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LALIGA WEEKEND PREVIEW: Real Madrid and Barcelona go head to head in second Clasico of the season

LALIGA WEEKEND PREVIEW: Real Madrid and Barcelona go head to head in potential title decider with all eyes on second Clasico of the season while Atletico Madrid, Sevilla and Getafe battle for Champions League places
  • Real Madrid and Barcelona lock horns on Sunday in the season's second Clasico
  • Two points separate the fierce rivals going into their encounter at the Bernabeu
  • Atletico Madrid face basement-boys Espanyol while Sevilla take on Osasuna
  • Diego Simeone's men are joint-third with Sevilla while Getafe are a point behind
  • By Sam Mcevoy For Mailonline[1]

    Published: 09:51 EDT, 28 February 2020 | Updated: 11:13 EDT, 28 February 2020

    It could all come down to this. The second Clasico of the season is set to play a crucial part in who is crowned as champions of LaLiga[2] this season.

    The title race pendulum swung back in Barcelona[3]'s favour last weekend after Real Madrid[4] suffered a shock 1-0 defeat at the hands of Levante.

    Lionel Messi[5] was at his ever best as he smashed four of Barca's five past Eibar in an emphatic victory to see the Catalan giants reclaim their place at the summit of the table.

    Real Madrid and Barcelona lock horns for the second time in El Clasico this Sunday evening


    Friday, February 28

    Real Sociedad v Valladolid (8pm)

    Saturday, February 29

    Eibar v Levante (12pm)

    Valencia v Real Betis (3pm)

    Leganes v Alaves (5.30pm)

    Granada v Celta Vigo (8pm) 

    Sunday, March 1

    Sevilla v Osasuna (11am)

    Athletic Bilbao v Villarreal (1pm)

    Espanyol v Atletico Madrid (3pm)

    Mallorca v Getafe (5.30pm)

    Real Madrid v Barcelona (8pm) 

    Barcelona's surprise signing Martin Braithwaite made his debut for Quique Setien's side and went on to play a part in the win while it was more bad news for Real as they lost Eden Hazard to injury.

    This weekend's round of fixtures could also prove to be the one of the most pivotal at both ends of the table with Champions League places up for grabs while those in the relegation zone continue to slog it out. 

    Atletico Madrid and Sevilla are locked in a battle for third place with each sitting on 43 points while Getafe – who lost 3-0 to Sevilla last weekend – are just a point behind both in fifth.

    But what can we expect from this weekend's fixtures? 

    Here, Sportsmail takes a look at all the action going into a jam-packed weekend in Spain's top flight and there's plenty to look forward to before El Clasico. 

    Real Sociedad vs Real Valladolid – Friday, 8pm

    The action kicks off in the Basque country where Real Sociedad welcome 15th-place Valladolid to the Anoeta Stadium.

    La Real currently find themselves in and around the Europa League places and are just three points adrift of third-placed Atletico.

    The hosts are in the midst of a fine run of form after putting up four consecutive victories, including a remarkable Copa del Rey win over Real Madrid.

    Valladolid, meanwhile, aren't sitting quite as pretty. While they are seven points clear of the drop zone and just three points off 10th, a poor run could see them fall further into trouble.

    The visitors did manage to walk away with a 2-1 win over rock-bottom Espanyol last week but their form has been slightly erratic of late.

    Valladolid boss Sergio will be hoping his side can climb out of the bottom half with a win but they face a tough task against an in-form Sociedad side on Friday night. 

    Real Sociedad have been in fine form recently and currently sixth in the Europa League places

    Valencia vs Real Betis – Saturday, 3pm

    Valencia are currently on a five-game winless run in all competitions, which may provide Real Betis with some confidence going into the Saturday afternoon clash at the Mestalla.

    However, while Valencia have struggled to get going, they haven't let up as they are currently unbeaten at home in the league this season having won seven and drawn six.

    Betis will need to be wary of this weekend's hosts in the second half, which is where Albert Celades' men have been at their most dangerous, turning four half-time draws into full-time victories at home.

    Betis boss Rubi will also be hoping his players can keep their heads going into this weekend's game, too. In their last four away games in La Liga, Betis have given up three penalties while also receiving three red cards for their troubles which has seen them drop to 13th in the table.

    Should Valladolid walk away with a win at the Anoeta, Valencia can move into the Europa League places with a victory of their own, which would put them just a point behind Getafe who are fifth.

    Espanyol vs Atletico Madrid – Sunday, 3pm

    With Sevilla playing Osasuna earlier in the day, Atletico will have to match whatever result Julen Lopetegui's side manage if they want to keep hold of third.

