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first_imgBrutal attacks The Afghan government has released almost 5,000 Taliban inmates already, but authorities had baulked at freeing the final 400 prisoners demanded by the Taliban.The prisoners are accused of serious offences including killing scores of Afghans and foreigners, with 44 insurgents of particular concern to the United States and other countries for their role in “high-profile” attacks.In its final resolution, the jirga said it approved releasing the militants “to remove the hurdles for the start of peace talks, stopping bloodshed, and for the good of the public”.The jirga urged the government to monitor the freed prisoners to ensure they did not return to the battlefield and demanded an immediate and lasting ceasefire in the country.But Shaheen said the ceasefire would form part of the agenda during the negotiations with the Afghan government.The family of French aid worker Bettina Goislard, who was murdered in Afghanistan in 2003, said they would not accept the release of her killers, who are on the list.”Such a decision to free [them] made on the basis of horse-trading would be, to us, her family, inconceivable,” Bettina’s family told AFP.Not all those who attended the jirga favored the release of militants.Lawmaker Belquis Roshan, a prominent women’s rights activist, had protested against their release on the first day of jirga, unfurling a banner that read: “Redeeming Taliban is national treason.” “Our stance is clear, if the prisoner release is completed, then we are ready for the intra-Afghan talks within a week,” Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen told AFP.Shaheen said the first round of talks would be held in Doha, Qatar.”The Afghan government will start releasing the 400 Taliban prisoners within two days,” National Security Council spokesman Javid Fasial told AFP.The prisoner exchange was a key part of a deal signed by the Talban and the United States in February, which saw Washington agree to withdraw its troops from Afghanistan in return for a pledge from the insurgents to hold peace talks with the Kabul government. The much-delayed talks are aimed at ending the almost two decades old conflict that has killed tens of thousands of people.Shaheen said the Taliban delegation for peace talks would be led by Abbas Stanekzai, who was the group’s chief negotiator in talks with Washington ahead of the February deal. The Taliban said Monday they were ready for peace talks with the Afghan government, as authorities announced that the release of hundreds of militants accused of serious offences would begin in the next few days.The fate of some 400 Taliban prisoners has been a crucial hurdle in launching peace talks between the two warring sides, which had committed to completing a prisoner exchange before negotiations could start.On Sunday, thousands of prominent Afghans approved their release at the end of a three-day “loya jirga” — a traditional Afghan gathering of tribal elders and other stakeholders sometimes held to decide on controversial issues. Topics :last_img read more

first_imgThe Panthers have released longtime special teams player Colin Jones.The 32-year-old Jones played eight seasons with the Panthers, also serving as a reserve safety. He led the team in special teams tackles with nine in 2019 and finished his career in Carolina with 61 special teams tackles, second-most in franchise history.— Steve Reed reporting from Charlotte, N.C.___4:25 p.m. The San Francisco 49ers have traded star defensive tackle DeForest Buckner to the Indianapolis Colts for the No. 13 pick in this year’s draft.A person familiar with the deal said Buckner will receive a new contract worth $21 million a year from the Colts. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal and contract can’t be finalized until the start of the league year Wednesday.The trade of Buckner came almost immediately after the 49ers announced a deal to keep defensive lineman Arik Armstead with a five-year contract worth up to $85 million before he hit the open market.— Josh Dubow in Santa Clara, California___ Hollister entered last season with eight career receptions, but due to injuries took on a big role in Seattle’s offense. Hollister had 41 catches for 349 yards and three touchdowns in 11 games. He’s expected to continue having a role as a pass catcher for Seattle even with the signing of Greg Olson and the expected return of Will Dissly from injury.— Tim Booth reporting from Seattle.___7 p.m.The New Orleans Saints and long snapper Zach Wood have agreed to terms of a four-year contract worth nearly $4.8 million A person familiar with the negotiations says Byron Jones has agreed to a five-year contract worth more than $76.5 million with the Miami Dolphins, which will make him the NFL’s highest-paid cornerback.The person confirmed the deal on condition of anonymity because the NFL free agent signing period hasn’t begun.Last May, the Dolphins made Xavien Howard the league’s highest-paid cornerback. It’s uncertain whether Jones will replace or be paired with Howard, who has had at least one operation on each knee, most recently in December.Jones has only two career interceptions and none since 2017, but he has missed just one game in his five NFL seasons, all with Dallas. He was a first-round pick by the Cowboys in 2015 and made the Pro Bowl in 2018.