Reports in the UK this week suggested there is growing support to void the current Premier League season amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Additionally, UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin admitted the 2019-20 campaign might have to be scrubbed from the records, after Euro 2020 was moved back 12 months.

Although the likes of runaway Premier League leaders Liverpool would understandably despair at such a prospect, there are other clubs enjoying seasons to forget who might enjoy the escape clause.

With that in mind, we took a look back at the teams and individuals who might like to expunge an ignominious season or period of time from history.

 

MANCHESTER UNITED 2013-14

The seven years since Alex Ferguson's retirement have not exactly gone swimmingly for United, but that ill-fated first season remains the real low point. 

David Moyes lasted just 10 months as Ferguson's replacement as the reigning Premier League champions finished seventh in 2013-14, suffering truly humiliating defeats to top two Manchester City and Liverpool along the way. A wretched 2-0 loss at Moyes' former club Everton proved the final straw.

At least they won the Community Shield in August 2013. 

NOVAK DJOKOVIC 2017

When Novak Djokovic defeated familiar foe Andy Murray to win the 2016 French Open, the modern-day legend was in possession of all of tennis' grand slams. The question was, who can stop this man? Well, the answer was actually himself.

A round-three exit at Wimbledon followed a month later and, although he reached the US Open final that year, a barren 2017 followed. Djokovic did not go beyond the quarters at any slam that year and reached just one final at the Italian Open, which he lost. Djokovic rediscovered the winning habit in slams at Wimbledon in 2018, beginning a run of five triumphs in the past seven at tennis' big events.

DETROIT LIONS – 2008

The Lions secured an unwanted place in history when they became the first NFL team in the 16-game season era to go 0-16. They went 7-9 in 2007 and were then undefeated in preaseason, meaning few would have thought a historically bad campaign was on the cards.

Detroit started three QBs over the course of the campaign - Jon Kitna, Dan Orlovsky and Daunte Culpepper - all of whom struggled with form and injuries despite the presence of star receiver Calvin Johnson, but worst of all was their woeful defense, which gave up 517 points.

Team president and CEO Matt Millen was fired after four weeks, while head coach Rod Marinelli was shown the door at the end of the season and has not led a team since.

TIGER WOODS - 2014-2017

Tiger Woods' standing as one the greatest, if not the greatest, golfer of all time is in no doubt. By the end of 2013, Woods was standing again atop the world rankings after winning five times during the year, earning the prestigious PGA Tour Player of the Year award. 

It would take five years for Woods to win again as the American great endured a horrendous time with debilitating back injuries and loss of form. At one stage it looked as though he may have to retire and his world ranking had plummeted to a scarcely credible 1,199th in December 2017. But just a year ago Woods was back in major-winning form as, at the age of 43, he became Masters champion for a fifth time.

BARCELONA 2002-03

Years of drift since the 1999 LaLiga title came to a head in 2002-03, as Barcelona endured a miserable season that saw Louis van Gaal sacked as coach and led to the departure of president Joan Gaspart. 

Barca ended up sixth in the league – their worst finish in 15 years – as the Real Madrid Galacticos ruled. They also exited the Copa del Rey in the first round and lost in the Champions League quarter-finals. 

After that season, in came Joan Laporta as president, Frank Rijkaard as head coach, and a certain Brazilian called Ronaldinho. And things got a bit better. 

ENGLAND – 2013-14 ASHES

England made it three Ashes victories in a row with a 3-0 home triumph in 2013 – the first time they had enjoyed such a run of success against old enemies Australia since 1977-1981. However, a rejig of the international cricketing schedule meant a swift return Down Under. The Mitchell Johnson-inspired hosts exacted brutal vengeance on their way to a 5-0 whitewash as a great England team fell to pieces.

Off-spinner Graeme Swann retired mid-series and Kevin Pietersen's tempestuous exit from the international stage was set in motion, while Andy Flower – the head coach he despised – stepped down. Of the XI that started the concluding 281-run loss in Sydney, Pietersen, Michael Carberry and debutants Scott Borthwick and Boyd Rankin would never play red ball cricket for England again.

REAL MADRID 2008-09

In Spanish football's great rivalry, Real Madrid or Barcelona doing well is only half the deal. Success is truly sweet if the other half of El Clasico's enduring grudge are having a tough time. Madrid won LaLiga in 2007-08, with Barca a distant fourth as the Rijkaard-Ronaldinho era disintegrated under the weight of its own excess.