    While they do find themselves in a dog-fight for a Champions League place, Diego Simeone will take comfort in the knowledge that this Sunday's opponents have been struggling this season.

    Since mid-September, Espanyol have not left the relegation zone and have been rooted to the bottom of the table since early December.

    The Catalan club are dangerously flirting with relegation but remain five points adrift of Celta Vigo, who sit just above the drop zone.

    Atletico Madrid continue their push to secure Champions League football next season

    A win for Espanyol could be the turning point in their season and it's not totally impossible to dream up such a scenario.

    In Atletico's last visit to RCDE Stadium, Simeone's men were beaten convincingly 3-0 last May while Abelardo Fernandez's men have won three out of the last five league encounters with Atleti.

    The league standings suggests it will be a comfortable win for Atletico but stranger things have happened in La Liga this season.

    Real Madrid vs Barcelona – Sunday, 8pm

    La Liga have saved the best till last. The second Clasico of the season takes place at the Bernabeu and there's all to play for.

    A mouth-watering top-of-the-table clash pits the two fierce rivals against each other once again and it will surely go a long way to deciding where the trophy will end up in May.

    Following the hype around the first Clasico being postponed due to political unrest in Catalonia, Real Madrid left the Nou Camp with a draw that could stand them in good stead in the head-to-head battle should they win on Sunday.

    The first Clasico of the season ended goalless at the Nou Camp back in December

    Their 0-0 draw at the Nou Camp in December was the first Clasico without any goals since 2002 and considering each team's current form, you can certainly expect another cagey affair.

    Both Real and Barca have looked ropey this season and injuries are wreaking havoc ahead of the game.

    It will be Quique Setien's first Clasico as Barcelona boss while Zidane will be hoping his exprience will see him through on the day. 

    The visitors will be missing their first choice full-backs, with Sergi Roberto and Jordi Alba injured, but Gerard Pique should be fit to play after he limped off with an ankle injury late on in their 1-1 draw with Napoli in the Champions League on Tuesday.

    Middlesbrough misfit Braithwaite could make an appearance with Luis Suarez and Ousmane Dembele unlikely to return this season due to serious injuries.

    The hosts, on the other hand, are in a rocky patch of their own.

    A deflating 2-1 loss against Manchester City on Wednesday, which saw Sergio Ramos sent off, is their third defeat in five games in all competitions while Barca have managed three wins out of five.

    Lionel Messi was back to his best as he ended his small goal drought with four against Eibar

    Real Madrid winger Eden Hazard is set for another lengthy spell on the sidelines with injury

    Hazard has also been ruled out of the encounter after picking up another injury last week. 

    The poor run of results also saw Zinedine Zidane's men surrender a two-point cushion at the top of La Liga and they now find themselves trailing Barca by that same gap.

    Two of the league's top goalscorers this season, Messi and Karim Benzema, will most certainly be in the starting line-ups but questions remain over how the two sides will set up tactically. Will Zidane and Setien be cautious in their approach or go all out attack?

    It's one of the most thrilling title races in years and fans can be sure to expect fireworks at the end of another action-packed weekend.


    There's plenty of action going on at the bottom end of the table, with Celta Vigo and Leganes both in action on Saturday as the both to steer clear of relegation.

    Celta have a tough task on their travels at Granada while Leganes host Alaves.

    Athletic Bilbao welcome Villarreal to San Mames on Sunday in the lunchtime kick-off while Champions League hopefuls Sevilla and Getafe both have the chance to prove their top-four credentials as they take on Osasuna and Mallorca respectively.

    Eibar will be hoping to shake off Barca's 5-0 dismantling last weekend when they welcome Levante for their Saturday lunchtime kick-off. 

    Sky TV and Virgin TV customers across the UK can watch El Clasico live on LaLigaTV this Sunday at 8pm GMT. LaLigaTV is the first dedicated channel to broadcast every live match and provide 24/7 access to 'All of LaLiga. All in one place.'

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    IBF world featherweight champion Josh Warrington on the importance of small-hall shows

    IBF world champion Josh Warrington on his memories and the importance of the small-hall circuit: 'I remember being in the ring when the cleaners were out packing up... fighters need these shows to learn their trade'

    By Josh Warrington For Mailonline[1]

    Published: 08:15 EDT, 28 March 2020 | Updated: 10:00 EDT, 28 March 2020

    Josh Warrington was speaking to Sportsmail's Daniel Matthews about the importance of the small-hall circuit amid concerns over the effect cancelled shows will have on boxing's grassroots level.

    I think boxing is one of the only sports where you can be shown on television but not be able to afford the subscription to watch yourself after!

