United States president Donald Trump is unsure when sport can resume in the country, but hopes it is "sooner rather than later".

With the coronavirus pandemic having brought sport to a standstill around the world, Trump spoke with leaders of the USA's leagues and organisations via a call on Saturday.

The NBA, NHL, MLS, PGA Tour and NASCAR seasons were among those suspended, while the start of the MLB campaign was pushed back and there are concerns over the NFL.

Trump hopes to see sport resume shortly, telling a media conference: "I want fans back in the arenas.

"Whenever we're ready, as soon as we can obviously and the fans want to be back too, they want to see basketball and baseball and football and hockey, they want to see their sports.

"They want to go out onto the golf courses and breathe nice, clean, beautiful fresh air."

Asked about a possible resumption, Trump said: "I can't tell you a date.

"But I think it's going to be sooner rather than later. We're not going to have to have separation for the rest of our times on the planet.

"We need it for this period of time, but eventually people are going to be able to occupy those seats in arenas next to each other, like we have for all of my life and all of your life."

More than 64,000 people have died from coronavirus worldwide, with the death toll in the USA exceeding 8,400.

Donald Trump is planning to attend what he predicts will be a "fantastic" Tokyo Olympics, despite the delay caused by the coronavirus outbreak.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) confirmed on Tuesday that the Games, scheduled to start on July 24, would not go ahead as planned due to the global COVID-19 pandemic.

The decision was made following discussions between IOC president Thomas Bach, Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe and organisers, though a new date is yet to be announced.

A special task force has been set up to work out the best time to stage the Olympics, though they will be no later than the summer of 2021.

Whenever the Games do take place, United States President Trump – who praised the postponement decision – intends to be there to witness the occasion for himself.

"I think it's going to be a fantastic Olympics, 2021," Trump said during his media briefing on Wednesday.

"I think it's going to be a fantastic Olympics, it was the absolute right decision to delay it for a full year and now have a full, beautiful Olympics.

"It's going to be very important because it's probably the first time maybe ever or certainly in a long time that it was on an odd year, it's always on an even year they tell me, but he's going to have a fantastic success and now they'll have even more time, he didn't need any more time, everything was perfectly ready, what a job they've done.

"I want to congratulate Japan, the IOC and prime minister Abe on a great decision.

"I think it's going to be a fantastic Olympics, I told him I'll be there, I'll be there."

Bach has said "all the options are on the table" when it comes to a new date for the first Olympics to not go ahead as scheduled since the Second World War.

"This is like a huge jigsaw puzzle and every piece has to fit," he said during a conference call. "You take out one piece, the whole puzzle is destroyed.

"Everything has to come together and everything is important. This is why I really do not envy the members of this taskforce in their work."

The Brooklyn Nets defended testing players for coronavirus following backlash, while United States president Donald Trump addressed concerns that professional athletes and well-connected people are receiving priority amid the pandemic.

NBA franchise the Nets were heavily criticised on Tuesday after announcing four players – including injured superstar Kevin Durant – contracted COVID-19.

New York City mayor Bill de Blasio took aim at the Nets, insisting "tests should not be for the wealthy, but for the sick" as the world struggles to contain the virus, which has claimed more than 8,900 lives globally.

The Nets responded to the criticism on Wednesday, with their statement reading: "As we learned NBA players on other teams had tested positive for COVID-19, we noticed that several of our players and staff had symptoms.

"Based on this information, and the judgment that all of our players are subject to high exposure due to the close physical nature of basketball, the communal nature of teams and the possibility of an accelerated spread from team to team, our medical experts advised that our players get tested.

"We sourced the tests through a private company and paid for them ourselves because we did not want to impact access to CDC's public resources. Using the test results, we were able to take immediate precautions and strictly isolate the players who tested positive.

"If we had waited for players to exhibit symptoms, they might have continued to pose a risk to their family, friends and the public. Our hope is that by drawing attention to the critical need for testing asymptomatic positive carriers, we can begin to contain the spread and save lives. We believe it is not only the right thing to do for our players and their families, it is the responsible thing to do from a medical and epidemiological standpoint."

US leader Trump was also asked about the issue during his news conference midweek.

Quizzed on whether "the well-connected go to the front of the line" for coronavirus testing, Trump replied: "No, I wouldn't say so. But perhaps that's the story of life. That does happen on occasion, and I've noticed where people have been tested fairly quickly."

The NBA has been on hiatus since Utah Jazz pair Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell tested positive for COVID-19.

The Jazz were scheduled to face the Oklahoma City Thunder before it was postponed on March 11, prompting the suspension of the league.

Oklahoma City, on Wednesday, announced that all players and staffers returned negative results for COVID-19.

"Recognising the stress on the state of Oklahoma's medical system, the Thunder did not use state resources and chose an alternative path for testing of its personnel," the Thunder said in a statement.

Japan are planning for a "complete" Olympics in front of spectators in July, according to the country's Olympic minister.

Prime minister Shinzo Abe stated on Saturday that the plan remains to stage the Games as intended in July, despite some calls for a postponement, including from United States president Donald Trump.

The International Olympic Commitee (IOC) is due to meet on Tuesday to discuss the Olympics and the qualifying events that have had schedules badly affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

Speaking at a news conference, Olympic minister Seiko Hashimoto echoed Abe's confidence that the Tokyo Games would be going ahead.

When asked whether the intention is to stage a "complete" Olympics, with fans present and abiding by the schedule, she replied: "That's correct. That's what we are aiming for.

"We will do our utmost to prepare as scheduled so that the International Olympic Committee will be convinced we are capable of hosting the games."

