Weekly digest (April 20-26): From Federer's merger appeal to Eredivisie's premature termination

From Roger Federer's call for the ATP-WTA merger to the premature termination of Eredivisie's 2019/20 season, here are the top headlines from the week gone by.

Swiss great Federer, who has won a record 20 men's grand slam singles titles, said a merger "probably should have happened a long time ago, but maybe now is really the time".   -  REUTERS

Here's a wrap-up of sports news and updates from across the world. From the 2019/20 season of Eredivisie premature termination to Roger Federer's ATP-WTA merger appeal, here are the top headlines from the week gone by.

CRICKET

Corporates all over the world have been feeling the pinch because of the COVID-19 outbreak. Sports federations are no exceptions — with live sport coming to a standstill, broadcast revenue has been severely hit. While Cricket Australia is in financial trouble, the BCCI — the richest cricket body in the world — is unlikely to be affected in the near future, even if it is forced to cancel the IPL’s 2020 edition. (REPORT)

The usage of artificial substances to polish the cricket ball, which effectively means ball tampering, could be considered for legalisation when the game resumes after the COVID-19 pandemic that has made bowlers wary of applying saliva on the red cherry. (REPORT)

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Venkatesh Prasad shines the ball as he prepares to bowl during the 1996 World Cup match against Kenya at the Barabati Stadium in Cuttack. (THE HINDU ARCHIVES)   -  V.V. Krishnan

 

The Chief Executives’ Committee (CEC) of the International Cricket Council (ICC) on Thursday discussed possibilities of rescheduling the Future Tours Programme (FTP) in order to fit in as much of the lost series due to COVID-19 outbreak as possible till 2023. (REPORT)

New Zealand legend Glenn Turner is concerned about the impact of T20 cricket on the “more worthwhile forms” of the game and feels that the coronavirus-forced break is a good time to “reassess” the future of the sport. The 72-year-old Turner believes that cricket administrators have “gone down a path of capitalism.” (REPORT)

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The prospect of a five-Test series between Australia and India is gaining traction as cricket authorities contemplate ways of making up for lost time when the peak of the coronavirus pandemic has passed. (REPORT)

Pakistan’s Sana Mir on Saturday announced her decision to retire from international cricket, bringing curtains on a 15-year-long successful career. (REPORT)

Sporting bodies and leagues across the globe might have felt the impact of COVID-19 but Cricket South Africa has not yet reached a position of financial vulnerability due to the pandemic, CSA CEO Jacques Faul claimed. While Faul maintained that CSA is still safe, he admitted that the future looks uncertain. (REPORT)

FOOTBALL

I-League winning manager Kibu Vicuna was this week appointed as Kerala Blasters manager after the ISL club parted ways with Eelco Schattorie, who was in charge of the club for just one season. (REPORT)

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The Dutch FA called off the 2019-20 Eredivisie season due to the threat of the coronavirus pandemic, with no champion, promotion or relegation. (REPORT)

Chelsea forward Olivier Giroud signed a one-year contract extension, keeping him at Stamford Bridge until the end of the 2020-21 season. (REPORT)

Premier League club Aston Villa’s players and coaches agreed to a 25 per cent wage deferral due to the coronavirus pandemic. (REPORT)

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Arsenal will be allowed to return to train at the London Colney base starting on Monday, a club spokesman said, while maintaining the British government’s guidelines to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. (REPORT)

TENNIS

Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Billie Jean King called for merger of the governing bodies of men's and women's tennis. (READ)

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Former tennis champion and convicted child rapist Bob Hewitt has walked out of jail after he was granted parole. (READ)

Nicolas Jarry has been hit with a backdated 11-month ban after testing positive for two prohibited substances. (READ)

The French Open could now start on September 27 instead of September 20, preceded by a week of qualification matches. (READ)

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The ATP and WTA, along with the International Tennis Federation and organizers of the four Grand Slams, are creating a coronavirus relief fund to help players affected by the sport’s shutdown. (READ)

TABLE TENNIS

India’s chief national table tennis coach, Manjit Dua, feels the nation is moving in the right direction. “It is looking up and is in the stage when the world is taking note of our achievements. More and more youngsters are entering the top 100 in world rankings in different categories.” (READ)

Team India coach Brett Clarke says the country needs to have its own centralised Training Centre like the ones in Germany, Portugal and Denmark to further improve on the global level.  (READ)

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German coach Peter Engel, who coached the senior Indian national teams for the 2014 Commonwealth and Asian Games, reveals how ace paddler Sharath Kamal has shaped his backhand into a lethal weapon. (READ)

HOCKEY

The second season of the Hockey Pro League would now continue till June 2021 although when it would actually resume is still uncertain. (REPORT)

Indian men’s hockey team striker Simranjeet Singh feels the current lockdown presents the players a chance to study their previous matches and better analyse their games. (REPORT)

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Indian women's hockey team midfielder Namita Toppo said that the postponement of the Tokyo Olympics will help the team as it aims for its first Olympic medal at Tokyo 2021. (REPORT)

Hockey India has initiated interactive sessions for umpires and technical officials to improve their officiating knowledge and fitness levels. (REPORT)

SHOOTING

The Online Shooting Championship 2.0 on Saturday saw Sanjeev Rajput win the 10m air rifle, while Shahzar Rizvi and Amanpreet Singh took the top two spots in 10m air pistol. (READ)

What are our shooters up to during the nationwide shutdown due to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic? Read the lockdown diaries of Anjum Moudgil, Abhishek Verma, Gagan Narang, and Rahi Sarnobat.

BADMINTON

Indian shuttler Satwiksairaj Rankireddy doesn’t believe that the current lockdown or the postponement of the 2020 Olympic Games will be a setback to his aspirations. (REPORT)

The Badminton World Federation should start its tournament calendar only early next year given the current COVID-19 crisis, London Olympics quarterfinalist P. Kashyap has said. (REPORT)

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Former Commonwealth Games champion Parupalli Kashyap has questioned his omission from the ongoing national badminton camp.   -  RITU RAJ KONWAR

 

PV Sindhu says she was desperate to win the World Championships title last year after a string of runner-up finishes as people started calling her “silver Sindhu". (REPORT)

Players, coaches and staff of Pullela Gopichand Badminton Academy have donated Rs 2.5 lakh to the Hyderabad Police towards the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. (REPORT)

BOXING

Noticing the growing concern among support staff about head injuries to boxers, the International Boxing Association (AIBA) is deliberating on bringing back the headgear for the male amateur boxers. (READ)

An Olympic berth is not on Vijender Singh’s mind anymore. The boxing ace, who clinched a bronze medal at the Beijing Games in 2008, has made it clear that at the moment, his major target is to succeed at the professional boxing circuit. (READ)

Asian Games gold-winning boxer Dingko Singh was airlifted from Imphal to the national capital for his liver cancer treatment. (READ)

ATHLETICS

Saudi Arabia and Qatar have submitted official bids to host the 21st Asian Games in 2030, the Olympic Council of Asia has announced. (REPORT)

The organisers of athletics’ Diamond League postponed meetings for June in the U.S. city of Eugene and in Paris because of the coronavirus pandemic. (REPORT)

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Middle-distance runner Jhuma Khatun has been banned for four years by the Athletics Integrity Unit of World Athletics for testing positive for Dehydrochloromethyl Testosterone, a steroid. (REPORT)