    A lot of fighters these days may be knocking on the door of titles and decent paydays but it's still not enough to live on. And before this coronavirus[2] lockdown some may have quit their jobs and their career is starting to take off. Now all of a sudden they are going to have to balance their money. All those fighters need the small-hall circuit to learn their trade.

    Not everybody is going to be a superstar, not everybody is going to turn over with sponsors coming out of their backsides. I didn't get a sponsor until I'd won the English title and that was one of my dad's mate's local paving firm - they gave me £200 to buy some new boots! I was still working 9-5 as a dental technician when I was European champion.

    Josh Warrington says small-hall circuit is vital for up-and-coming fighters to learn their trade

    I have some absolutely fantastic memories because, back then, it was just my friends and family who would support me. Bloody hell, one time I boxed in the Bowlers (Exhibition Centre) in Manchester and took seven people!

    In 2010, I fought at the Huddersfield Leisure Centre and on that same show Carl Frampton boxed, Tyson Fury boxed. If you look down memory lane and the times when you had 40 or 50 coming out and supporting you, sitting in those wooden temporary seats... it's the grassroots of boxing and a lot of fighters miss that if they come out of the Olympics.

    I remember same-day weigh-ins, standing next to your opponent in the back of an auditorium or a leisure centre and getting warmed up in a separate sports hall or terrible changing rooms. They're not glamorous but it's what you have to do!

    There are concerns over the effect the coronavirus crisis will have on boxing's grassroots level

    The best thing was being a floater. That is when you have a TV show and, if a fight finishes early, you need to fill those slots. The floater is an up-and-coming prospect and sometimes if all the fights go to schedule, you don't go on until after the main event. You've still got to fight and you've been gloved up since 7 o'clock!

    I was on the undercard of Scott Quigg vs Jason Booth (at a hotel in Bolton, in 2011) and they were taking chairs away. While I was in the ring they were starting to clean up and the only people left in there were my 40 fans who'd travelled over.

    They're my fondest memories and there is still a solid stable of hardcore boxing fans who will want to follow somebody's journey from the very, very start and see how far they go. I have loads of folk who have watched me on a small-hall show and still come and watch me now and have never missed a fight. So it's massively important.

    Warrington is one of many examples of top fighters who rose through the small-hall circuit


    2020 OLYMPIC GAMES  

    The 2020 Olympic Games has been postponed until 2021 on March 24 - becoming one of the last major sporting events this summer to fall victim to the coronavirus.

    Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe held a crucial conference call with Olympics chief Thomas Bach on Tuesday to formally decide a plan and they have chosen to postpone for 12 months.

    The decision also means the Tokyo Paralympic Games will be subject to a one-year delay.

    Despite the delay, the name of the delayed Games will still be Tokyo 2020, the city's governor Yuriko Koike revealed.

    A joint statement from the IOC and Tokyo 2020 organising committee read: 'In the present circumstances and based on the information provided by the WHO today, the IOC President and the Prime Minister of Japan have concluded that the Games of the XXXII Olympiad in Tokyo must be rescheduled to a date beyond 2020 but not later than summer 2021, to safeguard the health of the athletes, everybody involved in the Olympic Games and the international community.

    'The leaders agreed that the Olympic Games in Tokyo could stand as a beacon of hope to the world during these troubled times and that the Olympic flame could become the light at the end of the tunnel in which the world finds itself at present. 

    'Therefore, it was agreed that the Olympic flame will stay in Japan. It was also agreed that the Games will keep the name Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020.' 

    There was plenty of scepticism whether the Olympics would pull through and continue as scheduled while events linked to the games were called off. The Olympic torch relay in Greece was cancelled on Friday March 13 - just a day after the flame was lit in Olympia.

    Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games have been postponed by one year due to the coronavirus

    Large crowds mobbed Hollywood actor Gerard Butler as he lit the cauldron in the Greek city of Sparta despite repeated warnings for spectators not to attend because of coronavirus.

    That forced the decision by the Greek Olympic Committee to halt the torch relay on Greek soil on just the second day of its scheduled eight-day journey. It is the only the third time that a relay to Athens for the summer Games has not been completed.

    The Olympic flame will still be handed over to the Tokyo 2020 organising committee at the Panathenaic Stadium in Athens on Thursday March 19, but without fans present. 

    Athletes were told to keep training but many struggled considering the government lock-down measures put in place. 

    On Friday March 13 US president Donald Trump's suggestion to postpone the Tokyo Olympics for a year because of the coronavirus was immediately shot down by Japan's Olympic minister.

    'The IOC and the organising committee are not considering cancellation or a postponement - absolutely not at all,' Seiko Hashimoto, an Olympic bronze medalist, told a news conference in Tokyo.

