Pep Guardiola's mother has died aged 82 after contracting coronavirus, Manchester City have confirmed.

Dolors Sala Carrio passed away in Barcelona on Monday, with the club releasing a statement on their official Twitter account.

It read: "The Manchester City family are devastated to report the death today of Pep's mother Dolors Sala Carrio in Manresa, Barcelona after contracting coronavirus. She was 82 years old.

"Everyone associated with the club sends their most heartfelt sympathy at this most distressing time to Pep, his family and all their friends."

Guardiola was reported to have returned home to Spain before the country was put on lockdown in an attempt to curb the spread of COVID-19.

He made a €1million donation to the Angel Soler Daniel Foundation last month, with a view to boosting investment in medical equipment in Catalonia.

Spain has been affected by COVID-19 more than any other European country, with over 135,000 confirmed cases as of Monday.

More than 13,000 people have lost their lives after contracting the virus, which emerged in China late last year.

Bayern Munich president Herbert Hainer expects a significant decrease in transfer fees following the coronavirus pandemic.

Deals worth in excess of €100million have been commonplace in the past four years, with Neymar becoming the world's most expensive player when he joined Paris Saint-Germain for €222m in August 2017.

Bayern have been more conservative but broke their transfer record by splashing out €80m on Lucas Hernandez last year.

Links to Leroy Sane and Timo Werner led to suggestions the Bavarian giants were willing to break the bank again, but Hainer believes the inflation in the market will have been stemmed by the proliferation of COVID-19.

Revenues have dried up for clubs across the world, with players at Bayern, Barcelona, Juventus and Atletico Madrid among those to take pay cuts while football is on hiatus.

Asked about the potential impact of the coronavirus crisis on transfer fees, Hainer told Bayern's 51 magazine: "As I said, although serious predictions are difficult to make, it's obvious there'll be changes. I agree with Uli Hoeness' assumption that transfer fees will decrease. That's just logical.

"When income decreases, there's less money in circulation. And given the economic impact of the coronavirus crisis on people's everyday lives, outrageous sums in the millions are even less justifiable than they already were.

"My hope is that more common sense will be applied here as well. I have to take my hat off to Hasan Salihamidzic and our sporting leadership. They're handling the coronavirus situation very well."

Bayern players agreed to a 20 per cent wage reduction during the Bundesliga suspension, which is scheduled to last until at least April 30.

Hainer acknowledged the situation has put clubs in precarious financial positions, but he is confident Bayern will be able to get through the crisis without "any major damage".

"Of course, the situation is very tense. It's about the existence of individual clubs. And even FC Bayern faces a major financial challenge – that's no secret," said Hainer.

"But our club is in an excellent position. We work day after day to ensure that FC Bayern can navigate through this phase without any major damage.

"Despite this immense task, we're looking to the future with confidence."

Serie A clubs could be allowed to finish the 2019-20 season as late as October, according to Italian Football Federation (FIGC) president Gabriele Gravina.

Italy's top flight was suspended indefinitely last month due to the spread of coronavirus, and the FIGC stated on Friday that the season would not be resumed until the health and safety of all concerned could in some way be guaranteed.

Italy has been the country hardest hit by COVID-19 in Europe, with close to 129,000 confirmed cases and more than 15,800 deaths, although official figures over recent days have indicated strict lockdown measures are having an effect on the spread of the virus.

Gravina says the proposed date of May 17 to restart Serie A remains a possibility, but he insists it would be best to allow 2019-20 to finish much later this year if necessary, rather than declare the season cancelled.

"It's a hypothesis," Gravina told RAI when asked if a September or October finish had been put forward. "At the moment, a possible date to restart could be May 17, but I want to clarify that this is only a hypothesis.

"Finishing the season would be the best way not only so the 2019-20 season is not compromised, but also to avoid compromising the 2020-21 season in any way."

There are signs Italy's stringent measures to enforce social distancing and limit all non-essential travel are working, with the number of new deaths falling over the past three days, while the rate of confirmed new cases also appears to be going down.