However, the tables flipped spectacularly next time around – Barca stormed to an unprecedented treble under rookie coach Pep Guardiola, Lionel Messi leaped from exceptional talent to generational superstar as Madrid were walloped 6-2 by their sworn foes at the Santiago Bernabeu and a dynasty was born.

Madrid finished a distant second, were thrashed 5-0 on aggregate by Liverpool in the Champions League last-16 and coach Juande Ramos followed predecessor Bernd Schuster out of the exit door.

PAULA RADCLIFFE – 2004 OLYMPICS

After setting a new world record in London in 2003 and having won the 2004 race in New York, Radcliffe was favourite for marathon gold at the 2004 Olympics. 

However, after struggling badly to continue, Radcliffe withdrew 23 miles in and was taken for a medical check-up. She later competed in the 10,000 metres but again retired.  In a tearful appearance on British TV, Radcliffe refused to blame the heat and humidity in Athens and admitted she was "desperately trying to find a reason for what happened". 

A year later, she was back winning and breaking the world record at the London marathon - despite a brief toilet break by the side of the road - before taking gold at the World Championships in Helsinki.

GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS 2019-2020

After a fifth straight NBA Finals appearance in 2019, things went rapidly downhill for the Golden State Warriors. All-Star duo Kevin Durant and DeMarcus Cousins left in free agency, while 'Splash Brothers' Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson have been out injured – the latter is yet to play this season. 

The Warriors sit bottom of the Western Conference and have the worst overall record in the NBA at 15-50. An improved chance of getting the first pick in the 2020 draft is their only solace.

MANNY PACQUIAO 2012

After losing to Erik Morales in 2005, Manny Pacquiao went on sensational 15-fight winning streak that established him as an unprecedented seven-division world champion. The Morales loss was twice avenged via stoppage, with the likes of Oscar De La Hoya, Ricky Hatton and Miguel Cotto similarly dispatched. A mega-fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr awaited, only for the wheels to fall off in 2012.

Timothy Bradley halted Pacquiao's streak when he was – somewhat farcically – awarded a split-decision verdict over the Filipino great. Juan Manuel Marquez knew all about scorecard controversy from his previous three meetings with Pacquiao and duly took them out of the equation, chillingly leaving his rival face down and motionless on the Las Vegas canvas that December. The Mayweather bout had to wait until 2015, but that is one of only two losses suffered since by Pacquiao, who reigns as WBA welterweight champion at 41.

CHELSEA 2015-16

Chelsea won the Premier League title in 2014-15 and 2016-17. What came in between was nothing short of a complete shambles. Jose Mourinho had returned for a second spell in charge and collected a third winners' medal in England's top flight but the Portuguese's famously abrasive tendencies then appeared to wear his players down at an alarming rate.

Beginning with the 2-2 draw against Swansea City that ignited Mourinho's sapping spat with club doctor Eva Carneiro, Chelsea won only one of their opening five Premier League fixtures. That form was far from a blip and they were 16th when Mourinho was sacked in the wake of a 2-1 December loss to would-be champions Leicester City. Caretaker boss Guus Hiddink restored a modicum of respectability with a 10th-place finish before Antonio Conte arrived and the Stamford Bridge faithful were soon wondering if it had all just been a bad dream.

SERENA WILLIAMS 2006

Williams started the year by losing her Australian Open crown with a third-round exit to Daniele Hantuchova, before injuries forced her to miss tournaments in Tokyo and Dubai. Come April, she had dropped out of the WTA top 100 for the first time since November 1997, and it came as little surprise that she competed at neither the French Open nor Wimbledon. 

After a fourth-round exit at the US Open, Williams ended a title-less year 95th in the world. It meant she returned to the Australian Open in January 2007 as an unseeded player. She won it. 

Charles Barkley established himself as an NBA legend with the Philadelphia 76ers and on this day 19 years ago the team paid tribute to him.

On March 30, 2001, the 11-time NBA All-Star became the seventh 76ers player to have their jersey number retired.

And Barkley is not the only sporting superstar to have made his mark on this date.

Let's take a look back...

 

2001 – Barkley's 34 retired by 76ers

Barkley wore the number 34 with distinction during his eight seasons with the 76ers.

