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.

World number one Novak Djokovic has committed to playing the ATP Cup in Sydney amid ongoing uncertainty over his title defence at next month's Australian Open.

Djokovic has been unwilling to confirm his place at January's Australia Open due to the COVID-19 mandate in Victoria.

The state of Victoria, where the year's opening grand slam takes place at Melbourne Park, has introduced a vaccine mandate for professional athletes and across most industries due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Djokovic's father, Srdjan, said the nine-time Australian Open champion is unlikely to feature in Melbourne unless vaccination rules are relaxed.

But in a boost for the slam's organisers, Djokovic was named in top-seeded Serbia's team for the third edition of the ATP Cup, which will take place in Sydney from January 1-9.

"We're excited to host the third edition of the ATP Cup in Sydney in 2022," said ATP Cup tournament director Tom Larner.

"The playing group enjoy representing their countries and to see 18 of the world’s Top 20 players commit to the event is testament to that.

"The event shows off the passion the playing group have for this format and we look forward to welcoming all 16 teams to Sydney later this month."

The 2021 Australian Open went ahead, albeit in February instead of January, and without fans for most of the tournament following a snap lockdown of Melbourne due to COVID-19.

Djokovic – winner of a joint-record 20 grand slam titles – was among the players critical of the conditions athletes endured prior to this year's Australian Open, with strict quarantine measures introduced.

The Chicago Bulls will be without DeMar DeRozan against the Denver Nuggets on Monday after the star entered the NBA's health and safety protocols.

DeRozan is the third Bulls player to go through the league's COVID-19 protocols, joining team-mates Coby White and Javonte Green.

It remains to be seen how long four-time All-Star DeRozan will be sidelined in Chicago, where the new-look Bulls (16-8) have made a strong start to the season.

DeRozan has fuelled the Bulls, earning Eastern Conference Player of the Week honours having averaged 30.3 points and 5.7 rebounds while shooting 58.7 per cent from the field.

Entering Monday's play, DeRozan – who leads the league in points (633) – has been averaging 26.4 points per game, his best mark since the 2016-17 season.

DeRozan has also averaged 5.3 rebounds and 4.1 assists, while shooting 49.8 per cent from the field and 33.3 per cent from three-point range – the 32-year-old only managed better in 2015-16 (33.8).

Chicago defeated the Eastern Conference-leading Brooklyn Nets 111-107 on Saturday while outscoring their opponents 32-25 in the fourth quarter. The Bulls are averaging 28.3 points in the fourth quarter this season, the most in the NBA, according to Stats Perform.

Against the Nets, Zach LaVine poured in 31 points while DeRozan scored 29. This season, the Bulls are 9-2 when both players score at least 25 points and 7-6 when only one or neither hit that mark.

Cricket Australia (CA) confirmed the fifth and final Ashes Test scheduled to be played in Perth has been relocated due to Western Australia's border strictions amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The Ashes showdown between Australia and tourists England was set to be staged at Perth's Optus Stadium from January 14-18, however, the state's strict travel strictions has forced the series finale to be moved.

While CA announced the relocation of the Perth Test on Monday, no new host has been confirmed, with Hobart among the possible locations.

Melbourne – the scene for the Boxing Day Test – and Sydney, which will host the fourth Test, have been floated as possible new host venues for the Test match.

Under Western Australia's current border rules, visitors from New South Wales – where the fourth Test is due to take place from January 5-9 – must complete 14 days quarantine upon arrival.

Talks between CA and the WA state government had seemed to be heading in a positive direction last month, with a potentially shorter and more relaxed quarantine period for players, their families and match and broadcast staff, but the emergence of the Omicron variant has reaffirmed the state's hardline stance on borders.

"While absolutely every effort was made to ensure the final Test match of the series could be staged in Perth, border controls, quarantine requirements and the complexities of staging a five-Test series in a tight schedule have meant it is unfortunately not possible to align the respective priorities of the WA Government, CA and WA Cricket," CA said in a statement.

WA Sport and Recreation Minister Tony Buti had publicly spoken about a proposal to shift the order of the Tests, with Perth replacing the second Test in Adelaide starting December 16 – given borders remain open between WA and Queensland where the first Test will be held – but CA closed the door on that idea.

"These complexities also mean that any suggestion of changing the order of the venues would not be feasible," the statement said. "Discussions about a replacement venue for the fifth Test match are underway."

The decision is a major blow for WA Cricket and Perth, which missed out on a Test match during the last Australian summer following the postponement of a one-off game against Afghanistan.

WA Cricket CEO Christina Matthews said: "We are extremely disappointed for our Members, fans, Commercial Partners and the wider WA cricket community as well as all our staff and players who have been looking forward to and planning for the first ever Ashes to be played at Perth Stadium.

"We've been working closely and constructively with the WA Government and Cricket Australia for many months to bring this fixture to Perth amid the pandemic-related challenges we've faced.

"While this decision is very difficult to accept, the complexity of staging the Test in the face of strict border controls and quarantine requirements has resulted in it not being possible to align the respective priorities of the WA Government, Cricket Australia, and WA Cricket."

The first Ashes Test begins in Brisbane on Wednesday.

LeBron James says he was left "confused, frustrated and angry" at the NBA's handling of his false positive test that forced him to miss his side's 117-92 win over the Sacramento Kings.

James returned in Friday's 119-115 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers having cleared the league's COVID-19 protocols after additional testing confirmed he was not a positive case.