However, prime minister Giuseppe Conte admitted earlier on Sunday that he cannot offer any guarantee when lockdown measures will be eased.

"Right now, I can't say when the lockdown will end. We are following the directions of the scientific committee, but Italy was the first nation [in Europe] to face the emergency," Conte said.

"Our response was maybe not perfect, but we have done our best based on the knowledge we have.

"The validity of the measures we have taken has been recognised by the World Health Organization and the results indicate we're on the right path."

Aritz Aduriz does not see his retirement nor Athletic Bilbao's Copa del Rey final with Real Sociedad as important amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The veteran striker, who has scored 172 goals in over 400 appearances for Athletic, announced his intention to retire at the end of this season back in August.

His final season as a player is set to be marked by an all-Basque Copa del Rey final between Athletic and La Real.

Originally scheduled to take place on April 18 in Seville, the Copa showpiece - along with the vast majority of sport around the world - has been put on hold.

It is not clear when the final will be played. However, Aduriz accepts even an occasion as momentous as the clash with La Real has little significance amid a crisis that has killed over 12,000 people in Spain.

"This coronavirus crisis is forcing us to think twice and consider what matters," Aduriz told Athletic's official website. "And now my retirement, or football in general, or if we will play [the Copa del Rey final] or not doesn't matter.

"I think there are many other more important things to stop and solve. I'm sure with everyone's help together, with each of us playing our role, we will get ahead of it. That's what I'm focused on at this moment and that's the most important thing."

Aduriz was born in San Sebastian, where Real Sociedad hail from, but he expects a respectful reception from their fans if and when the final goes ahead.

He added: "Maybe all of us are keeping in mind the Copa del Rey final, but we're prioritising other things now.

"We're all going through a tough time where many people are struggling a lot and even passing away…so, the final of the Copa has its importance, but maybe not that much now.

"There are other things we need to solve together, and if the day [of the final] finally comes, I'm Donostiarra [people originally from San Sebastian]. I've always felt very comfortable in Donostia [the city's Basque name] and that won't change whatever happens in any football game. I'm sure they will treat me in the same way, no doubt."

Asked about recognition for his achievements from Athletic fans, Aduriz replied: "If we've learned something from this pandemic or virus that we're struggling with, it's that we should think twice about what is important.

"I sincerely believe the people who really deserve a statue and recognition are clear nowadays, and it's not me or any football player.

"I would build a statue to those who are battling every day at the very front line against the virus in all the hospitals. They're showing us what really matters.

"We have to realise what's important and what isn't. And this is probably showing us that football isn't important enough for this kind of recognition."

Ben Foster believes Premier League clubs must commit to a blanket policy on pay cuts during the coronavirus pandemic, or else it could "get a bit messy".

The topic of footballers' salaries is in the spotlight after health secretary Matt Hancock suggested players in the top flight should make a contribution to help during the health crisis.

The Premier League called for players to take a 30 per cent pay cut in a statement released on Friday, though the Professional Footballers' Association (PFA) responded by pointing out such a move would lead to a loss in important revenue via tax contributions.

Watford goalkeeper Foster revealed there is an "understanding" from players that something needs to be done during these unprecedented times, but said any action - whether through salary cuts or wage deferrals - should come as a united front.

"Pretty much every footballer I've spoken to... I think it is something we understand, we completely agree that something needs to be done," Foster told talkSPORT.

"But from a player's point of view, and I’m sure the PFA will be talking about it today. As long as it is done in a structured manner.

"It is important to cover every team with the same [policy], whether it's a deferral or a cut, so that we are all under the same blanket.

"Now, more than ever, it is so important that we do this together. When you start getting teams doing their own individual wage cuts or deferrals, that's when it starts to get a bit messy.

"I know from talking to everyone at Watford that we are understanding that this needs to happen.

"Something like this is unprecedented. No one knows where it's going or how hard it's going to be. If we can do something in the meantime, you've got to do it."