Named MVP in 1993, Barkley was honoured by Philadelphia during half-time of the team's game with the Golden State Warriors.

"My years in Philadelphia were very special to me," Barkley said. "Now, to have my jersey retired, hung next to some of the greatest players of all time ... I consider this an incredible honour."

2001 – Teen sensation Phelps sets world record

Michael Phelps' phenomenal talent was evident from an early age.

At 15, he became the youngest man to set a world record as he clocked one minute and 54.92 seconds in the 200m butterfly in Austin, Texas.

Phelps became the most decorated Olympian of all time following his retirement after the Rio Games, winning a remarkable 23 gold medals among a total tally of 28.

1954 – Garry Sobers makes his Test debut

Garry Sobers was another teenager whose potential was clear from the outset.

At 17 and listed at nine in the batting order, he made his Test debut for West Indies against England in Jamaica on this day way back in 1954.

Sobers is regarded as the finest all-rounder in the history of cricket, having averaged 57.78 with the bat and 34.03 with the ball in 93 Test appearances.

Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart revealed he had been cleared of coronavirus after testing positive earlier this month.

Smart received his positive test for COVID-19 on March 20, but announced good news on Sunday.

The 26-year-old wrote on Twitter: "Corona free as of two days ago. Cleared by Mass [Massachusetts] Dept of Health.

"Thanks for everyone's thoughts and prayers and I'm doing the same for everyone that's been affected by this.

"Stay safe and stay together – apart! Much love!"

There have been more than 722,000 cases of coronavirus worldwide, leading to over 33,900 deaths.

The United States have reported the most cases of any country – more than 142,000 – with over 2,400 deaths.

New York Knicks owner James Dolan has tested positive for coronavirus, the NBA team announced on Saturday.

Dolan, the 64-year-old who also owners the New York Rangers, is "experiencing little to no symptoms".

In a statement, the Knicks said: "The Madison Square Garden Company executive chairman and chief executive officer Jim Dolan has tested positive for coronavirus.

"He has been in self-isolation and is experiencing little to no symptoms.

"He continues to oversee business operations."

There have been more than 660,000 coronavirus cases worldwide, including over 30,800 deaths.

It has brought sport to a standstill, with the NBA and NHL seasons suspended earlier this month.

Rudy Gobert, Donovan Mitchell and the rest of Utah Jazz's team and staff have been cleared after self-isolating due to coronavirus.

The NBA suspended the league on March 11 after a Jazz player tested positive for COVID-19 moments before Utah were due to face the Oklahoma City Thunder.

All-Stars Gobert and Mitchell both subsequently confirmed they had coronavirus, with all Jazz players in either quarantine or isolation since the Thunder game was scrapped.

Now, having served the recommended 14-day period of isolation, all players and staff have been cleared by the Utah Department of Health as they are no longer considered at risk of passing the virus on.

A statement from the Jazz read: "Fourteen days after being tested for COVID-19, all Utah Jazz players and staff have completed their respective periods of isolation and quarantine and have been cleared by the Utah Department of Health [UDOH].

"The UDOH has determined that all Jazz players and staff, including Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert who tested positive for the novel coronavirus, no longer pose a risk of infection to others."

The Jazz added that players would continue to observe social-distancing and only leave their homes for necessary trips.

Shortly after his team's statement, guard Mitchell posted a gif of a child dancing on a chair.

Earlier this week Gobert, who has donated more than $500,000 to part-time employees of the Jazz and coronavirus-related services, said a loss of smell and taste were two of the symptoms he had suffered from.

The NBA season reminds suspended indefinitely, with the United States having nearly 100,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19, more than any other country.

Scotland rugby union fans have been starved of success in recent times but March 27 is a date when they can always raise a glass to a moment of history.

Way back in 1871, Scotland beat neighbours England in the first ever international in Edinburgh.

It was also a memorable day in the NBA, with a record crowd in attendance as Michael Jordan starred at Georgia Dome in 1998.

Here, we take a look back at the some of the most notable sporting moments that occurred on this date down the years.

1871 - Buchanan and Scotland make history

A crowd of 4,000 flocked to Raeburn Place in Edinburgh to watch history be made.

It was the hosts who came out on top, scoring two tries and a goal to England's solitary try – with Scotland's Angus Buchanan the first man to touch down over the whitewash at international level.

There were two halves of 50 minutes apiece, with 20 players on each side and the contest decided by goals scored.