— Steven Wine reporting from Miami By adding the 25-year-old Hooper, the Browns will have another offensive playmaker for quarterback Baker Mayfield, who struggled in his second NFL season. Hooper will be a dependable option to go along with star wide receivers Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry and running backs Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt.New Browns coach Kevin Stefanski preferred to run two-tight end formations during his one season as Minnesota’s offensive coordinator. Hooper could be paired with 2017 first-round pick David Njoku, who missed most of last season with a broken wrist suffered in Week 2.Hooper had 75 catches for 787 yards and six touchdowns last season.— Tom Withers reporting from Cleveland.___ The person said the deal includes $9 million guaranteed. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because deals can’t become official until the league year begins. That’s supposed to be Wednesday.Jarwin had 365 yards receiving and three touchdowns last season. The fourth-year pro tied the Dallas club record for touchdowns receiving in a game for a tight end in 2018, when he had three in the regular-season finale at the New York Giants. Those were the first three TDs of his career.— Schuyler Dixon in Dallas___2:30 p.m. He had three sacks, giving him 7½ during the past two seasons.The 27-year-old Onyemata is a Nigeria native who never played American-style football until he went to college in Canada.The Saints selected him in the fourth round of the 2016 draft and by 2017 he was a regular reserve, who also started six games that season and had two sacks.His presence along the interior has helped the Saints rank among the NFL’s leaders in run defense, holding opponents to just less than 86 yards rushing per game during the past two seasons combined.— Brett Martel reporting from New Orleans Hurst finished with 30 catches — third among Ravens tight ends — for 349 yards and two touchdowns. Andrews had a team-high 64 receptions for 852 yards and 10 TDs, and 270-pound tight end Nick Boyle had 31 catches for 321 yards.Hurst, the No. 25 overall pick in the 2018 draft from South Carolina, started only four games for Baltimore over two seasons. He missed the first four games of the 2018 season with a foot injury.— Charles Odum in Atlanta and David Ginsburg in Owings Mills, Md. ___4:55 p.m. ___5:30 p.m.The Minnesota Vikings have reached an agreement with punter Britton Colquitt on a three-year, $9 million contract, according to a person with knowledge of the deal.The person spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the contract had not yet been finalized. Colquitt will get $5 million in guaranteed money, the person said.Colquitt was eighth in the NFL last season with a net average per punt of 42.6 yards. He was the only punter in the league with 12 or more attempts, according to SportRadar, who did not have any touchbacks. The 11th-year veteran joined the Vikings in 2019, after three seasons with Cleveland and six seasons with Denver. A person with knowledge of the move said the Redskins on Monday agreed to re-sign inside linebacker Jon Bostic to a $6.6 million, two-year deal.The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the contract cannot be official until the start of the new league year Wednesday. The NFL negotiating period began Monday.Bostic is staying with Washington after just one season there. He was tied for second on the team with 105 tackles in 2019.New coach Ron Rivera and his regime liked Bostic enough to bring the veteran back. The soon-to-be 29-year-old will play in a different system under new defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio.Bostic is entering his seventh pro season after previously spending time with the Chicago Bears, New England Patriots, Indianapolis Colts and Pittsburgh Steelers. He has 419 tackles and 6 1/2 sacks in 86 regular-season games. The decision to place the franchise tag on Barrett also means quarterback Jameis Winston will become an unrestricted free agent if Tampa Bay does not re-sign the No. 1 overall pick from the 2015 draft by Wednesday.Winston led the NFL with 5,109 passing yards last season, but also became the first player in league history to throw for at least 30 touchdowns and 30 interceptions in a season.___12:55 p.m.The Patriots have placed a franchise tag on Patriots left guard Joe Thuney, his agent Michael McCartney said in a tweet shortly before the start of the legal tampering period. 