    On Tuesday March 17, Kozo Tashima, one of the Japanese Olympic Committee's vice presidents and president of the Japanese Football Association, tested positive for coronavirus.  

    The International Olympic Committee and Tokyo organisers have stayed on message since the viral outbreak in China three months ago spread across Asia and then the globe: The games will open as scheduled on July 24. 

    Tokyo 2020 organisers received the Olympic flame in a scaled-down handover ceremony in the Greek capital on March 19. 


    The World Athletics Indoor Championships, which was due to be held from March 13-15 in Nanjing, is postponed until March 2021.

    The World Athletics Indoor Championships in Nanjing, China, has been postponed due to concerns over the danger of the coronavirus and its ability to spread

    North Korea cancelled the Pyongyang Marathon scheduled for April after imposing a border lockdown due to the level of outbreak in South Korea, where the Seoul Marathon is cancelled in a bid to protect runners.

    The Paris half-marathon is cancelled and the French government also decided to ban all public gatherings of more than 100 people, before ordering people to stay at home from March 15 for at least 15 days. The race involving some 44,000 competitors was scheduled for Sunday March 1. Organisers said the race will be postponed to a date yet to be determined.

    The London Marathon, which had been scheduled to take place on April 26, has been postponed until October 4. Over 40,000 runners were due to take part. 

    The Barcelona marathon scheduled for March 15 has been postponed until October.


    Olympic boxing qualifiers to be staged in Wuhan were cancelled by the International Olympic Committee, but went ahead in Amman from March 3-11.

    The IBF title fight between Daniele Scardina and Andrew Francillette in Milan on February 28 was postponed by Matchroom due to restrictions in Italy following the outbreak.

    The Japanese boxing commission cancelled all fight cards scheduled for March on government advice to suspend all pending sporting fixtures. They will not be rescheduled.

    Daniel Dubois and Joe Joyce's Battle of Britain has been pushed back from April to July

    The British Boxing Board of Control announced on Tuesday March 17 that all boxing events under their jurisdiction for March will be postponed due to the coronavirus.

    That decision has lead to the heavyweight clash between Daniel Dubois and Joe Joyce being postponed. That fight, which had been penciled in for April 11, has been rescheduled for July 11 at the O2 Arena. 

    Anthony Yarde, who was due to fight Lyndon Arthur on the undercard of the all-British clash, announced on March 29 that his father had died as a result of contracting the coronavirus. 

    He revealed in an Instagram post that he had no underlying health issues and urged everyone to stay at home.  

    Matchroom Boxing has also postponed all events scheduled for March and April, including Josh Kelly's European title fight against Russia's David Avanesyan (scheduled for March 28). 

    The European Olympic boxing qualification tournament in London has been suspended. It was due to secure qualification for Tokyo 2020 for 77 male and female boxers, with 322 taking part. 

    Matchroom Boxing chief Eddie Hearn has said Anthony Joshua's heavyweight title defence against Kubrat Pulev, which is scheduled for June 20, could be rearranged for July. All Matchroom promoted fights in March and April have been postponed. 

    Canelo Alvarez vs Billy Joe Saunders, earmarked for May in Las Vegas, was postponed before even being announced, however the Mexican is reportedly still planning to make the bout happen in June. 


    England's tour of Sri Lanka was postponed on March 13, with the England and Wales Cricket Board citing 'completely unprecedented times'.

    The decision was confirmed while Joe Root's side were in the field at Colombo's P Sara Oval, contesting a warm-up game for a two-Test series.

    On March 18, the West Indies offered to host England's upcoming home Tests against them in the Caribbean instead of in the UK - should the coronavirus outbreak not have improved by then. England are due to face the Windies in a a three-Test series, which is due to start at the Oval on June 4 but could be delayed until September. If playing the series in England proves unworkable, CWI have offered to step in for this series, and also for England's three Tests against Pakistan[3], due to start on July 30. Although there are Covid-19 cases in the Caribbean, its impact there has been limited so far. 

    The start of the Indian Premier League season has also been delayed until April 15. The 2020 campaign had been set to start on March 29. The IPL franchises are also ready to quarantine their foreign players for a period of 14 days, if travel restrictions are lifted to allow them to arrive.

    On March 13, India's ongoing one-day international series against South Africa was postponed, while Australia's one-day internationals against New Zealand will be played behind closed doors.

    Scotland's one-day series against the United States and UAE have been postponed. The games were scheduled to be played in Florida in April. 

    England’s cricketers would not play any rescheduled Test series against West Indies in the Caribbean until December at the earliest, it emerged on March 19.