1998 – Bulls clip the Hawks' wings in front of record crowd 

Twenty-two years ago, 62,046 spectators watched on at the Georgia Dome as the Atlanta Hawks took on the Chicago Bulls.

It remains the largest crowd at any game in NBA history, having surpassed the record of 61,983 set at Detroit Pistons v Boston Celtics in 1988.

Inspired by NBA icon Jordan, the Bulls downed their hosts 89-74.

2007 – Video replays introduced to help NFL officials

On March 27, 2007, NFL owners voted to utilise video replays as a tool to assist officials – the vote passed with 30 owners in favour of the move.

Cincinnati Bengals and the Arizona Cardinals did not agree to the use of replays, with each team paying up to $300,000 to have the necessary equipment fitted at their stadiums.

"It's a long time coming," said then-Atlanta Falcons general manager Rich McKay. "It made sense to us this year to do it. Instant replay is an accepted part of the game. It's what we are. There was not really much discussion about it."

In the same meeting, a proposal to allow a second interviewing window for assistant coaches on Super Bowl teams was approved, though it was decided defenses would not be allowed to use a coach-to-player communication device.

LeBron James said there is no excitement or joy without fans as the Los Angeles Lakers superstar discussed the challenges facing the NBA amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The NBA, like many sports around the world, has been postponed due to the COVID-19 crisis, which has killed almost 24,000 people globally.

It remains to be seen when and if the 2019-20 season will resume, with commissioner Adam Silver unwilling to provide a return date for the league.

If the campaign relaunches, the prospect of games behind closed doors is likely, something three-time NBA champion James is not looking forward to.

"What is the word 'sport' without 'fan'?" James said on the Road Trippin' Podcast. "There's no excitement. There's no crying. There's no joy. There's no back-and-forth.

"That's what also brings out the competitive side of the players, to know that you're going on the road in a hostile environment and yes, you're playing against that opponent in front of you, but you really want to kick the fans' ass too.

"So to get back on the floor, I would love it. I'm not going to sit here and say nothing. Like, if it's get out there and get back on the floor five-on-five ... but like, we can do that in scrimmages.

"Let's just go to each other's practice facility, put out a camera, just scrimmage and livestream it. ... I just don't know how we can imagine a sporting event without fans. It's just, it's a weird dynamic."

There has been talk of the NBA heading straight into the playoffs if the season resumes but James, whose Lakers were top of the Western Conference with a 49-14 record prior to the postponement, said: "One thing you can't just do is go straight to the playoffs. Because it discredits the 60-plus games that guys had fighting for that position."

After a difficult first season in Los Angeles, James had returned to his brilliant best for the Lakers – the 35-year-old's performances catapulting him into the mix for a fifth MVP award.

At the time of the NBA suspending the league on March 11, James had been averaging 25.7 points, 10.6 assists and 7.9 rebounds per game.

As such, he is disappointed to lose the rhythm of impressive form he felt was building nicely towards the postseason.

James added: "When you've been building six months of conditioning and preparation and then [it's gone], the narrative that I don't like [is], 'Well, now guys get so much rest' or, like, 'LeBron, he's 35, he's got so many minutes on his body, now he gets so much rest'.

"It's actually the opposite for me because my body, when we stopped playing, was asking me, like, 'What the hell are you doing?'

"My body was like, 'Hey man, what the hell is going on? It's March 13th, you're getting ready for the playoffs, why are you shutting down right now?' And I was right there turning the corner, like, I felt like I was rounding third base, getting ready for the postseason. So the rest factor, I think it's a little bit [overblown]. Especially when you're in the full swing of things."

It is 48 years to the day since the Los Angeles Lakers set a new NBA benchmark with 69 regular-season wins.

Bill Sharman's Lakers routed the Seattle Supersonics to end the year with a 69-13 record and the best win percentage (.841) posted by a team.

The stunning Los Angeles season bettered the Philadelphia 76ers' mark from five years earlier, although the Chicago Bulls and then the Golden State Warriors have since set the standard.

The Warriors' record will stand for at least another year, too, with the 53-12 Milwaukee Bucks faltering following Giannis Antetokounmpo's injury.

With the campaign now paused amid the coronavirus pandemic, we take a look at the teams and seasons that led the way.
 

