemption must follow strict government guidelines based on ATAGI (Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation) clinical advice. This is the same process that applies to any person wanting to enter Australia."

While Djokovic's participation is unclear, Serena Williams is a big-name absentee. The 40-year-old, who is one shy of matching Margaret Court's record tally of 23 grand slams, had been expected to play in Melbourne.

Roger Federer had already confirmed his absence, but Rafael Nadal is set to compete for the first time since August.

World number two and US Open champion Daniil Medvedev takes his place in the draw, as does 2020 Australian Open finalist Dominic Thiem.

Australian world number one Ash Barty headlines the women's field, with Naomi Osaka, US Open winner Emma Raducanu and WTA Finals champion Garbine Muguruza also in the draw.

Bianca Andreescu, the 2019 US Open champion, has decided to skip the event to focus on her mental wellbeing.

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