6:40 p.m.The Tennessee Titans are keeping veteran Dennis Kelly around with a new multi-year contract after losing right tackle Jack Conklin to the Cleveland Browns.The Titans announced they had agreed to terms. Kelly has started 16 of his 58 games since the Titans acquired him in a trade in 2016 that sent Philadelphia wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham. Kelly has been versatile, starting at right tackle, left tackle, left guard and tight end in his career.The 6-foot-8, 321-pound Kelly caught two touchdown passes last season, including one in Tennessee’s loss to Kansas City in the AFC championship game. 4:20 p.m.The San Francisco 49ers have signed defensive lineman Arik Armstead to a five-year contract worth up to $85 million before he hit the market as a free agent.The defending NFC champion Niners locked up one of the key pieces of their defense with a long-term deal instead of using the franchise tag.Armstead was a first-round pick for San Francisco in 2015 but didn’t make a big impact in his first four seasons in the league as he dealt with injuries that limited his playing time in 2016-17 and finding the right fit for his skills.___ March 16, 2020 Associated Press A person familiar with the deal says free agent linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski has agreed to a contract with the Las Vegas Raiders.The person spoke on condition of anonymity because Kwiatkoski can’t officially sign the deal until the new league year starts on Wednesday.The Raiders are in dire need of upgrades at linebacker after a revolving door at the position the past few years. The only linebacker who started a game last season that is still under contract with the Raiders is Marquel Lee.The 26-year-old Kwiatkoski was a fourth-round pick by Chicago in 2016. He had his most extensive playing time last year when he had career bests with 76 tackles, three sacks, one interception and four passes defensed.— Josh Dubow reporting from Alameda, California 1:15 p.m.The Browns are working toward a deal with two-time Pro Bowl free agent tight end Austin Hooper, a person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press.Hooper was one of the main free agency targets for Cleveland, said the person who spoke on condition of anonymity because teams can’t officially announce deals until Wednesday.Hooper has spent the past four seasons with the Atlanta Falcons. He’s had more than 70 catches the past two seasons.NFL Network reported the sides have agreed to terms on a package that will make Hooper the NFL’s highest-paid tight end. Originally drafted in the fifth round in 2012 out of Purdue by Philadelphia, Kelly has started 31 of his 88 games.— Teresa M. Walker reporting from Nashville, Tennessee___5:40 p.m.Free agent tackle Jack Conklin has agreed to a three-year, $42 million contract with the Browns, his agent Drew Rosenhaus told The Associated Press ___7:45 p.m.A person familiar with the situation says Saints starting defensive tackle David Onyemata will re-sign with New Orleans instead of entering free agency.The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the agreement has not been announced. The agreement was first reported by NFL Network.The 6-foot-4, 300-pound Onyemata started all 15 regular-season games in which he played and the Saints’ lone playoff game last season, his first as a full-time starter. ___1:55 p.m.Offensive lineman Ereck Flowers has agreed to terms on a $30 million, three-year contract with the Miami Dolphins.The deal was confirmed by Flowers’ agent, Drew Rosenhaus, who said $19.95 million is guaranteed.Flowers played for the Miami Hurricanes, was a first-round draft pick by the New York Giants in 2015 and started 46 games at tackle for them in his first three NFL seasons. Washington is expected to be a major player in free agency after releasing tight end Jordan Reed, cornerback Josh Norman and wide receiver Paul Richardson to clear salary-cap space. The team already put the nonexclusive franchise tag on starting right guard Brandon Scherff for $14.781 million.The Redskins are stocked along the defensive line with 2017 and 2018 first-round picks Jonathan Allen and Daron Payne and could select Ohio State pass rusher Chase Young with the second overall pick. They also have Ryan Kerrigan and Ryan Anderson as outside linebackers and impressive 2019 pick Cole Holcomb inside to pair with Bostic.— Stephen Whyno reporting from Washington___4:35 p.m. The Latest: AP source: Dolphins agree to deal with Jones — Dave Campbell reporting from Minneapolis___5:10 p.m. The Atlanta Falcons have acquired tight end Hayden Hurst from the Baltimore Ravens, a person familiar with the deal told The Associated Press.The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity Monday because the trade won’t be officially announced before the NFL’s business year begins Wednesday. The Falcons also acquired a 2020 fourth-round pick from the Ravens. Baltimore acquired second and fifth-round picks in this year’s draft from the Falcons.The Falcons needed help at tight end after losing two-time Pro Bowler Austin Hooper to free agency. The Falcons cut backup tight end Luke Stocker on Monday, one of several moves to clear cap space. The Falcons also cut offensive tackle Ty Sambrailo and are releasing running back Devonta Freeman and cornerback Desmond Trufant.Atlanta had two second-round picks in this year’s draft, No. 47 and No. 55 