Japan has had 847 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 28 deaths.

Japan are still planning for the Olympic Games to go ahead as planned in July, the country's prime minister Shinzo Abe has said.

Amid the coronavirus pandemic, the world sporting calendar has seen a host of postponements and cancellations for the upcoming weeks.

Japan has had over 1,400 cases of COVID-19 and 28 deaths but Abe is not yet calling a state of emergency after discussions with experts.

The country will continue to work closely with the International Olympic Committee (IOC), which will have the final say on whether Tokyo 2020 – which is due to start on July 24 – goes ahead.

"We will overcome the spread of the infection and host the Olympics without problem, as planned," said Abe, who added he had not discussed the prospect of postponing the Games in a call with Donald Trump after the United States president publicly suggested a one-year delay.

"We will continue to closely cooperate with IOC and of course IOC is working closely with WHO (the World Health Organization).

"At present, I assess the situation as there is no need to declare a state of emergency.

"The experts evaluated the current situation. [The outbreak] is holding up to a certain extent and has not progressed to an explosive rise of infection spread.

"I would like to take necessary and sufficient economic and financial policies without delay, while carefully monitoring trends in the global economy and anticipating various possibilities."

Tokyo governor Yuriko Koike insisted precautions are being taken ahead of the Japan section of the Olympic Torch relay.

Parts of the route in Greece were suspended to prevent crowds gathering while other sections in ancient Olympia went ahead without any spectators.

"We are taking thorough infection measures with regards to the torch relay domestically," she said.

Donald Trump believes the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo should be postponed for a year if the alternative is events taking place behind closed doors.

Major events across the sporting world have been taking action over recent days in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Measures have included major events taking place behind closed doors – something US President Trump does not want to see happen to the Olympics.

"Maybe they postpone it for a year. Maybe they do that, if that's possible. Maybe that's not possible," he told reporters.

"I guess it's never happened with the Olympics, although I think there was interruptions for wars.

"I would say maybe they postpone it for a year.

"I like that better than I like having empty stadiums all over the place. I think if you cancel it, make it a year later, that's a better alternative than doing it with no crowd."

International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach insists his organisation remain committed to running Tokyo 2020 as planned.

Speaking at the ceremonial lighting of the Olympic torch in ancient Olympia – an event that took place without spectators as a safety measure in Greece – Bach said:  "What makes us so committed, and where we are encouraged, are the measures being taken by so many governments and authorities around the world to contain the virus, 19 weeks before the Games.

"We are in sport, we are fully committed and I am really encouraging the athletes to go ahead with their preparations and qualifications with full steam.

"Then we will all welcome them to Tokyo to a great Olympic Games."

World heavyweight champion Tyson Fury should accept Donald Trump's invitation to the White House then retire from boxing, his dad John has said.

A seventh-round stoppage of Deontay Wilder in Las Vegas on Saturday ensured Fury won the WBC belt and became a world heavyweight champion for the second time in his career.

The 31-year-old previously beat Wladimir Klitschko in November 2015 but vacated the IBF, WBA and WBO titles while he fought depression and drug addiction.

He made his return to the ring in June 2018, shedding more than seven stone in six months, and completed his remarkable turnaround by beating Wilder two and a half years later.

"I just want my son to retire now," John Fury told Good Morning Britain.

"He's done enough. It's been an uphill battle for him.

"I think it's in the back of his mind. He can't do any more. He's won every professional title. Enough is enough. There's more to life now. He's given it his all.

"He's got no more to prove."

Fury has previously said he would "seriously think about walking away" once his current three-fight deal expires.

There are two fights remaining on that contract and one of those would be a third bout against Wilder if the American exercises a rematch clause to fight Fury again.

Saturday's second fight captured the attention of US President Trump, who suggested to reporters he would invite both men to the White House.

"That was a great fight," Trump said.

"Two great fighters, really very exciting. Maybe we have to bring them both to the White House because that was really a good one.

"In fact, I think we'll do that."

Some sports stars have swerved invitations to the White House since Trump assumed office yet Fury Senior encouraged his son to go.

"That's good for a Fury, isn't it," he said of Trump's offer.

"I'm a big fan of Donald Trump. It's been an amazing journey, look where it's ended.

"And what a great point to bow out on - a meeting in the White House."

United States president Donald Trump welcomed MLB World Series champions the Washington Nationals to the White House.

The Nationals' celebrations continued on Monday as Washington took to the White House steps with Trump in DC.

Washington claimed their first World Series in franchise history after topping the Houston Astros in seven games and Nationals star Ryan Zimmerman presented Trump with his own jersey.

"America fell in love with Nats baseball. That's all they wanted to talk about," Trump said amid an impeachment inquiry. "That and impeachment. I like Nats baseball much more."

"For the first time in nearly 100 years, our nation's capital is celebrating a World Series victory," Trump said. "The last time Washington, DC, was home to the World Series champs the president was a man named Calvin Coolidge."

Nationals reliever Sean Doolittle did not attend the ceremony, while Anthony Rendon, Victor Robles, Michael Taylor, Joe Ross, Javy Guerra and Wander Suero were also absent.

Zimmerman praised Trump by saying: "What an unbelievable honour to be here. This is an incredible honour that I think all of us will never forget.

"We'd also like to thank you for keeping everyone here safe in our country, and continuing to make America the greatest country to live in the world."

Trump also embraced Nationals catcher Kurt Suzuki, who donned a "Make America Great Again" hat.

"I love him! Awww," Trump said before adding, "I didn't know that was going to happen."

 

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