PHILADELPHIA 76ERS: 1966-67 - 68-13 (.840)

Since the Washington Capitols ended the first 60-game NBA season with a 49-11 record in 1946-47, no team had been able to post a regular-season win percentage of .800 or above - until the Sixers.

Philadelphia dominated from start to finish in 1966-67, led by MVP Wilt Chamberlain. The campaign was the first and only to include 81 games, adding another to make the existing 82-game schedule the following year, and the Sixers finished eight games clear of a strong Boston Celtics outfit in the East.

Chamberlain was the only Philly player to make the All-NBA First Team, but the Sixers' depth made them one of the greats, and they ended the year as champions with an NBA Finals success against the San Francisco Warriors.

LOS ANGELES LAKERS: 1971-72 - 69-13 (.841)

With an extra game to play with, it did not take the Lakers too long to edge past the Sixers. And Chamberlain was again the star.

After leaving the Sixers in 1968, Chamberlain was outstanding once again in his penultimate season in the league, while Jerry West - whose silhouette graced a new NBA logo that remains to this day - also impressed.

Chamberlain refused to compare LA to his Philadelphia team after breaking the record, but they ultimately matched the Sixers by claiming the championship, with the veteran the Finals MVP against the New York Knicks.

CHICAGO BULLS: 1995-96 - 72-10 (.878)

It took 24 years and arguably the greatest player in the history of the sport to break the Lakers' record. Michael Jordan lifted the Bulls to the first ever 70-win season in 1995-96.

Playing his first full season back following his initial retirement, there was still no stopping Jordan as he kickstarted the Bulls' second run of three straight championships.

The guard was the MVP, the league's leading scorer and then the Finals MVP, while Chicago finished 12 games clear of the Orlando Magic.

They only lost three more games in the playoffs, too, sweeping the Magic in the Eastern Conference Finals before beating the Seattle Supersonics to take the title.

GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS: 2015-16 - 73-9 (.890)

Only two teams have ever broken the 70-win barrier, but the second, the Warriors, remarkably could not follow up their regular-season success with the title.

Golden State won three championships over a four-year stretch but could not get the job done against LeBron James' Cleveland Cavaliers in the Finals in 2016.

The Warriors' stunning regular-season efforts overshadowed an impressive 67-win San Antonio Spurs campaign, with Stephen Curry the MVP and top scorer, but the NBA's outstanding team went down to the Cavs in Game Seven.

Athletes are at risk of having their careers cut short if soon-to-be free agents face a prolonged period of unemployment due to the coronavirus pandemic, warned World Players Association executive director Brendan Schwab.

COVID-19 has brought sport to a standstill across the globe, with the 2020 Olympic Games, major European football leagues, the NBA, MLB and NHL postponed.

Euro 2020 and Copa America 2020 have been pushed back to next year amid the fight to combat the spread of the virus, which has claimed more than 21,290 lives.

It remains to be seen when and if the 2019-20 Premier League, LaLiga, Serie A, Bundesliga and Ligue 1 seasons will resume, raising doubts over the futures of football players – whose contracts are due to expire in June.

The likes of Edinson Cavani and Thiago Silva (both Paris Saint-Germain), Willian (Chelsea) and Dries Mertens (Napoli) are all set to become free agents.

As clubs and organisations try to reduce costs amid the economic crisis, Schwab – who works for World Players, which brings together 85,000 players across professional sports through more than 100 player associations in over 60 countries – told Stats Perform: "The challenge is to ensure enough liquidity during the shutdown so that the same content can be delivered to fans, broadcasters and brands but over a longer period.

"Existing contracts and regulations such as contract expiry dates and transfer windows will all need to be reformulated which can only be done though collective decision-making involving governments, sports bodies, broadcasters, stadia operators, player unions and civil society. The impact on the sporting schedule will be long-lasting and may take several years to return to normal.

"Seasons just starting – such as MLB, AFL and NRL – have a longer struggle in many ways. Shortened seasons are likely, but it all depends on the length of the shutdown, liquidity and the window available to complete seasons. Sports which own their own infrastructure will have greater flexibility and will be in a stronger position to design solutions.

"The key is collective decision-making, goodwill and long-term thinking, all of which can be difficult during such uncertainty. Many key sports governing, commercial and player contracts have 'force majeure' clauses which may apply in these circumstances. Certain parties may be able to 'cut and run', but that will only worsen the bleeding and make recovery more difficult. We need to bunker down, show we care about our people, fight the pandemic, exercise restraint, save as many jobs and legitimate commercial interests as we can, and re-emerge with a renewed, sustainable and collectively developed economic model.

