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.

A group of unnamed Chile players have been fined following a breach of the Copa America's strict coronavirus protocols, the Football Federation of Chile (FFC) announced on Sunday.

Chile's preparations for Monday's clash with Uruguay have been thrown into disarray after a number of players were sanctioned for inviting a barber into their team bubble in Brazil amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, Spanish news outlet Marca reported there was a further breach, with at least five players allegedly inviting several women to the team hotel.

The FFC did not confirm or address the claims in the statement released amid doubts over the future of head coach Martin Lasarte.

"The Chilean Football Federation and the coaching staff of the Chilean men's national team recognise the breach of the health bubble of the delegation that participates in the Copa America, with the unauthorised entry of a hairdresser who, despite having a PCR negative, he should not have come into contact with the players. Those involved will be financially sanctioned," the FFC said in a statement.

"We regret what caused this situation and we inform that all the members of the delegation had a negative PCR test this Saturday, June 19."

The 2021 Copa America has been plagued by issues due to the COVID-19 health crisis, having been postponed and re-located from Colombia and Argentina, with all matches played behind closed doors.

Four of the 10 teams competing at the Copa America have had players or staff test positive to COVID-19, including one Chilean delegation member last week.

The FFC did not publicly identify which players were involved in the breach relating to the hairdresser, but Chile captain and goalkeeper Claudio Bravo insisted they would take responsibility.

"The situation definitely affects us," he said. "We didn't train in our 'normal' conditions but we did work at the hotel.

"Those that were involved take responsibility for it and will have to deal with the consequences."

Chile – who won the Copa in 2015 and 2016, and have four points from two games – are scheduled to play Uruguay in Cuiaba on Monday.

Spain captain Sergio Busquets admitted it was "almost impossible" to stay optimistic when he tested positive for COVID-19 just as Euro 2020 was about to begin.

On Friday, Busquets made an emotional return to the squad following a frustrating stretch in isolation, hugging coach Luis Enrique and team-mates as he arrived back in camp.

The Barcelona midfielder was removed from Spain's training base near Madrid and whisked away by ambulance on June 7, yet now he has been given the all-clear and is poised to contribute as Spain attempt to book a last-16 spot.

Busquets said he was "very happy, on a high" to learn he was healthy to rejoin the group, but recalled the sorry moment when he was told he had the virus.

"The doctor called me, he told me, and at that moment you have a lot of feelings, such as that you don't believe it, concern about what might happen, whether it could be a false positive, many things," Busquets said.

"The moment I got into an ambulance and turned for home, I went through everything. You try to be positive but in those moments it is almost impossible and you think about when you will be well, if you will be able to return, if you will get back on time.

"There are many unanswered questions that go through your head in a bad moment."

Busquets is likely to play his first match of the tournament when Spain face Slovakia next Wednesday in their final Group E game.

Speaking in a video released on the team's official Twitter page, Busquets said: "I am very grateful, not only to team-mates, but also to the president, the staff, the coach, the entire group that is in the bubble."

The 32-year-old said he had kept in constant contact with those in the Spain camp, adding they made it clear "they were waiting for me with open arms".

"I have missed you so much, you don't know how much," he told his team-mates.

"Thank you very much for all the messages worrying about me, making me feel like I was here even though I was at home. I am very proud of all of you, of the first game, of everything you are doing here and that is the way, so there is a lot left and I'm sure everything will go well."

In Busquets' absence, Spain drew 0-0 with Sweden in their opening Euro 2020 Group E game, a match in which they had 85 per cent of the possession but only five shots on target.

They play their second group game against Poland in Seville on Saturday, with Busquets expected to be a spectator after missing almost two weeks of training.

While Busquets will bolster the midfield whenever he returns to action, Spain have pressing issues in attack following the Sweden game.

They have now failed to score in two of their past three matches – having also drawn a blank in the pre-tournament friendly against Portugal earlier this month – and that is as many scoreless performances as they had in their previous 51 internationals.

Spain have not experienced successive games without finding the back of the net since 2013 at the Confederations Cup, and should they again miss out against Poland it would mean the Slovakia game becomes hugely important.

Spain captain Sergio Busquets admitted it was "almost impossible" to stay optimistic when he tested positive for COVID-19 just as Euro 2020 was about to begin.

On Friday, Busquets made an emotional return to the squad following a frustrating stretch in isolation, hugging coach Luis Enrique and team-mates as he arrived back in camp.