The Premier League season is suspended indefinitely due to the virus, though there remains a commitment to completing the 2019-20 fixtures.

West Brom chief executive Mark Jenkins will give up 100 per cent of his salary for the duration of English football's suspension during the coronavirus pandemic.

Although the Championship club remain "financially stable" for the foreseeable future, Jenkins has volunteered to give up his wages and says several other members of the senior management will take "significant" cuts to personal income.

West Brom will also pay the additional 20 per cent of staff salaries if the club are forced to take advantage of the government's furlough scheme, which guarantees 80 per cent of worker wages up to £2,500 a month if businesses are unable to operate as normal.

The announcement from the Baggies, who were second in the Championship before 2019-20 was halted, comes two days after the English Football League (EFL) confirmed the season has been postponed indefinitely until it is safe to resume domestic competitions.

"At the moment, the club is financially stable and remains so for the foreseeable future," Jenkins said in a statement published via the club's website.

"But everybody is fully aware these are very uncertain times in which we simply cannot forecast what the future holds. Until we regain a level of certainty, we cannot be sure if planned income will actually be received or if we will be forced to utilise cash the club already holds to refund existing commitments.

"With that in mind, I think it is only correct that for the duration of this lockdown I take a 100 per cent cut in my salary and other members of the senior management team have also offered to take significant reductions in their remuneration.

"Like many other clubs, we have considered using a furlough approach with non-playing staff who are now unable to work owing to the lockdown and we have made plans for this eventuality.

"At present we have not been required to sanction this action, but if the lockdown continues and football remains 'on-hold' then this decision may have to be changed. What we will pledge is to ensure none of the staff effected [sic] suffer a reduction in pay; the club will make up the 20 per cent shortfall not covered by the government's Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

"I should perhaps add at this point that nothing underlines the spirit of our staff, or the commitment they have for Albion, than to tell you that several have volunteered to take pay cuts in order to help the club navigate a way through these difficulties. It says everything about the core values which run through our staff for which I and all the senior management team are both mindful and appreciative."

Jenkins' pledge comes amid criticism of major football clubs, including Tottenham and Premier League leaders Liverpool, for utilising the option to save costs by furloughing staff despite their healthy financial positions.

Premier League stars have been urged to take voluntary pay cuts by UK health minister Matt Hancock, with discussions between club captains said to have taken place this weekend with a view to establishing a charitable foundation into which donated wages can be funnelled.

Fiorentina trio Patrick Cutrone, German Pezzella and Dusan Vlahovic are clear of coronavirus, the Serie A side announced on Sunday.

Vlahovic was the Viola's first confirmed case of COVID-19, with the striker revealing in an Instagram post that his fever at one stage reached 39 degrees.

Fellow forward Cutrone and defender Pezzella also contracted the virus, though all three are "no longer positive" following tests, Fiorentina revealed.

"Fiorentina is delighted to announce that tests have revealed that Patrick Cutrone, German Pezzella and Dusan Vlahovic are no longer positive for COVID-19," the club announced in a statement.

"We would like to take this opportunity to thank the doctors, nurses and hospitals that are continuing to care for all those who require medical attention at this difficult time for Italy and indeed the whole world."

Italy has been hit particularly hard during the global health pandemic, with over 15,000 lives lost in the country.

In response to the outbreak, Fiorentina set up a 'Forza e Cuore' fundraiser that reached the initial target of €500,000 inside three days, with the money used to help buy key materials and equipment.

"Fiorentina is working with the Careggi and Santa Maria Nuova ONLUS foundations through its Forza e Cuore campaign, which has so far raised in excess of €760,000," the Viola announced. 

"The money has been used to purchase key materials and equipment for use in the fight against the pandemic."

Tom Dempsey, who once held the record for the longest NFL, has died of coronavirus, the New Orleans Saints confirmed.

Dempsey, 73, played for the Saints, Philadelphia Eagles, Los Angeles Rams, Houston Oilers and Buffalo Bills across an 11-year NFL career that began in 1969.