"Tuesday was the anniversary of the death of arguably football’s most influential figure, Johan Cruyff. He famously said that there is advantage in every disadvantage. That thinking is needed right now."

Schwab added: "Individual players will be impacted differently. The destiny of free agents will depend much on the state of the leagues once the shutdown has been lifted. There is a risk that players coming off contract will face a prolonged period of unemployment if the shutdown continues, which can be career ending.

"The top players should be OK during this period, but remember they are a fraction of players and athletes who work professionally. It is likely that the economic impact of the shutdown will result in a deflated labour market for some time, which will suppress wages even among the viable leagues. For leagues outside the very top echelon, it may be a battle for survival.

"However, sport's essential role in society will be unchanged and may even be renewed and elevated. It will have a critical role to play as the community reunites after the pandemic and we expect a major resurgence in demand. Sport is therefore an important part of government planning, and it is pleasing to see that progressive governments in Switzerland, Sweden and some other countries have included sport in the stimulus packages they are announcing. They will reap a community dividend for doing so even as they balance the essential interests of the broader society and economy."

"[Next year] an intense year for sport as current seasons will now run well into the northern summer and that will require a readjusted schedule in 2021," the Australian executive continued. "The postponement of the Olympics may allow for existing concerns to be addressed including the health and safety impacts of the extreme heat of July-August in Tokyo. These issues all need to be worked through. We shouldn't assume the Olympics are simply put back 12 months. We are consulting with our affiliates about how to approach the shaping of the 2021 sports calendar."

Coronavirus has largely affected the elderly and people with pre-existing conditions, but Schwab said: "We have been concerned with some of the heath information being conveyed, including that COVID-19 is a disease that mainly affects the elderly and the vulnerable. Athletes, too, are vulnerable, despite being young and fit. The disease attacks the lungs, and athletes themselves have suffered very severe symptoms which may be long-lasting. There have been fatalities among people between 20 and 44 and young people can transmit the virus even if they don't have symptoms.

"Players have also been forced into quarantine when living away from their families. It is necessary that effective support mechanisms are in place to ensure the mental health and social wellbeing of players as well as their physical health. Our player unions play an essential role here."

The Los Angeles Lakers and Megan Schutt will look back fondly on their previous achievements on March 26 - but Ken Norton will not be circling the date in his calendar.

A star-studded Lakers team achieved a memorable NBA feat 48 years ago, while Schutt made Australian cricket history in 2018.

However, for Norton, this day will bring back painful memories of a chastening defeat to heavyweight rival George Foreman.

Take a look back at the some of the most notable sporting moments that occurred on this down the years.

 

1972 - Lakers set the benchmark

Led by head coach Bill Sharman and with a roster including Elgin Baylor, Wilt Chamberlain and Jerry West, the Lakers set an NBA benchmark by defeating Seattle.

The 124-98 triumph saw the Lakers finish the regular season with a 69-13 record, at the time giving them the best win percentage (.841) posted by a team.

Their record stood for 24 years until Michael Jordan's Chicago Bulls posted a 72-10 campaign, while the Golden State Warriors went even better with a 73-9 mark in 2015-16.

1974 - Foreman keeps streak going

Norton was known for being a tough nut to crack. The heavyweight had two titanic battles against Muhammad Ali in 1973, the legendary pair recording a win apiece.

However, Foreman wasted little time in dealing with Norton the following year, the WBA and WBC champion retaining his titles in Caracas, Venezuela, with a stunning second-round stoppage.

It was a 37th knockout win for Foreman, improving his record to 40-0. The winning run ended later in 1974, though, as he was famously beaten by Ali in 'The Rumble in the Jungle'.

2018 - Schutt locks down India

Schutt became the first Australian woman to take a Twenty20 hat-trick at international level, in the process helping secure victory over India in Mumbai.

The seam bowler had conceded 10 runs from four deliveries before finishing her first over with the wickets of opening duo Smriti Mandhana and Mithali Raj.

However, Schutt was forced to wait to complete her treble, returning to the attack later in the innings at the opposite end to get Deepti Sharma caught in the deep. Australia, who had made 186-5 earlier in the game, triumphed by 36 runs.