    Cycling's Giro d'Italia has been called off, with the race scheduled to start in Hungary in May. 

    The final two stages of the UAE Tour were cancelled after two members of staff on the race were suspected of having the disease. 

    Danish cyclist Michael Morkov was tested for coronavirus after being put in isolation

    The Tour de France is under threat of cancellation, with the scheduled start in Nice taking place in just over three months, on June 27. With British and French governments anticipating that the pandemic will last until the summer, race organizers are studying alternative scheduling. 

    The Paris-Roubaix cycling race, another major event on the French sports calendar, was postponed due to the pandemic, while the April 5 Tour of Flanders, only previously cancelled during World War I, was also postponed in a further sign that Le Tour is under grave threat.


    This summer's Euro 2020 tournament has been moved to next summer (2021) following a UEFA conference held on March 17. The postponement provides a chance for European club competitions to be completed.

    All football in England is suspended until at least April 30 - but the 2019-20 season should eventually be completed after the FA bend their own rules to extend the campaign INDEFINITELY after holding crisis talks on March 19.

    The decisions to suspend follows players and staff becoming affected by the virus, or individuals self-isolating as a precaution after reporting symptoms consistent with Covid-19.

    The Premier League has moved to cancel games following the global outbreak of coronavius

    The Premier League clash between Manchester City and Arsenal, scheduled for March 11, had already been postponed as a 'precautionary measure' after Olympiacos and Nottingham Forest owner Evangelos Marinakis tested positive for coronavirus weeks after watching his Greek team play at the Emirates Stadium. 

    On March 13, UEFA announced all Champions League and Europa League fixtures scheduled are postponed, as well as the quarter-final draws for both competitions. UEFA hope to conclude the competitions in the summer but no dates are yet set. 

    Birmingham City become the first Championship side to see players take temporary 50 per cent wage cuts to ease financial pressure.  Leeds United soon followed in a bid to keep paying all of their non-football staff. 

    All Chinese domestic fixtures at all levels were postponed and the season pushed back, the first football to be affected by the outbreak in the country of its origin. However, reports suggest that the league could resume on April 18 as China gets to grip with the virus.

    Asian Champions League matches involving Guangzhou Evergrande, Shanghai Shenhua and Shanghai SIPG are postponed until April.

    The start of the Korean K-League season is postponed. The four teams in the AFC Champions League are playing their matches behind closed doors.

    Japan's J-League postponed all domestic games until the middle of March, but further delays are inevitable. 

    Ludogorets players were taking no chances after the coronavirus outbreak in Italy

    Italy, the country worst hit by the virus outside China, suffered a spate of cancellations before the government put the population on lockdown. All sport, including Serie A games, were suspended until at least April 3 to contain the virus.

    In France, it was announced on Friday 13 March that there will be no top-flight football in France[4] for the immediate future after their governing body postponed all matches.  

    In Spain, April 18's Copa del Rey final between between Athletic Bilbao and Real Sociedad has been postponed. LaLiga is also postponed until the end of March at least.

    Germany's Bundesliga, the other major European league, is also suspended until April 3 at least. 

    The Dutch Eredivisie and Portugal's Primeira Liga are also suspended.

    The Football Association of Ireland announced that all football under its jurisdiction will cease until March 29. 

    Major League Soccer has been suspended for 30 days until mid-April with David Beckham's first Inter Miami home game delayed.  

    The South American Football Confederation postponed this year's Copa America, due to take place from 12 June to 12 July, until 2021.

    FIFA said that the newly-expanded Club World Cup, originally scheduled to take place in China in June 2021, will be postponed and a new date announced when 'there is more clarity on the situation'.

    On March 13, the FA announced that all of England's games scheduled for the month would be postponed, including those of development teams. It means that England's friendlies with Italy and Denmark have been called off.    

    Euro 2020 play-off matches due to be held on March 26, including Scotland v Israel have been put off until June. 

    Olympiakos' owner Evangelos Marinakis has tested positive for the coronavirus

    Manchester United clash at Austrian side Lask was behind closed doors, with United handing out £350 to each fan to help with travel and accommodation after they sold 900 tickets for the Europa League game. 

    Newcastle United banned their players from shaking hands with each other amid coronavirus fears. 

    Cristiano Ronaldo went into isolation in Madeira after it emerged that his Juventus team-mate, Daniele Rugani, has coronavirus. Squad members Blaise Matuidi and Paolo Dybala also tested positive. 

    Elsewhere in Italy, Fiorentina striker Patrick Cutrone, who is on loan from Wolverhampton Wanderers, tested positive for coronavirus.

    In Spain, 35% of Valencia's squad staff tested positive for coronavirus, with all cases being asymptomatic. 

