European club games moved due to COVID

·2-min read

Champions League and Europa League games involving Premier League clubs have been shifted to neutral venues due to travel restrictions to fight the spread of COVID-19.

Manchester United's Europa League last-32 first leg game away to Real Sociedad has been moved from San Sebastian to Turin.

UEFA said in a statement on Tuesday that the match will be played at the Juventus Stadium on February 18.

Arsenal's visit to Lisbon to play Benfica on the same date has been moved to Stadio Olimpico in Rome, with the Gunners confirming that the second leg would be played at the Georgios Karaiskakis Stadium in Athens.

Atletico Madrid's Champions League last-16 first leg at home to Chelsea, which was due to take place at the Wanda Metropolitano stadium on February 23 can no longer be held in Spain.

Atletico did not wish to comment on how the ban affected the match, while Spanish newspaper Marca said the game could be moved to Bucharest, more than 3,000 kilometres from Madrid.

Liverpool and Manchester City are both headed to Budapest, Hungary, for Champions League matches against Leipzig and Borussia Monchengladbach, respectively, in the next two weeks.

In golf, Padraig Harrington, who will captain Team Europe at the Ryder Cup, has tested positive for COVID-19 and withdrawn from this week's PGA Tour event at Pebble Beach.

The 49-year-old Harrington, a three-times major winner, must self-isolate before he can return to competition.

The Irishman is the fifth player this year in six PGA Tour events who had to withdraw because of a positive test.

Harrington's debut as captain in the hotly-contested biennial team competition between the United States and Europe, was originally scheduled to be last September but the event was postponed due to the pandemic and will instead be played from September 25-27 at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin.

Coronavirus problems continue to affect National Hockey League teams across the US with the league forced to postpone a 34th game this season.

Meanwhile, Major League Baseball players, on-field staff and non-playing personnel who require access to them at ballparks must wear electronic tracing wristbands from the start of spring training and face discipline for violations.

Players will be encouraged to get vaccines but are not required to get them.

That was part of upgraded health protocols agreed to by Major League Baseball and the players' association to deal with the novel coronavirus pandemic.