He won All-Pro honours as a rookie and converted the longest field goal in each of his first three NFL campaigns, feats all the more impressive as he was born without toes on his kicking foot.

On November 8, 1970, Dempsey slotted over a then-NFL record 63-yard effort against the Detroit Lions.

That was a standalone record until Jason Elam equalled it in 1998. It was not until 2013 that the mark was finally bettered by the Denver Broncos' Matt Prater.

Dempsey, who was inducted into the Saints Hall of Fame in 1989, continued to live in New Orleans after his career finished and had been battling Alzheimer's disease and dementia since 2012.

A statement from Saints owner Gayle Benson read: "The New Orleans Saints family is deeply saddened and heartbroken at this most difficult time.

"Tom's life spoke directly to the power of the human spirit and exemplified his resolute determination to not allow setbacks to impede following his dreams and aspirations.

"He exemplified the same fight and fortitude in recent years as he battled valiantly against illnesses but never wavered and kept his trademark sense of humour.

"He holds a special place in the hearts and minds of the Saints family."

Australia coach Justin Langer is open to the idea of playing games behind closed doors once cricket can resume after the coronavirus pandemic.

Langer watched on as his side emphatically defeated New Zealand in a one-dayer played inside an empty Sydney Cricket Ground last month.

It was due to be the first of three matches between the trans-Tasman rivals, though the series was cut short due the COVID-19 outbreak as the Black Caps returned home in time to avoid quarantine restrictions.

While there is no immediate sign of a resumption to the international schedule, staging contests without any supporters could be a viable option in the future.

"The Australian cricket team are so fortunate to play in front of big crowds every time we play," Langer told BBC Radio 5 Live.

"But for the love of the game, and for still being able to entertain people through TV sets or radio, then there's value in that (playing behind closed doors).

"Yes, it's different, but we'll never, ever, ever take for granted how lucky we are, ever again. We are so lucky in what we do."

Australia are due to play a two-Test series in Bangladesh in June, followed by a limited-overs tour to the United Kingdom that runs into July.

 

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.

Dietmar Hamann is the latest former Liverpool player to criticise the club's decision to place staff impacted by the Premier League's suspension on furlough, stating they are going against their values by doing so.

With the coronavirus pandemic causing a prolonged hiatus for football, Liverpool announced their intention to furlough non-playing staff on Saturday.

Members of the workforce that are affected can claim 80 per cent of their wages – up to £2,500 a month – from the United Kingdom government, though Liverpool will top up any shortfall in their pay.

Liverpool became the fifth Premier League club to announce the measures, with all of them attracting criticism as detractors feel profit-making businesses owned by wealthy individuals or groups should not be receiving assistance from the British taxpayer to cover wage costs.

Hamann's former Liverpool team-mate Jamie Carragher slammed the club, claiming the move will have lost them "respect and goodwill", and now the German has hit out.

"Astonished by the news that @LFC takes advantage of the furlough scheme to claim 80 per cent of non-playing staff wages back off the government," he wrote on his official Twitter account.

"That's not what the scheme was designed for. Contrary to the morals and values of the club I got to know."

Liverpool had previously received praise for Jurgen Klopp's displays of compassion at the start of the pandemic, while Jordan Henderson is reportedly spearheading an attempt from Premier League players to raise funds for the National Health Service.

But Saturday's news has attracted widespread scorn, with it coming less than six weeks after the club announced pre-tax profits of £42million for the year ending May 2019.

Much of the world has been forced to a standstill due to the coronavirus pandemic, with most professional sport consequently on hold for the foreseeable future.

With the outbreak occurring at a particularly inopportune moment for top-level football in Europe, the situation has bred uncertainty across most leagues – including Italy's Serie A.

Once normality returns, should finishing the season be the priority, regardless of the impact it might have on future campaigns?

At the moment, concluding the 2019-20 campaign appears the most likely option. However, even with Euro 2020 pushed back by 12 months, clubs and leagues are still having to work to tight schedules, with UEFA requesting seasons finish by the end of June.