    Real Madrid's first-team squad were in quarantine after a member of the basketball team tested positive for Covid-19. The two teams share the same training facility.   

    Liverpool have announced a charity match between a Reds Legends side and Barcelona Legends, due to be played at Anfield on March 28, has been postponed.

    FIFA says it will postpone South American World Cup qualifying matches due to take place in March. 

    Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta tested positive for coronavirus on March 12 with the entire first-team squad being put into isolation. The Gunners' game against Brighton, scheduled for Saturday March 14, has been postponed.

    In the early hours of Friday, March 13, Chelsea announced that winger Callum Hudson-Odoi had been diagnosed with the illness.

    The club's first team went into self-isolation, while two buildings at their training ground in Cobham were closed. 

    Premier League clubs, including Manchester United and Manchester City, have sent players home to train alone following the British government's increasing crackdown on mass gatherings and unnecessary social contact.   

    West Ham chief Karren Brady called for the season to be null and void while Aston Villa believe no team should be relegated. In this situation Liverpool, the runaway league leaders, could face the horror of being denied the title despite being on the brink of securing their first league trophy in nearly 30 years.

    Reports suggest football bodies across England and the rest of Europe are bracing themselves for a reported total shutdown of every league until September.

    Top-level English and Scottish football was initially suspended until April 3 at the earliest. The Football Association, the Premier League, the English Football League, FA Women's Super League and FA Women's Championship all agreed to call a halt to competitive action with immediate effect. 

    All levels of English football below the National League North and South have been called off and voided with no promotion and relegation due to the calendar being decimated by the coronavirus outbreak.  


    The season-opening Australian Grand Prix was called off after a McLaren team member came down with Covid-19, leading to the British team pulling out prior to a decision being made on whether the race would still go ahead. 

    The announcement came hours after Lewis Hamilton said it was 'shocking' that the race was going ahead. 

    The Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai on April 19 was the first race to be postponed, with no decision over whether it will be reinserted into the 2020 calendar for later in the season. 

    The Bahrain Grand Prix, scheduled for March 20-22, is also called off, as is the inaugural Vietnam Grand Prix, which was scheduled to take place in Hanoi on April 5. 

    It was hoped that the Dutch Grand Prix on May 3 would be the first race of the new season but that has also been postponed due to Covid-19. 

    The iconic Monaco Grand Prix on May 24 was cancelled for the first time in 66 years before Formula One announced their race in Azerbaijan had been postponed. 

    The Chinese GP was first to be cancelled and other races could yet follow that lead


    On March 13, the Masters was postponed. In a statement released online, Fred Ridley, Chairman of Augusta National Golf Club, emphasised that the decision makers hope to hold the championship 'at some later date'. The first men's major of the year was due to begin on April 9.

    The US PGA Championship, the second major of the year, has now joined the  Masters in being postponed. It had been due to take place at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco from May 11-17, but has been rescheduled for later this summer.

    After deciding to play with no spectators from the second round of the Players Championship onwards, the PGA Tour cancelled the event entirely after the first round on March 12. 

    They also scrapped the following three events leading up to the Masters, but after that was cancelled four further events in April and May – the RBC Heritage, the Zurich Classic of New Orleans, the Wells Fargo Championship and the AT&T Byron Nelson - also bit the dust. It is hoped that the season can be resumed in late May.

    The European Tour have cancelled all tournaments until the popular Made in Denmark event on May 21. Many of them were due to be held in China or east Asia in countries badly hit by the outbreak.

    The women's game has also been hit by postponements and cancellations, with the year's first major, the ANA Inspiration, the highest profile casualty.

    The Masters has been postponed for the first time since the Second World War

    Lorenzo Gagli and Edoardo Molinari were withdrawn from the Oman Open on medical grounds after Gagli showed symptoms of the virus. He shared a hotel room with Molinari and he was told to self-isolate. They were later reinstated to the tournament after testing negative for the virus. 


    The Grand National was called off following new British government restrictions to fight the spread of coronavirus made it impossible to stage the Aintree showpiece on April 4. The Cheltenham Festival went ahead amid some criticism before the social distancing measures were tightened. 

    The Japan Racing Association revealed that 'government-sanctioned races' will go ahead behind closed doors.  

    Racing in Ireland attempted to take place behind closed doors starting on March 29 - but that decision was changed after government cancelled all sporting events.  

    The Dubai World Cup meeting will go ahead on March 28 'without paid hospitality spectators'. 

    Racing Post forced to temporarily suspend publication of the flagship daily racing newspaper for the first time since their inception in 1986 due to all action in UK and Ireland being suspended.  

