Share This StoryFacebookTwitteremailPrintLinkedinRedditThe Latest on the effects of the coronavirus outbreak on sports around the world:___All referees in Italy’s top soccer league have tested negative for the coronavirus. ___The Swiss soccer league will restart several days earlier than planned to help Europa League contender Basel cope with a backlog of matches in August.The restart amid the coronavirus pandemic was set for June 19-21 in the top two divisions.The Swiss soccer federation now says Basel’s Swiss Cup quarterfinal match against Lausanne Sport will be played without fans on June 14 instead of the Aug. 5-6 dates for the other quarterfinal matches.Basel is scheduled to resume play in the Europa League in early August. It holds a 3-0 lead over Eintracht Frankfurt from the first leg of the round of 16. The Serie A referees and some from the second division were tested at the Italian federation’s training headquarters on the outskirts of Florence.They will remain there until June 10 to have further tests and continue training and preparing for the resumption of Serie A on June 20.___Premier League clubs have agreed to allow five substitutions in soccer matches.They will adopt the temporary law change when the league resumes on June 17 amid the coronavirus pandemic. Francis says “the true values of sport are particularly important to face this period of pandemic and especially the difficult restart.”The auctions will take place on the site Charitystars.com starting Monday for two months. There will be a new one every week and each auction will last 10 days.All funds raised will go to the Papa Giovanni XXIII hospital in Bergamo and Fondazione Poliambulanza in Brescia.___German soccer club Schalke has apologized to fans for asking them to justify their refunds for games played in empty stadiums because of the coronavirus pandemic. The Latest: All Italian league refs test negative for virus All three championships were supposed to be tune-ups for the Tokyo Olympics but that event has been postponed to 2021.___Pope Francis is promoting a charity auction of sports items and experiences in support of two of the hospitals hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic in Italy.The “We Run Together” auction includes a personalized bicycle given to Francis by world champion Peter Sagan, a team jersey and captain’s armband signed by former Roma forward Francesco Totti and a swim suit and hat from Olympic champion Federica Pellegrini.There are also experiences such as training sessions and dinners with various athletes. Associated Press The European gymnastics championships have been moved to December after being postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic.The men’s event will run from Dec. 9-13 and the women’s championships from Dec. 17-20 in Baku, Azerbaijan.Baku was originally supposed to host only the men’s championships but France couldn’t reschedule the women’s event after missing its planned dates in Paris in April and May.European Gymnastics president Farid Gayibov says the body will review the coronavirus situation and react accordingly “should the situation at a later date not be considered safe enough any more.”The European championships for rhythmic gymnastics will stay in Kyiv, Ukraine, but are now set for Nov. 26-29. That is six months later than originally planned. June 4, 2020 Basel also faces a potential clash with this season’s Europa League possibly overlapping with next season’s preliminary rounds.Basel is currently in third place in the Swiss league and the third-place team should enter the Europa League qualifying rounds in late July or early August.___More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports,Tampa Bay Lightning advance to face Dallas Stars in Stanley Cup finals, beating New York Islanders 2-1 in OT in Game 6 Federation president Gabriele Gravina says “it’s an initiative which doesn’t have precedents and represents a great assumption of responsibility which the (federation) is taking in favor of the whole soccer system.”The fund consists of 21,700,000 euros ($24,500,000). It will give up to 5 million euros ($5.6 million) to each of the two divisions below Serie A as well as the same amount to support clubs from the amateur soccer league.It will also give up to 3 million euros ($3.4 million) to soccer players and the same amount to coaches and their staff.The fund will also provide 700,000 euros ($800,000) to help women’s soccer clubs that are set to complete the season.___ There can still only be three pauses to bring on substitutes.Premier League clubs have also agreed to temporarily increase the number of substitute players from seven to nine.___The Italian soccer federation is launching a fund of nearly $25 million to help clubs and their members following the crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic.The Save Soccer Foundation will need definitive approval at a federation meeting on Monday. Schalke had asked for evidence of financial hardship if fans wanted tickets refunded this year rather than waiting until 2022.Schalke says it used “impersonal formulations lacking empathy” and fans will no longer be asked to submit documentary evidence of their personal finances. But the club says the approach was legal under German law.The Bundesliga was suspended in March because of the coronavirus outbreak and spectators have not been allowed to attend any of the games since the league restarted on May 16.Schalke has been hit hard financially by the pandemic. Executive board member Alexander Jobst said in March the club faced an existential threat.The team has also struggled on the field and hasn’t won a league game since January.