The Barcelona midfielder was removed from Spain's training base near Madrid and whisked away by ambulance on June 7, yet now he has been given the all-clear and is poised to contribute as Spain attempt to book a last-16 spot.

Busquets said he was "very happy, on a high" to learn he was healthy to rejoin the group, but recalled the sorry moment when he was told he had the virus.

"The doctor called me, he told me, and at that moment you have a lot of feelings, such as that you don't believe it, concern about what might happen, whether it could be a false positive, many things," Busquets said.

"The moment I got into an ambulance and turned for home, I went through everything. You try to be positive but in those moments it is almost impossible and you think about when you will be well, if you will be able to return, if you will get back on time.

"There are many unanswered questions that go through your head in a bad moment."

Busquets is likely to play his first match of the tournament when Spain face Slovakia next Wednesday in their final Group E game.

Speaking in a video released on the team's official Twitter page, Busquets said: "I am very grateful, not only to team-mates, but also to the president, the staff, the coach, the entire group that is in the bubble."

The 32-year-old said he had kept in constant contact with those in the Spain camp, adding they made it clear "they were waiting for me with open arms".

"I have missed you so much, you don't know how much," he told his team-mates.

"Thank you very much for all the messages worrying about me, making me feel like I was here even though I was at home. I am very proud of all of you, of the first game, of everything you are doing here and that is the way, so there is a lot left and I'm sure everything will go well."

In Busquets' absence, Spain drew 0-0 with Sweden in their opening Euro 2020 Group E game, a match in which they had 85 per cent of the possession but only five shots on target.

They play their second group game against Poland in Seville on Saturday, with Busquets expected to be a spectator after missing almost two weeks of training.

While Busquets will bolster the midfield whenever he returns to action, Spain have pressing issues in attack following the Sweden game.

They have now failed to score in two of their past three matches – having also drawn a blank in the pre-tournament friendly against Portugal earlier this month – and that is as many scoreless performances as they had in their previous 51 internationals.

Spain have not experienced successive games without finding the back of the net since 2013 at the Confederations Cup, and should they again miss out against Poland it would mean the Slovakia game becomes hugely important.

Sergio Busquets is back in the Spain squad after returning a negative coronavirus test.

The Barcelona midfielder had been isolating since testing positive for the virus on June 7, which prompted concern of a possible outbreak in the camp prior to the start of Euro 2020.

Coach Luis Enrique summoned players to train in a parallel bubble in case of further infections, but only Diego Llorente returned what was later suspected to be a false positive test.

On Friday, the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) said Busquets would be returning to the squad after testing negative for COVID-19 and travel with his team-mates for Saturday's match with Poland in Seville.

In Busquets' absence, Spain drew 0-0 with Sweden in their opening Euro 2020 Group E game, a match in which they had 85 per cent of the possession but only five shots on target.

They have won eight out of 10 previous matches against Poland, with their only defeat coming in a friendly in Barcelona in November 1980.

La Roja are looking to avoid consecutive scoreless performances for the first time since the 2013 Confederations Cup.

 

Chris Paul crumpled to the floor of Phoenix Suns Arena, grimacing and twisting with pain while he grasped at his right shoulder.

For all his regular-season accolades – 11 All-Star Games, nine All-NBA teams, four assists titles and six steals titles – deep playoff runs have been hard to come by for Paul.

Whether due to fate or disappointing failure, the future Hall of Fame point guard has only played in one Conference Finals series. After suffering a hamstring injury in 2018, Paul watched from the sideline as his Houston Rockets lost Games 6 and 7 to the Golden State Warriors, extinguishing his best chance to date to win a title.

Three years later, as Paul left the floor with a right shoulder injury during Game 1 of the Suns' first-round series against the Los Angeles Lakers, it must have felt as if the fates were conspiring against him again. After leading Phoenix to the NBA's second-best record in 2020-21, Paul got to face LeBron James and the defending champions as a reward. Then an injury less than 15 minutes into the postseason?

What a hopeless feeling that must have been.

Paul didn't miss a game in the series but looked like a shell of himself through Game 3, averaging 6.7 points on 38.1 per cent shooting as the Suns trailed 2-1 in the series. The tide turned in Game 4, however, with Anthony Davis succumbing to injury and with Paul's shoulder beginning to steadily improve.