overall. The Ravens acquired the No. 55 pick.Hurst played in 16 games with Baltimore in 2019, including four starts. Early on, it became evident that another tight end, Mark Andrews, would be quarterback Lamar Jackson’s favorite option. Releasing Hunt will save the Colts roughly $4 million against the cap.He signed a two-year deal worth $9.1 million last year after having his best season in the NFL. But he lost the starting job in 2019 and wound up with 17 tackles, no sacks and no tackles for loss.Fountain spent all of last season on injured reserve after suffering a dislocated and fractured left ankle in training camp. The Colts offered the exclusive free agent a one-year tender, which his agent, Andy Simms, says he will sign. Fountain was Indy’s fifth-round pick in 2018.— Michael Marot reporting from Indianapolis.__ Longtime Pittsburgh Steelers offensive lineman Ramon Foster is retiring.The 11-year veteran made the announcement on Instagram, saying “when the time comes, you just know and now is a time for me to take a bow.”Foster made the Steelers as an undrafted rookie free agent out of Tennessee in 2009. He became a steadying force on a unit that evolved into one of the league’s best, helping pave the way for a high-powered offense that led Pittsburgh to four straight playoff appearances from 2014-17. Foster turned 34 in January and the Steelers have several placements ready. Though he had a year left on the two-year, $8.25 million extension he signed in 2019, Foster figured to become a salary cap casualty if he didn’t decide to step away from the game. The Steelers are in the process of clearing cap space after placing a franchise tag on outside linebacker Bud Dupree earlier Monday. —- Will Graves reporting from Pittsburgh 4:15 p.m.Ben Watson is hanging up his cleats for the second time. The 39-year-old tight end announced his retirement in a message on Twitter on Monday, marking the end of a 15-year NFL career that included two stints in New England, as well as stops in Cleveland, New Orleans and Baltimore. Watson retires with 547 catches for 6,058 yards and 44 touchdowns. He was drafted by the Patriots in 2004, winning a Super Bowl ring as a rookie. He spent his first six seasons in New England. “I entered this league with a duffel bag and a dream,” Watson wrote in his Twitter post. “I exit holding the loving hand of my best friend, my wife of 14 years, and the (seven) tender gifts God has graciously given us to lead and love.” The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the NFL free-agent signing period hasn’t started. The contract could be worth up to $36 million, and $21 million will be guaranteed.Lawson spent his first four NFL seasons with the Buffalo Bills and last year had a career-high 6 1/2 sacks, which would have led the Dolphins. He was a first-round draft pick by the Bills in 2016.__ Steven Wine in Miami, with John Wawrow in Buffalo contributing.___3:35 p.m. The Minnesota Vikings have placed the franchise tag on safety Anthony Harris, according to a person with knowledge of the decision.The person spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the one-year, $11.441 million contract was not finalized. Harris was scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent, after a breakout 2019 season.The Vikings cleared salary-cap space to keep Harris by agreeing to a two-year, $66 million contract extension with quarterback Kirk Cousins that reduced his salary-cap hit for 2020 by $10 million. The Vikings also agreed to a new four-year, $12.25 million contract with fullback C.J. Ham, who was set to be a restricted free agent.— Dave Campbell reporting from Minneapolis___ ___2:40 p.m.A person with direct knowledge of the deal says the Dallas Cowboys and tight end Blake Jarwin have agreed on a $24 million, three-year contract.The agreement essentially means the Cowboys believe Jarwin can replace Jason Witten as the starter.Witten has said he wants to return for a 17th season, but the Cowboys haven’t indicated it will be with them. Witten set the club record by spending 16 seasons with Dallas, the most recent after taking a year off to try broadcasting. 3:55 p.m.The Dallas Cowboys are moving forward with their plan to replace record-setting tight end Jason Witten.The Cowboys have re-signed Blake Jarwin, giving their fourth-year player a $24 million, three-year contract with $9 million guaranteed. The move came a few weeks after Witten said he wanted to keep playing, even if it wasn’t in Dallas.Witten set a club record by spending 16 seasons with the Cowboys, the most recent last season after retiring and spending one year in broadcasting. The 37-year-old is also the Dallas leader in catches and yards receiving. Witten is one receiving touchdown behind Dez Bryant’s career franchise record of 73.Jarwin had 365 yards receiving and three touchdowns last season. The fourth-year pro tied the Dallas club record for touchdowns receiving in a game for a tight end in 2018 with three in the regular-season finale at the New York Giants. Those were the first three TDs of his career. Conklin, perhaps the best tackle available on this year’s market, will get $30 million guaranteed and earn $20 million in his first year, Rosenhaus said. Conklin will only be 28 when the deal expires.The No. 8 overall pick in 2016, Conklin spent the past four seasons with the Tennessee Titans. He started all 16 games last season and helped block for NFL rushing leader Derrick Henry.The Browns were looking for an upgrade at both tackle spots, and will slot Conklin in on the right side while perhaps drafting one next month. There are some top prospects available in this year’s class.Conklin will give added protection for quarterback Baker Mayfield, who didn’t trust his line enough last season and bailed on plays. He can also open holes for running back Nick Chubb.