Feds, States Plan for Sports. France: “C’est Impossible”

    • White House Task Force discuses testing with leagues; NY names a task force and CA announces reopening plans.
    • France announces cancellation of top soccer leagues, endangering Champions League tournament.

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Members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, led by CMS Administrator Seema Verma, held a conference call on Tuesday with representatives from 23 different sports leagues and associations to discuss how expanded testing can help get sports back in business.

According to one anonymous participant who spoke with USA Today, the administration did not relay specific timetables but expressed optimism about infrastructure that would allow sports to resume this summer.

Federalism in Action

Meanwhile, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo named an advisory board of 100 business and community leaders to assist in reopening the state in the coming weeks. Several NY sports executives made the list, including Mets COO Jeff Wilpon, Yankees president Randy Levine, Madison Square Garden CEO James Dolan, Bills partial owner Kim Pegula and Islanders co-owner Jon Ledecky. The state plans to start with manufacturing and construction work in the central part of New York, which has been less affected than New York City.

California Governor Gavin Newsom announced his own four-stage reopening plan on Tuesday, which also eschews specific dates in favor of metrics focused on hospitalization rates and testing. Live sporting events with fans are included under phase four, opening “highest-risk workplaces,” which will only occur after therapeutics have been developed.

France Cancels

France has made the decision to completely cancel the seasons of its top two soccer leagues, Ligue 1 and Ligue 2, while simultaneously announcing plans to reopen the country after weeks of lockdowns. “Big sporting events will not be able to take place before September,” Prime Minister Edouard Philipp said. “The 2019-20 season, notably for football, will not be able to resume.”

The decision ends any hope for a mid-June restart and puts further pressure on the UEFA Champions League tournament, in which Paris Saint-Germain and Lyon were still active. The Champions League still plans to conclude in August.