Tar Heels coach Brown “confident” about playing

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

North Carolina coach Mack Brown said he remains ”confident” that the Tar Heels will play football this season after the school shut down in-person undergraduate classes.

Brown said Tuesday that the school’s move to online courses after recent coronavirus clusters in student housing and a fraternity could ultimately help ”create a better seal around our program and a better bubble.”

Brown said team staffers hosted a Zoom call for parents on Monday to address questions. Athletes can choose to remain in current residences, while some football players have previously chosen to opt out of the upcoming season.

Brown said many players were already taking online courses and that the team will continue once-weekly testing of players for the coronavirus.

He said the team is trying to ”make sure our players and our staff understand that we’ve got three months here where we cannot go outside for social reasons or to eat or anything else if we want to have our football season.”

The Southeastern Conference will prohibit ”suite hopping” as part of COVID-19 guidelines designed for fan safety and health in preparation for conference-only play this season.

Decisions on whether fans can attend games will be made closer to Sept. 26 when the league begins play. Attendance numbers will be left to member schools but must follow state and local guidelines. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations should be followed in the absence of those measures.

Furniture in premium seating and clubs shall be arranged to promote physical distancing, the guidelines add. Physical distancing and face coverings will also be stressed there as well as in public areas, including concessions, where barriers must be installed. The SEC guidelines also suggest ”grab and go” food options, with drinks provided directly to spectators and single-serve condiments offered.

SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey said its 14 schools adopted the fan guidelines as a baseline and added, ”They provide conference-wide expectations for protection of guests who are able to attend our games.”

Tennessee Titans won’t have fans at their home opener on Sept. 20 against Jacksonville because of the coronavirus pandemic.” data-reactid=”40″>The Tennessee Titans won’t have fans at their home opener on Sept. 20 against Jacksonville because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Nashville Mayor John Cooper and the Titans announced the decision Tuesday. Nashville’s Major League Soccer team also won’t have any fans at home games in September.

Burke Nihill, the Titans’ president and CEO, says they wish they could open in front of fans as a franchise coming off its first AFC championship game in 17 years. But he says the Titans support the mayor and the local health department’s decision to keep Nissan Stadium closed to fans at least to start the season.

The Titans play only one home game in September. Team officials have been working with public health experts to design a stadium plan in the hopes that fans will be able to attend some of the eight scheduled home games this season. Those precautions include mandatory masks, socially distant seating, contactless faucets and hand sanitizer stations throughout the stadium.

Nashville’s MLS team has three games scheduled through Sept. 12 at Nissan Stadium. Nashville SC set a record for the largest soccer crowd in Tennessee with its MLS debut on Feb. 29 as fans packed Nissan Stadium.

One person who isn’t a player returned a positive result for COVID-19 out of 1,400 tests administered in the controlled environment set up for the U.S. Open and another tennis tournament preceding it at the same site in New York.

The U.S. Tennis Association said Tuesday that the person is asymptomatic and must isolate for at least 10 days.

Contact tracing has started to see who might have been exposed to that person and should quarantine for two weeks.

The Western & Southern Open, moved this year from Cincinnati to New York because of the coronavirus pandemic, begins Saturday. The U.S. Open starts Aug. 31.

Testing began last Thursday.

South Africa has withdrawn from a planned women’s cricket tour of England because of coronavirus-related restrictions.

The England and Wales Cricket Board and Cricket South Africa say ”this decision was taken due to the current international travel regulations in place for South African national teams.”

South Africa had been scheduled to travel next month and play using the same bubble-style protocol used for men’s tours of England by West Indies, Ireland and Pakistan.

The announcement leaves the England women’s team without any confirmed matches for the rest of the year after a planned tour by India was called off last month. The England women’s team has not had a game since the T20 World Cup in Australia in February and March.

The ECB says it is in ”multiple discussions” to host international women’s cricket tours.

It’s the third women’s series to be canceled this year for South Africa following a planned series against Australia in South Africa and a tour of the West Indies.

Two players from Roma’s youth team have tested positive for the coronavirus.

The Italian soccer club has not named the players but says they are asymptomatic and have begun self-isolating.

Roma says ”those who have come into contact with the two individuals have been traced and notified” and adds that ”a deep clean and disinfection of the club’s training facilities has also already begun.”

The two players, their teammates and the youth team staff will undergo further tests.

The team’s training activities have been suspended until at least Aug. 24.

German soccer club Union Berlin wants to hold a pre-season friendly match with 3,000 spectators and is hoping that ”preventative” coronavirus tests for fans will allow it to happen.

The Bundesliga club says it has applied to the local Treptow-Kopenick health authorities for permission to hold the game with an altered hygiene plan on Sept. 5.

Union says ”a preventative test for all spectators is intended to replace the currently valid social distancing rules.”

German soccer clubs previously outlined plans to resume games with some socially distanced fans attending in seated areas. Union’s Stadion An der Alten Forsterei has mostly standing terraces so it could have far fewer fans attending than its competitors.

More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

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