__ Tom Withers reporting from Cleveland. Thuney, a third-round pick in 2016, has been one of the most dependable pieces on the Patriots’ offensive line over the past four seasons. The nonexclusive tag is expected to cost the Patriots around $14.7 million this upcoming season.If he had hit free agency Thuney was expected to be one of the most sought-after guards on the market. He has not missed a single game and wasn’t whistled for a single penalty in 2019.— Kyle Hightower, reporting from Boston___12:55 p.m. Wood’s agent, Mike Abadir, confirmed the agreement on Monday.The 27-year-old Wood has played for New Orleans since 2017, when the Saints’ current run of three straight playoff seasons began.The 6-foot-3, 255-pound Wood is a Texas native who played in college for SMU before spending training camp of his rookie season with the Dallas Cowboys.___6:55 p.m. ___7:20 p.m.The Seattle Seahawks have given a second-round tender to restricted free agent tight end Jacob Hollister, according to a person with knowledge of the deal.The person spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity because the team has not announced the designation. NFL Network first reported the designation.Hollister is coming off the best season of his young career, and will earn $3.259 million for the upcoming season if he stays with Seattle. Hollister can still negotiate with other teams, but the Seahawks would receive a second-round pick if they choose not to match. His best season was in 2015 with New Orleans when he caught 74 passes for 825 yards and six touchdowns — all career highs.He initially planned to retire following the 2018 season but was courted by several teams. The Patriots eventually signed him to a one-year, $3 million deal as they looked to fill the hole created by the retirement of Rob Gronkowski.He began his last NFL season by serving a four-game suspension for testing positive for a banned substance following his final season in New Orleans in 2018. He appeared in 10 games for the Patriots in 2019, catching 17 passes for 173 yards.___ A person with knowledge of the negotiations tells The Associated Press that the Denver Broncos have agreed to a four-year, $44 million free agent contract with offensive guard Graham Glasgow.The deal includes $26 million in guarantees.Although the versatile Glasgow can also play center and incumbent Connor McGovern is set to hit free agency, Glasgow will get his first look at guard following the Broncos’ decision to cut ties with oft-injured right guard Ronald Leary.— AP Pro Football Writer Arnie Stapleton reporting from Englewood, Colorado.___ 1 p.m.The Bengals used their franchise tag on A.J. Green, giving them time to try to work out a long-term deal with the star who is one of the most accomplished receivers in franchise history and would be a vital part of breaking in a new quarterback.Green, 31, wants to finish his career in Cincinnati, where he has put down roots. Although he’s open to a multi-year extension that would pay him as an elite receiver, he has objected to staying for only one more season on a franchise designation.Green has said he’ll skip voluntary offseason workouts if he’s tagged. The Bengals are expected to take Heisman Trophy winner Joe Burrow or another quarterback with the first overall pick in the draft, and having Green in offseason workouts would accelerate a rookie’s development.The Bengals are free to negotiate with Green on a long-term deal through July 15. ___12:55 p.m.The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have placed their franchise tag on linebacker Shaquil Barrett, who led the NFL in sacks last season.The move had been anticipated ever since coach Bruce Arians stated late last season that the 27-year-old Barrett “ain’t going anywhere” after setting a team record with 19½ sacks in 2019.Barrett signed a one-year, $4 million contract in free agency with the Bucs last winter after spending the first five seasons of his career with the Denver Broncos. The franchise tag for an outside linebacker calls for a salary of about $16 million for 2020. He started all 16 games last year for Washington, splitting his time between guard and tackle.The Dolphins are in the market for four starting offensive linemen in free agency and the draft.