    The Cheltenham Festival went ahead despite travel disruption caused by the virus


    This year's Six Nations will have to wait for its conclusion with all remaining games postponed.

    England's game with Italy and Ireland's trip to France had already been called off with Wales and Scotland leaving it until the day before before calling off their game. 

    Saturday, 31 October is a possible date for the final weekend of matches. 

    The Women's Six Nations has also been hit by postponements.

    Ireland's Six Nations encounter with Italy on March 7 has been postponed

    The RFU has suspended all levels of rugby in England until April 14, with the announcement coming shortly after the Premiership was halted for five weeks. 

    The quarter-finals of the European Champions Cup and Challenge Cup have also been postponed. Those games were scheduled for April 3, 4 and 5.   

    The RFL and rugby league's Super League have now followed suit and postponed all fixtures for at least three weeks. Eight Leeds Rhinos players had been confirmed to be self-isolating.  


    The French Open, one of the four Grand Slam tournaments, is postponed until September amid a wide lockdown in France.

    The clay-court major was scheduled for May 24 to June 7, but that has shifted to September 20 to October 4, after the US Open, which was due to be the final major of the year. 

    Players have been quick to criticise the move, which has created a conflict with the Laver Cup men’s team event spearheaded by Roger Federer, and a women’s tournament in China.

    All events on the ATP Tour have been suspended for six weeks. 

    The BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells in California, set to start on March 9, was postponed at the eleventh hour.  It came after a confirmed case of the coronavirus in the nearby Coachella Valley.

    The final of an ATP Challenger event in Bergamo, Italy, between Enzo Couacaud and Illya Marchenko of Ukraine was cancelled. Both players received ranking points and prize money for getting to the final. They were denied the opportunity to play behind closed doors.

    China forfeited a Davis Cup tie because the men's team were unable to travel to Romania for the March 6-7 play-off.

    WTA events have also been cancelled. The WTA announced they are assessing their schedule with a number of events set for China in the second half of the season.

    The International Tennis Federation has announced that the Fed Cup finals have been postponed. The event was due to be held in Budapest in April and the competition's play-offs, which were set to take place in eight different locations, have also been placed on hold.

    The WTA also announced no tournaments will be staged for at least five weeks.   


    The NBA has been suspended indefinitely after two Utah Jazz players contracted the virus. On March 17 Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant confirmed he had tested positive for the virus alongside three unnamed team-mates.

    In an aid to decrease risks of exposure to the virus, the NBA had told players to avoid taking items such as pens, markers, balls and jerseys from autograph seekers. 

    The NHL has announced it has paused the 2019-20 season with no date confirmed for when it will resume. 

    The UFC has cancelled its next three events, although president Dana White is still pushing ahead for the highly-anticipated lightweight title fight between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson. 

    MotoGP have cancelled their first two races of the season in Qatar and Thailand. 

    South Korea's baseball league cancelled all 50 pre-season game which were slated to take place from March 14-24. It is the first time since the leagues inception in 1982 that an entire set of exhibition matches are off. 

    The first-stage draw for the Table Tennis World Championships, scheduled for South Korea from March 22-29, is postponed.

    A beach volleyball tournament, due to be held in Yangzhou from April 22-26, is postponed until after the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

    World Short track speed skating championship in Seoul is cancelled.

    The World Triathlon Series event in Abu Dhabi was postponed as a precautionary measure.  

    The Women's World Ice Hockey Championships in Canada have been cancelled.   

    All 72 pre-season baseball games in Japan are to take place behind closed doors

    In badminton, the German Open (March 3-8), Vietnam Open (March 24-29) and Polish Open (March 26-29), all Olympic qualifying events, are cancelled due to 'strict health protection'. 

    The Japanese professional baseball league made the decision to play their 72 pre-season games behind closed doors until March 15. Baseball is among the most popular sports in Japan.  

    Doubts remain as the Asian weightlifting championships, scheduled for March, are relocated from Kazakhstan to neighbouring Uzbekistan. They could still be postponed. 

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    Best Netflix, Amazon & YouTube football documentaries & movies to watch during coronavirus isolation

    What to watch during coronavirus isolation

    The spread of the coronavirus has meant that many are now self-isolating at home.

    With the lack of live football and sport, it’s time to consider the best football documentaries and movies to watch during quarantine.

    Netflix, Amazon & YouTube: Best football documentaries & movie

    Most of the quality content you’re going to want to watch is available on either Netflix, Amazon and YouTube.

    But what can you do if you don’t have access to any of these platforms?

    Our advice is to download & install ExpressVPN[1]. ExpressVPN unlocks the internet, bypasses geo-blocking, and enables you to watch endless high-quality content from all over the world.