Minnesota Timberwolves star Karl-Anthony Towns has revealed his mother is in a medically induced coma after contracting the coronavirus.

Towns said in an emotional video posted on Instagram that he discovered last week that both of his parents were feeling unwell and heeded the advice to go to hospital.

The center's father, Karl Sr., was cleared to return home and go into self-quarantine, but his mother, Jacqueline Cruz, was put on a ventilator after both underwent COVID-19 testing.

Towns' mother had started to feel better, but the 24-year-old detailed how her condition has deteriorated.

He said: "I think it's important that everyone understands the severity of what's happening in the world right now with the coronavirus, and I think where my life is right now could help, so I decided to do this video and give you an update of where I'm at.

"I was told early last week my parents weren't feeling well. My first reaction to her was to go seek medical attention immediately. There's no reason to wait, just go to the nearest hospital.

"And after a couple days of not showing any signs of improvement, I was very adamant on the first day to go to a hospital and seek further evaluation.

"Specifically, my sister told her [his mother] she needs to get checked for corona. I don't think anyone really understood what it was, with deteriorating condition. She kept getting worse, she kept getting worse, and the hospital was doing everything they can."

Towns added: "She just wasn't getting better. Her fever was never cutting from 103, maybe go down to 101.9 with the meds, and then immediately spike back up during the night.

"She was very uncomfortable. Her lungs were getting worse, her cough was getting worse. She was deteriorating. She was deteriorating - and we always felt that the next medicine would help. This is the one that's going to get it done. This mixture is going to get it done."

Towns continued: "She was feeling great. We talked, and she felt she turned the corner; I felt she was turning the corner. I knew there were more days to come, but I felt that we were heading in the right direction.

"They said that she went sideways and things had went sideways quick. And her lungs were extremely getting worse, and she was having trouble breathing and they were just explaining to me that she had to be put on a ventilator.

"And she was getting worse, and she was confused by everything, and I'm trying to talk to her about everything and encourage and stay positive, just talk through everything with her."

Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving is donating $323,000 and meals to charities during the coronavirus pandemic.

The COVID-19 crisis has brought sport to a standstill across the world, while people are struggling financially as various clubs and organisations reduce costs.

There have been over 16,400 coronavirus deaths globally, with more than 540 of those in the United States.

Irving, a 2016 NBA champion and six-time All-Star, used social media on Monday to announce that he is partnering up with Feeding America – a non-profit organisation – and City Harvest in New York City.

"Thank you all for the birthday love, I'm extremely grateful for the support," Irving wrote in an Instagram post. "Seeing the effects of COVID-19 reach our loved ones, our schools, our jobs, and access to food has really impacted me.

"I am excited to partner with @feedingamerica and @lineagelogistics to launch the Share A Meal campaign to help marginalised communities get the food resources they require during this time, and to work with our local partner @cityharvestnyc to distribute 250k meals to my neighbors in need across the NY area. In addition to that I am donating $323k to Feeding America and @lineagelogistics will match $200k of what we raise together. 

"I am asking my fans, friends, family and partners to join me in helping our communities by donating at the link in my bio. Thank you to everyone on the front line working to keep all of us safe, healthy, and fed. Together we can change the world one small gesture at a time."

Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert has lost his sense of smell and ability to taste as he recovers from his coronavirus diagnosis.

Gobert updated fans in a Twitter post where he asked followers if any of them had experienced similar symptoms.

Last week, Frenchman Gobert – the first NBA player to test positive for COVID-19 - said he is "feeling a little better every single day" as he deals with the disease.

But in recent days he has had to cope with additional symptoms.

"Just to give you guys an update, loss of smell and taste is definitely one of the symptoms," he wrote.

"I haven't been able to smell anything for the last four days. Anyone experiencing the same thing?"

Gobert had confirmed his positive test on March 12 following the postponement of Utah's game against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

The NBA was promptly suspended indefinitely in the aftermath of the diagnosis, with team-mate Donovan Mitchell also testing positive.

Amid the pandemic, Gobert admitted he should have taken the issue more seriously prior to his test.

The 27-year-old had mocked measures put in place to prevent the spread of the virus, including touching reporters' microphones.

Gobert asked people to learn from his mistakes and take the outbreak more seriously. He donated $500,000 to part-time employees of the Utah Jazz and coronavirus-related services.