The four-time MVP and NBA champion, however, was left frustrated by the process that cost him a game and caused him "big-time inconvenience", having recorded a positive test prior to Tuesday's game in Sacramento.

"Pretty confused, frustrated, angry with not being able to do anything," James said at the post-game news conference.

James, 36, explained his anger was that he had initially tested negative, before a positive test, which led to immediate isolation rather than a further test to confirm his status.

"Usually when you have a positive test, they will test you right away to make sure," James said. "There was not a follow-up test after my positive test. It was straight into isolation and you've been put into protocol. That was the part that angered me.

"I had to figure out a way to get back from Sacramento by myself, no security, no one. I had to put my kids in isolation for the time being. The people in my house into isolation. It was a big- time inconvenience. That was the anger part."

James added that he always knew he was not COVID-19 positive, having no symptoms, further fuelling his frustration at the process.

"I knew I was going to get cleared," he said. "I never felt sick at all. I know you can be asymptomatic but if what I had was a positive COVID test, then what are we doing? What are we talking about?

"I thought it was handled very poorly. Being able to get cleared was a breath of fresh air for me, my family and friends."

James has not been able to play four straight games this season due to a range of issues including ankle and abdominal injuries along with a one-game suspension and his false-positive test.

The Lakers forward admitted the season had been "very frustrating" and "very challenging" as he struggled to find a rhythm.

James, who returned with 23 points, 11 rebounds and six assists against the Clippers, has played 11 games this season, averaging 25.8 points, 5.2 rebounds and 6.8 assists.

The Lakers are 12-12 following Friday's loss.

Bayern Munich will play the remainder of their home matches this year behind closed doors due to rising coronavirus rates in Bavaria.

Bavaria's Prime Minister Markus Soder revealed earlier this week that fans were set to be prevented from attending games "for the foreseeable future".

The Bavarian government on Friday approved increased measures in an attempt to contain the pandemic, including bans on spectators at large, cross-region sporting events until the end of the year.

Bayern will face Barcelona in their final Champions League Group E match next Wednesday without fans.

The Bundesliga leaders, already assured of a place in the last 16 of Europe's premier club competition, will then take on Mainz on December 11 and Wolfsburg six days later behind closed doors before the mid-season hiatus.

Bayern vice-chairman Jan-Christian Dreesen said: "It's a big blow to have to play in front of empty stands at the Allianz Arena again.

"Football is only half as nice without our fans in the stadium, not to mention the financial effects.

"We must of course accept the decision as it is, even though we've done everything we could for the health of our visitors at the Allianz Arena with the 2G+ rule and our hygiene concept."

Augsburg and Greuther Furth will also be affected, while similar measures have been introduced in neighbouring Baden-Wurttemberg, with Freiburg, Stuttgart and Hoffenheim seeing capacities reduced to 750 spectators.

Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James has been cleared to play by the NBA after returning two negative COVID-19 tests.

James entered the NBA's health and safety protocols on Tuesday, sitting out the 117-92 win over the Sacramento Kings due to a positive coronavirus test.

But James cleared the league's COVID protocols after additional testing confirmed the four-time champion and MVP was not a positive case.

"Following two negative PCR tests conducted more than 24 hours apart, Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James has cleared the NBA's Health and Safety Protocols," the league said in a statement on Thursday.

"James was originally placed in the Protocols on Tuesday, November 30 after a series of tests delivered conflicting results, including an initial positive test that was collected on November 29. Additional testing confirmed that he is not a positive case.

"In accordance with the Protocols, and the consistent testing practice that has been in place since the 2019-20 Season Restart in Orlando, the sample that produced the initial positive test was re-run twice and returned one negative and one positive result on two different PCR instruments.

"As a result, James underwent additional testing on November 30, with one test returning a negative result and a second test resulting in a clinically inconclusive result."

It is a boost for the Lakers (12-11) ahead of Friday's showdown with crosstown rivals the Los Angeles Clippers (11-11).

James has been averaging 25.8 points, 6.8 assists and 5.2 rebounds per game for the Lakers, while shooting 48.4 per cent from the field and 34.4 from three-point range.

Bundesliga fixtures will see stadiums capped at 15,000 spectators from this weekend in a bid to tackle rising coronavirus cases in Germany.

On Thursday, 73,000 new infections and 388 deaths were reported in the country, with a fourth wave threatening to overwhelm intensive care units.

Chancellor Angela Merkel and her soon-to-be successor Olaf Scholz have consequently reached agreement with the leaders of Germany's 16 states to reintroduce preventative measures aimed at limiting the spread of COVID-19.

One of the rules means Bundesliga matches, which have been operating with near-capacity crowds this season, will be restricted to 50 per cent attendance with a maximum of 15,000.

The reintroduction of measures impacts Saturday's Klassiker clash between leaders Bayern Munich and second-place Borussia Dortmund taking place at Signal Iduna Park. Only one point separates the teams at the top of the table.

German Football League (DFL) chief Christian Seifert said the governing body can understand why the rules have been put in place.

"The DFL is aware of the currently difficult corona situation, especially with a view to the strain on some regional health systems," he said via a DFL statement.

"It is regrettable that, due to the pandemic situation and the still too low vaccination rate in Germany, restrictions in many areas of life are once again necessary.

"In this situation, a differentiated, comprehensible, but above all effective policy strategy is required.

"A temporary restriction on the admission of fans to the stadiums is therefore understandable. The DFL hopes that this decision by the federal and state governments will lay the foundation for a rapid improvement in the pandemic situation.

"The DFL and its clubs will of course continue to support all vaccination effort."

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