    With that said, here’s what you need to watch.

    Sunderland ‘Til I Die (Netflix)

    One of the breakout football docu-series in recent time has been Sunderland ‘Til I Die on Netflix.

    Sunderland ‘Til I Die is an eight-part documentary detailing the fall of Sunderland from the Championship to League One.

    The second season is due on April 1, 2020 in the UK and is likely to be even more popular than the first season.

    Watch the trailer for the second season of Sunderland ‘Til I Die here:

    All or Nothing: Manchester City (Amazon Prime)

    The 8-part fly-on-the-wall Amazon Prime series that allowed fans to witness the inner workings of Pep Guardiola’s regime at Man City.

    Watch how Man City won the 2017-18 Premier League and became the first club to score more than 100-points in a season.

    Inside Borussia Dortmund (Amazon Prime)

    In 2018-19, Borussia Dortmund allowed Amazon Prime record their attempt to beat Bayern Munich to the Bundesliga title.

    This is a 4-part mini-series that digs into the inner workings at BVB.

    I.D. (Amazon Prime)

    A classic football hooligan movie from the 1990s where undercover cops try to foil a gang at the fictitious Shadwell Town football club.

    There’s Only One Barry Fry (YouTube)

    Another classic from the football archives following a troubled 1996-97 season for enigmatic manager Barry Fry at Peterborough United.

    Chester City: An American Dream (YouTube)

    If you’re loving the dated football documentaries, then this is one not to miss.

    Watch the craziness unfold as American Terry Smith went from working in the NFL to trying his hand at running Chester City.

    One of his great ideas: to appoint three captains!

    The Damned United (Amazon Prime)

    Starring Michael Sheen, the film takes place during Brian Clough’s ill-fated managerial spell at Leeds United which lasted for just 44 days.

    Based on the book (a real masterpiece by David Peace).

    Kaiser! The greatest footballer never to play football (Amazon Prime)

    Meet the Brazilian fraud footballer who managed to enjoy a 26-year career without ever playing a game.

    First Team: Juventus (Netflix)

    Behind the scenes of Juventus’ 2017-18 Scudetto campaign. A 6-part mini-series.

    Don’t Take Me Home (Amazon Prime)

    After decades of disappointment, Welsh football fans had the ride of their life in 2016.

    Relive how Wales reached the semi-finals of the Euros, and the impact it had on the country.

    Take Us Home: Leeds United (Amazon Prime)

    What’s it really like to work under Marcelo Bielsa? In 2018-19, Leeds United allowed Amazon exclusive access.

    The cameras were rolling during Spygate, Bielsa’s Powerpoint presentation and the playoffs.

    Class of ‘92 (Amazon Prime)

    One of the undisputed all-time great football documentaries.

    The likes of David Beckham, Gary Neville, Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs tell their stories from Sir Alex Ferguson’s greatest ever team.

    Fever Pitch (Amazon Prime)

    A must-watch for all Arsenal fans who want to remember the glory days when they used to win trophies.

    Based on Nick Hornby’s fantastic book, that remains one of the finest football tomes of all time.

    An Impossible Job (YouTube)

    Back in 1993, the England national team were terrible. However, manager Graham Taylor thought it was a good idea to allow TV cameras exclusive access. It wasn’t.

    Bobby Robson: More Than a Manager (Netflix)

    Bobby Robson was not only one of the nicest men in football, he was also a brilliant manager.

    Testimonials from Pep Guardiola, Jose Mourinho and many more revealing the secrets to Robson’s success on the touchline.

    Escape to Victory (Amazon Prime)

    Another classic football movie from the early 1990s. Sly Stallone teams up with Michael Caine, Ossie Ardiles and Pele to break out of a Nazi camp by playing the Beautiful Game.

    Ronaldo (Netflix)

    Filmed during his Real Madrid days, this documentary gave an insight into Cristiano Ronaldo’s life both on and off the field.

    The English Game (Netflix)

    This six-part series was released on March 20, 2020 and will surely benefit from the lack of current football to watch.

    Whilst not only a drama about football in the late 1800s, it raises plenty of important lessons that remain relevant today in the modern game.

    Meet Arthur Kinnaird and Fergus Suter – two of the early English stars of their day, representing how society was split between the haves and have-nots.

    Written by Julian Fellowes, the writer of Downton Abbey, this is a drama that isn’t just for fans of football.

    Le K Benzema (Netflix)

    Karim Benzema is a controversial figure.

    One of Real Madrid’s greatest ever goalscorers, Benzema has been frozen out of the French national team for controversial off-field reason.

    In this documentary, Benzema opens up.


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