A TV cameraman films in the empty stadium as a part of precaution against the new coronavirus during the pre-season baseball game between Doosan Bears and LG Twins in Seoul, South Korea, Tuesday, April 21, 2020. South Korea's professional baseball league has decided to begin its new season on May 5, initially without fans, following a postponement over the coronavirus. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

The Latest: French government says soccer, rugby seasons off

April 28, 2020 - 10:20 am

The Latest on the effects of the coronavirus outbreak on sports around the world:

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The French government says the rest of the soccer and rugby seasons won’t be completed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Prime Minister Edouard Philippe says “the 2019-20 season of professional sport ... won’t be able to resume.”

The top two divisions in French soccer both had 10 league games left to play. Rugby’s Top 14 league had reached the semifinal stage.

France is expected to end its lockdown on May 11.

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The French Rugby Federation has announced a support package worth 35 million euros ($38 million) to help ease the financial concerns of its amateur clubs during the coronavirus pandemic.

Amateur rugby competitions in France were canceled for the season on March 27 after strict social measures were put in place to deal with the outbreak.

The FFR has now arranged a package that will see 14 million euros ($15 million) go to clubs to cover losses and fees for this season and a further 21 million euros ($22.5 million) for the 2020-21 season.

It means they will not have to pay for such things as insurance costs and license fees.

Rugby officials are waiting to see what rules the government sets out following the end of lockdown before definitively deciding if a resumption is possible in the country’s top league.

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Athletes in track and field can apply for money from a $500,000 fund to help them get through the coronavirus pandemic.

World Athletics and the International Athletics Foundation have launched the fund to help athletes who have lost income because competitions are suspended.

World Athletics president Sebastian Coe says the fund will try “to help as many athletes as possible.”

It’s unclear when or if the track season can begin. Diamond League meets and the Olympics have been postponed.

Coe says the fund was the idea of 1,500-meter world record holder Hicham El Guerrouj. The Moroccan runner will be part of the team examining applications from athletes.

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The end of the Argentine league soccer season is expected to be ratified by the national association executive committee.

AFA president Claudio Tapia says there will be no relegation until 2022 to ease club finances burdened by the coronavirus pandemic.

The end of player contracts on June 30 will be honored.

Boca Juniors won the title shortly before the AFA suspended all soccer on March 15.

How teams qualify for the 2021 Copa Libertadores and Copa Sudamericana is also to be resolved.

Tapia tells TNT Sports “everyone wants to play again when we can, and if we have to play in January because we couldn’t do it earlier in the year, we will.”

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