Other views have been aired, with Italian Footballers' Association (AIC) president Damiano Tommasi suggesting the 2019-20 season could already be over, but while the debate rages on during the hiatus, the Stats Perform AI team have crunched the numbers behind the scenes.

With all 20 teams having either 12 or 13 league matches still to play, their goal was to simulate how the rest of the season would pan out if the games were played now to produce a predicted 2019-20 table.

 

The statistical model estimates the probability of each match outcome – either a win, draw or loss – based on each team's attacking and defensive quality.

Those ratings are allocated based on four years' worth of comprehensive historic data points and results, with more weighting given to recent matches to account for improvements or declines in form and performance trends.

The AI simulation takes into account the quality of the opposition that a team scores or concedes goals against and rewards them accordingly.

All that data is used to simulate upcoming matches using goal predictions from the Poisson distribution – a detailed mathematical model – with the two teams' attacking and defending ratings used as inputs.

The outcome of the season is then simulated on 10,000 different occasions in order to generate the most accurate possible percentage chance of each team finishing in their ultimate league position.

Without further ado, let's have a good look at the results of the simulation with the predicted final league table.

 

JUVENTUS ARE CHAMPIONS... AGAIN

The results in our model see Juventus retain the Scudetto, accumulating 87 points.

Undoubtedly the story of the season in Italy has been the rise of Lazio, who have mounted a genuine title challenge and went into the forced hiatus just one point adrift of the summit.

With Ciro Immobile's goals and Luis Alberto's creativity in midfield, Simone Inzaghi's men have excelled and delighted neutrals with their entertaining football.

But, in our model, Juventus see them off in the title race, with Maurizio Sarri picking up where Massimiliano Allegri left off last term and guiding them to a ninth successive Serie A title.

However, their points haul is their worst since getting the same amount in 2014-15.

INTER SETTLE FOR THIRD

For much of the first half of the season, Inter looked destined to push Juve all the way in the title race.

Under Antonio Conte and with Romelu Lukaku leading the attack following his move from Manchester United, Inter appeared invigorated.

But their form since the turn of the year has dipped, leaving them nine points off the top when the season was put on hold, though they had a game in hand.

In the simulation they did not recover to overtake either of the top two, finishing third on 79 points. 

Nevertheless, this would still represent an improvement on last season, when they only amassed 69 points and finished fourth.

 

MILAN SCRAPE EUROPA LEAGUE PLACE

It has been a difficult few years for Milan, and this season has not been much better.

Stefano Pioli's appointment as coach late last year has seen them improve somewhat, with Zlatan Ibrahimovic's arrival also giving the team a boost.

But there remains a lot to fix with the Rossoneri, with the squad lacking in quality and the hierarchy at odds with each other.

The simulation has Milan finishing seventh and that would be enough to scrape a Europa League spot, as the other three teams left in the Coppa Italia semi-finals with them are all predicted to end the season higher than Pioli's men in Serie A, therefore qualifying for Europe already.

Roma and Napoli take fifth and sixth, with Atalanta rounding off the Champions League spots in our model thanks to a five-point advantage over the Giallorossi.

SAMPDORIA AVOID THE DROP, RIVALS GENOA NOT SO LUCKY

Only one of the current bottom three escapes relegation in the simulation, with Lecce preserving their top-flight status at the expense of Genoa.

Il Grifone and bitter rivals Sampdoria sit just above the drop zone in reality, but our predicted table sees Genoa drop to Serie B for the first time since 2006-07 – last season they only guaranteed their survival on the final day.

The model has Genoa eventually reaching 36 points, but Samp and Lecce manage to climb to 41, giving them both a healthy five-point cushion.

Brescia unsurprisingly prop up the predicted table, given they are nine points from safety in the real standings. Our AI team give Brescia a 1.8 per cent chance of avoiding relegation.