After ousting the Lakers in six games, Paul was nearly flawless in a sweep of the Denver Nuggets and MVP Nikola Jokic. He averaged 25.5 points and 10.3 assists over four games and rose to the occasion in the clutch, scoring 17.0 points per game in the second half on absurd 78.8 per cent shooting. In fourth quarters that series, Paul was 16 for 19 from the field (84.2 per cent), including a perfect mark on his four three-point attempts.

Paul totalled 41 assists, the most since 1984-85 in a playoff series while committing five or fewer turnovers. For the third time in his postseason career, he had 15 assists and no turnovers in Game 2, a feat that has only been done seven times in a playoff game since 1984-85.

At 36 years old, Paul painted one of the most memorable masterpieces of his career.

Then came another devastating blow, when Paul was sidelined in accordance with the NBA's COVID-19 health and safety protocols on Wednesday morning, keeping him in quarantine indefinitely. It has not been specified whether Paul has tested positive for the coronavirus, or exactly why he has entered the protocols.

Going forward, the Suns' road only gets tougher, facing either the top-seeded Utah Jazz or Paul's former team – the Los Angeles Clippers – in the Western Conference Finals, and Phoenix could be forced to start the series without their star point guard.

Despite the challenge ahead, it is tempting to consider what a first career NBA Finals appearance – or first career title – would do for the legacy of one of the most underrated players of his era.

Paul's brilliance can sometimes go unnoticed, especially in a league full of talented scorers who appear ready to drop 50 in any given game. His career high is 43 points, and the last time he hit 40 was in 2016.

But what's set Paul apart since the day he entered the league are his abilities to command an offense and distribute to team-mates. He is one of six players with over 10,000 career assists and, all things being equal, will move into third on the all-time helpers list next season, trailing only John Stockton and Jason Kidd.

Among the five players with the most assists in NBA history, Paul's 18.3 points per game is the highest mark, out-pacing Steve Nash's 14.3 by a healthy margin.

Paul is also fifth all-time with 2,332 career steals and could move up a spot or two on that list in two years' time.

But Paul's true impact defies traditional box score statistics. This postseason, the Suns have a scoring differential of plus 13.0 points per 100 possessions with Paul on the court, and Phoenix are shooting nearly 50 per cent from the floor with their conductor in the game.

Moreover, Paul's teams simply win.

His teams have a record of 698-392 when he plays, or an average of 53-29 over an 82-game season. Paul has played for five teams in his career, and each have improved their record in Paul's first year over the previous season. On average, a team adding Paul to the roster increase their win percentage by .168, the equivalent of 14 added wins over an 82-game season.

If Paul never played another game, he would still be a guaranteed Hall of Famer. And after this latest disruption, perhaps the 2021 playoffs will be yet another chapter in a book of postseasons gone wrong for an otherwise legendary player.

But almost every team remaining in this year’s playoffs is dealing with attrition, including both the Suns' potential opponents in the next round. Phoenix are rated by bookmakers as the second favourites for the championship, trailing only the Brooklyn Nets.

Paul's legacy should be able to stand alone, with or without a title. But adding a championship ring would go a long way towards forcing his detractors to finally acknowledge his consistent brilliance.

The US Open is set to be the first tennis grand slam to operate at full spectator capacity for its duration since COVID-19 became a global crisis.

Tournament organisers said on Thursday that the major, which was played behind closed doors in 2020, would not impose reduce attendance measures this year.

"New York is back, and so are the fans," a statement on the tournament's website said. "The 2021 US Open will welcome fans back to the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center at 100 per cent capacity for the two-week tournament."

Mike Dowse, chief executive of the United States Tennis Association (USTA), said: "We are extremely excited to be able to welcome our incredible fans back to the US Open this year.

"While we were proud that we were able to hold the event in 2020, we missed having our fans on-site, because we know that they are a large part of what makes the US Open experience unlike any other.

"Indeed, the challenges presented by the pandemic were tough on us all, but our sport came together like never before and tackled each challenge head on."

Dowse added: "Our sport surged in the toughest of times, and this year's US Open promises to be an unforgettable celebration of the game, those who play it, and those who revel in it."

The tournament added that it would follow all COVID-related guidelines, although its intention clearly is to run the major in as normal a manner as is possible.

The US Open's announcement came on the day tickets went on sale for the upcoming Wimbledon championship, which begins on June 28. The grass-court slam was cancelled last year.

Wimbledon will operate at a 50 per cent attendance restriction for much of its duration, although the weekend of the finals is due to see Centre Court at 100 per cent capacity.