Ten NBA players have been confirmed as having coronavirus, including the Brooklyn Nets' Kevin Durant.

The coronavirus pandemic has put a stop to practically all elite sport across the globe.

From the Premier League to the French Open, the Masters to the NBA, teams and sports stars are having to contend with postponements and even cancellations. 

While potential dates for action to resume have been announced across some sports and events, they are at best speculative. Nobody can say for sure when normal service will resume this year.

This unprecedented state of affairs has left the world of sport in limbo, but there are some who will be more anxious to get back to business than others.

Here, we take a look at some of those clubs and individuals who were on the brink of achieving long-pursued dreams before a global health crisis brought things to a grinding halt.

 

LIVERPOOL'S 30 YEARS OF HURT

There was a time when Liverpool were the dominant force in English football.

When, in 1990, the Reds were crowned champions of England for the 18th time, few could have envisaged the drought that would follow.

The Anfield club have not finished top of the pile since, yet looked destined to end that barren spell after their phenomenal charge to the summit this season. Not even Pep Guardiola's Manchester City could keep up.

With Jurgen Klopp's side sitting 25 points clear and requiring just two more wins to seal the Premier League title, their pursuit of glory has been suspended indefinitely. How much longer will the red half of Merseyside have to wait?

BUCKS' LUCK IS OUT

The Milwaukee Bucks were crowned NBA champions in 1971 and since then... nothing.

That was just the Bucks' third season in existence, but they have not managed to scale those heights in the following 49 years.

It is not like they have failed to challenge, though, as Milwaukee have won their division 13 times during this title drought, including last year.

They crashed out to the Toronto Raptors in the 2019 Eastern Conference Finals to prolong the heartbreak, surrendering a two-game lead to lose 4-2 in the series, but the Bucks were leading the way in the standings before the pandemic-enforced postponement of the season.

 

NADAL CAN'T CATCH FEDERER... YET

Rafael Nadal needs one more grand slam victory to move level with Roger Federer, and potentially swing the debate over the greatest tennis player of all time.

The Spaniard is on 19 and would have been the clear favourite to win a 13th French Open title before the tournament was delayed until September.

What's more, Federer was initially set to miss out on competing at Roland Garros through injury.

It appears his status as the putative GOAT of the men's game is safe - for the time being at least.

SERENA CAN FEEL NADAL'S PAIN

For Serena Williams, the wait to join Margaret Court on 24 slams has been long and painful enough.

Attempting to equal the record is a long-held goal for the American, who nonetheless faces scant opposition to claim the crown of the GOAT of the women's game.

She last triumphed in one of the sport's four headline events in 2017, claiming the Australian Open.

However, she has since lost four finals and, at 38, the uncertainty over the schedule means time is ebbing away. 

 

TIGER STILL CHASING NICKLAUS

There was a time when it seemed certain Tiger Woods would overtake Jack Nicklaus' major tally.

Woods reached 14 – four behind Nicklaus – in 2008, but injuries and personal issues forced his life and career off the rails.

He ended his lean run in 2019 with victory at the Masters, but this year's tournament at Augusta has fallen victim to the pandemic.

Now 44, Woods is facing a battle to hold off Father Time and chase down that elusive tally of 18 major triumphs.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver said the league is considering all options amid economic uncertainty due to coronavirus.

Silver suspended the NBA last week due to COVID-19, with Utah Jazz pair Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell the first players to contract the virus.

On March 12, Silver said the 2019-20 season would not resume for at least 30 days. Since then, Kevin Durant and three other Brooklyn Nets players tested positive for coronavirus, while the Boston Celtics' Marcus Smart and a pair of Los Angeles Lakers players also contracted COVID-19.

With the world struggling to contain the virus, there are widespread financial concerns and Silver – who is unsure when and if the season will return – said: "It's too soon to tell what the economic impact will be.

"We've been analysing multiple scenarios on a daily if not hourly basis and we'll continue to review the financial implications.

"Obviously, it's not a pretty picture but everyone, regardless of what industry they work in, is in the same boat."

Silver added: "We're exploring all options to resume our season if and when it is safe to do so. Nothing is off the table.

"Our focus right now is doing all that we can to support, engage and educate the general public in response to this pandemic.

"We are also making sure that we are prepared to resume the season if and when it becomes safe for all concerned."

 

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