The Bo Ryan-led Badgers are no stranger to tournaments. Since 2001 when Ryan took over, his squad has qualified for eight consecutive NCAA Tournaments. His teams have experienced some success, reaching the Elite Eight in 2005 and the Sweet Sixteen in 2008.But never have any of those teams played in the Maui Invitational.Arguably the most competitive early-season tournament the NCAA has to offer, tonight the Badgers will face Arizona in what will be the team’s first serious challenge of the year.The field, which consists of Gonzaga, Cincinnati, Colorado, Maryland, Vanderbilt and Chaminade in addition to Arizona and Wisconsin, includes teams from six major conferences and four teams that went to the NCAA Tournament last season.Obviously, it’s early in the season, perhaps too early to truly evaluate the Badgers’ performance thus far. Forwards Jon Leuer and Keaton Nankivil have shown glimpses of brilliance, and Trevon Hughes has exhibited improvement in his decision-making abilities, albeit against far weaker opponents.But now in such a tough field, the Badgers could prove they are better than many believe they are, or perhaps, just as weak as the media predicted.It is no secret Bo’s squads have been perennially underrated in preseason rankings. Two years ago, when the Badgers won the Big Ten outright for the first time since 2003, they were predicted to finish third in the conference, and ended up losing only two games to one conference opponent all year.Now, Wisconsin has a chance to impress a national audience, and if the Badgers’ past early-season tournament success is any indication, this could be an opportunity UW won’t want to pass up.Last year in another difficult Paradise Jam Tournament, Wisconsin defeated San Diego and Iona before falling to a far superior UConn squad. But in the Maui field this year, while nearly every team has a solid core that could propel it to a high finish, there isn’t a squad like Connecticut’s a year ago.Simply put, the Badgers have a chance to prove their worth against a very beatable set of teams. Unlike last year when a trip to the tournament championship meant an imminent loss to the Huskies, Wisconsin must like its chances against a team like Maryland or Vanderbilt.But really, there’s more to this tournament than just a chance at winning in a team of solid competitors. The Maui Invitational, unlike nearly every other early-season tournament in the country, is essentially a shorter replica of what the Badgers will hope to be a part of in March. Every game will be a challenge, and the difficulty of playing on a neutral court against quality opponents is a dream come true for Ryan and the Badgers.Looking at the rest of UW’s nonconference schedule, things simply don’t get any easier. As always, the Badgers will face Marquette, and of course, Duke is coming to the Kohl Center next week.So what does a strong performance in this tournament mean for the Badgers? Well, aside from the respect it could gain from a couple wins on national television, simply the experience of being in a tournament that resembles the NCAA Tournament can give the Badgers confidence they are able to compete in a field like that at the end of the season.But a bad performance wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world either. If you ask any of the players who endured the Badgers’ six-game losing streak last season, they would tell you while it was perhaps the toughest stretch of the season, the ability to recover and qualify for the NCAA Tournament was more rewarding as a result.This tournament is no different. Even though the Badgers could lose at most three consecutive games in Maui, they would still have to reassess their current situation and come to the realization that someone, whether it be Leuer, Hughes or Nankivil, must step up to perform well in the Big Ten and throughout the rest of the team’s nonconference schedule.For now, though, the Badgers should feel privileged to be selected to play in the Maui Invitational. Their appearance, whether it turn out bad or good, is simply a nod to the team’s recent success. Hopefully for UW, it will use its experiences from this tournament to help the team when faced with similar challenges at the end of the season.Jonah is a junior majoring in journalism and Hebrew and Semitic studies. Excited for the Badgers’ appearance in the Maui Invitational? Send your thoughts to email@example.com.