The French Open functioned with a vastly reduced number of tickets available in both its 2020 and 2021 editions, compared to previous years.

The Australian Open in February capped spectator numbers at 30,000, although a snap lockdown in Melbourne meant there were no crowds for five days midway through the event, with Rod Laver Arena then limited to approximately 50 per cent capacity for the closing stretch of the event.

Naomi Osaka and Dominic Thiem won the women's and men's singles titles at the 2020 US Open, and this year's tournament runs from August 30 to September 12.

There will be capacity crowds for the Wimbledon finals next month and around 45,000 people are set to be allowed into Wembley for the Euro 2020 semi-finals and final.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday announced a four-week delay in lifting coronavirus lockdown restrictions in England to July 19 due to rising cases of the Delta variant.

However, Wimbledon and the European Championship are being treated as test events, so there is set to be a full house of 15,000 on Centre Court for the championship matches on the weekend of July 10-11.

The grass-court grand slam will be the first outdoor sporting event to have a capacity crowd since the start of the pandemic.

When the tournament, which was not staged last year due to the COVID-19 crisis, starts on June 28 it will be at 50 per cent capacity.

A statement from the All England Club said: "We are pleased to have worked closely with the government, public health bodies, and our local authority in Merton, to confirm that, as part of this next phase of pilot events, The Championships 2021 will begin on Monday 28 June with 50 per cent capacity across the Grounds, building to full capacity crowds of 15,000 on Centre Court for the finals weekend.

"This will enable us to fulfil our aspiration of staging the best Wimbledon possible within the current circumstances, with the health and safety of all those who make Wimbledon happen - our guests, competitors, members, staff, media, officials, local residents, and partners - remaining our highest priority."

Crowds for England's first two Euro 2020 group games at Wembley have been capped at 22,500, but that figure is expected to be doubled so the stadium is half full for the semi-finals and final.

The semi-finals will be staged on July 6 and 7, with the final held on July 11.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said: "We want to gather further evidence on how we can open up all big events safely, and for good.

"The expansion of trials of the NHS app and lateral flow testing will mean that bigger crowds will be able to attend a limited number of major sporting and cultural events early this summer as part of our events research programme.

"In the next few weeks, this means more fans enjoying the Euros and Wimbledon, and some of our biggest cultural and sports events."

Lionel Messi admitted he is concerned about the coronavirus situation as the superstar captain targets a long-awaited title with Argentina at the Copa America.

Messi's Argentina will open their Copa America campaign against rivals Chile in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on Monday.

Brazil is hosting the Copa after CONMEBOL controversially removed Argentina and Colombia as co-hosts due to respective political and COVID-19 issues.

Despite being one of the country's worst hit by the coronavirus health crisis, Brazil was awarded hosting duties for this year's showpiece event, which was already pushed back a year because of COVID-19.

Defending champions Brazil won 3-0 on Sunday against a Venezuela side that had reported 12 positive coronavirus tests amongst their ranks earlier in the week.

Speaking on the eve of Argentina's first match, Messi told reporters: "We are concerned about the situation because it is a risk for all of us to catch COVID-19.

"Although we try to take care of ourselves and do everything they tell us is not easy, because then these things happen and we face other national teams where there is a risk of contagion.

"We will try to do our best so that it does not happen to us, but this does not depend only on us and anything can happen."

Despite his remarkable Barcelona success, Messi is yet to win a senior trophy with Argentina following back-to-back runners-up performances at the Copa America 2015 and 2016, having also fallen short in the 2007 final against Brazil.

La Albiceleste and six-time Ballon d'Or winner Messi also lost in the 2014 World Cup decider – beaten by Germany.

"I always said that I am available to try to be with the national team and give my best," the 33-year-old Messi said.

"My biggest dream is to achieve something with the Argentina, I was close many times and unfortunately it was not given to me, but I will try to keep looking for it until it is given to me.

"If the coach who is there thinks that I can continue contributing to the team, I will always want to be there and fight for that dream. I was lucky to win everything with my club and individually, and it would be very nice to win something with the national team."

Messi was directly involved in 50 goals (38 scored, 12 assisted) in 47 games for Barca in 2020-21. Only three players in Europe's top-five leagues managed more.

He has now recorded 25-plus goals in each his past 12 league seasons, while the veteran scored 11 LaLiga goals direct following a ball carry last season – the most of any player in Europe's top-five leagues.

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