Also going down in our predicted table are SPAL, whose haul of 29 points - one more than Brescia in this experiment - leaves them well adrift of safety.

The Professional Footballers' Association (PFA) claims "essential public services" would lose important revenue if players take the 30 per cent pay cut proposed by Premier League clubs.

Highly-paid stars have come under increasing public pressure to commit to a wage reduction after the coronavirus pandemic brought England's top flight to a halt until at least May.

Liverpool on Saturday joined Tottenham, Newcastle United, Norwich City and Bournemouth in placing a number of non-playing staff on furlough. The scheme sees the United Kingdom government cover 80 per cent of an individual's wages up to the value of £2,500.

Health secretary Matt Hancock called on footballers to "play their part" and Premier League clubs agreed at a meeting on Friday to approach them over a pay cut.

No agreement was reached with the PFA, which suggested it was not the right approach, mooting that services such as the National Health Service (NHS) could suffer a financial blow.

However, the players' union stated a "substantial contribution" will be made once talks have been concluded.

The PFA's statement read: "The players are mindful that as PAYE [pay as you earn] employees, the combined tax on their salaries is a significant contribution to funding essential public services - which are especially critical at this time.

"Taking a 30 per cent salary deduction will cost the Exchequer substantial sums. This would be detrimental to our NHS and other government-funded services.

"The proposed 30 per cent salary deduction over a 12-month period equates to over £500m in wage reductions and a loss in tax contributions of over £200m to the government.

"What effect does this loss of earning to the government mean for the NHS? Was this considered in the Premier League proposal and did the health secretary, Matt Hancock, factor this in when asking players to take a salary cut?

"We welcomed the opportunity to discuss this with the Premier League today and we are happy to continue talks.

"It is our priority to finalise the precise details of our commitment as soon as possible. However, to achieve a collective position for all Premier League players - of which there are many different financial and contractual circumstances from club-to-club - will take a bit more time. 

"The PFA Charity has also agreed to make a substantial contribution to a player-led initiative once the details are finalised.

"There should be no doubting the players and captains are committed to achieving this as soon as possible. They recognise their role in wider society and what they need to do, as a group, to help and support others."

The PFA also claimed the Premier League's decision to advance £125million to EFL and National League clubs and donate £20m to the NHS and other charitable causes was insufficient.

"£20m is welcome, but we believe it could be far bigger," said the statement.

"The EFL money is an advance. Importantly, it will aid cashflow in the immediate, but football needs to find a way to increase funding to the EFL and non-league clubs in the long-term.

"Many clubs require an increase in funding just to survive. We believe in our football pyramid and again stress the need for solidarity between all clubs."

The statement added that players want to ensure their financial contributions support clubs, players and staff at all levels of the football pyramid and the NHS, whose workers it called "the real heroes".

Jamie Carragher has blasted Liverpool for their decision to place staff impacted by the Premier League suspension on furlough, suggesting the move loses the club "respect and goodwill".

Members of the workforce that are affected can claim 80 per cent of their wages – up to £2,500 a month – from the United Kingdom government, though Liverpool will top up any shortfall in their pay.

The Reds announced these measures on Saturday, with Tottenham, Newcastle United, Norwich City and Bournemouth all previously taking advantage of the government scheme.

Other clubs have been criticised for furloughing non-playing staff, with detractors suggesting clubs owned by wealthy individuals or companies should not be getting assistance from the British taxpayer to cover wage costs.

In Carragher's opinion, Liverpool's decision has seen them lose much of the respect Jurgen Klopp and players had earned the club for their behaviour and attitudes earlier in the crisis, with Jordan Henderson reportedly spearheading an attempt from Premier League players to raise funds for the National Health Service.

Writing on his official Twitter account, Carragher said: "Jurgen Klopp showed compassion for all at the start of this pandemic, senior players heavily involved in Premier League players taking wage cuts.

"Then all that respect and goodwill is lost, poor this @LFC."

The Premier League announced on Friday it will not resume action in early May as had previously been planned.

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