___1:45 p.m.The Indianapolis Colts have released defensive tackle Margus Hunt and will re-sign receiver Daurice Fountain. Share This StoryFacebookTwitteremailPrintLinkedinRedditThe Latest on NFL’s free agency. Teams were required to use franchise tags on players by noon EDT Monday. Teams can negotiate with representatives of free agents for the next two days but cannot finalize any agreements. (all times EDT):___8:15 p.m. The 25-year-old Jarwin joined the Cowboys as an undrafted free agent in 2017 and spent most of that season on the practice squad.— Schuyler Dixon in Dallas___3:45 p.m.A person familiar with the negotiations says defensive end Shaq Lawson has agreed to a $30 million, three-year contract with the Miami Dolphins. More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL,Tampa Bay Lightning advance to face Dallas Stars in Stanley Cup finals, beating New York Islanders 2-1 in OT in Game 6last_img read more

first_img___Petra Kvitova will play at a tennis exhibition event next month in Berlin and Tommy Haas will come out of retirement to join in.Organizers added the two-time Wimbledon champion to play against a women’s lineup of Elina Svitolina, Kiki Bertens, Julia Goerges and Andrea Petkovic.Haas hasn’t played since 2017 and is tournament director of the Indian Wells event. He was added to a men’s tournament alongside Dominic Thiem, Alexander Zverev, Nick Kyrgios and Jannik Sinner.One more player is still to be announced for each of the men’s and women’s events. The second-division club says the 50-year-old O’Neill had tested negative in five previous rounds of testing but the positive result came from a test administered on Monday.Stoke says O’Neill will “follow the relevant guidance and undergo a period of isolation.” Assistant manager Billy McKinlay will take charge of training.Stoke is scheduled to play Reading when the Championship resumes on June 20.The Premier League returns to action with two matches on June 17.___ The Ground Safety Advisory Group in Liverpool says Anfield and Goodison Park can now be used for Liverpool and Everton matches.Liverpool could clinch the trophy by beating Everton if Manchester City loses to Arsenal on June 17.Liverpool Deputy Mayor Wendy Simon says “we are confident the measures in place will allow the matches to be held behind closed doors without any detrimental impact to all concerned and recommend to the city council that the safety certificates for both grounds be amended to allow this to happen.”___English soccer club Stoke says manager Michael O’Neill has tested positive for COVID-19. Associated Press Texas brought in 58 players this week to the campus that is otherwise closed to students. One of them presented symptoms during pre-screening and was tested before arriving. The other two were tested during the on-campus screening process.Senior Associate Athletics Director for Sports Medicine and Performance Allen Hardin said their families have been notified and the two players with the COVID-19 virus are self-isolating.The announcement did not indicate if any of the players were among a group that marched together with coach Tom Herman last week from the campus football stadium to the state Capitol in honor of George Floyd. The players wore masks during the march but many also walked with their arms locked together.___One player and three caddies on the developmental Korn Ferry Tour have tested positive for the coronavirus. Share This StoryFacebookTwitteremailPrintLinkedinRedditThe Latest on the effects of the coronavirus outbreak on sports around the world:___Two Texas football players have tested positive for coronavirus this week and a third tested positive for the COVID-19 antibody, the university said Wednesday night. June 10, 2020 Organizers plan to play on grass from July 13-15 and then on hard courts from July 17-19. No fans are expected to be able to attend amid the coronavirus pandemic.___Everton will be allowed to host city rival Liverpool at Goodison Park instead of playing at a neutral venue when the rivals meet on June 21.Police had initially believed the Merseyside derby could not be staged in Liverpool because of fears that fans would congregate outside.Premier League games will take place without fans for the rest of the season because of the coronavirus pandemic. Tennis players ranked outside the top 500 in singles or outside the top 175 in doubles are eligible for grants worth up to $1,000 from the International Tennis Federation to help deal with the suspension of competition because of the coronavirus pandemic.The ITF announced Wednesday specifics of a total relief fund worth more than $2.5 million, including money for national associations and players.That has $350,000 earmarked for players ranked 501 to 700 in ATP or WTA singles, who receive $1,000 each, or 176 to 300 in doubles, who receive $750 each.More than 1,000 ITF events, including junior and wheelchair tennis, have been wiped out since March because of the COVID-19 outbreak.The ATP and WTA tours also have been suspended since March. Those tours teamed with the ITF and the four Grand Slam tournaments to set up a $6 million fund for certain players, including those ranked from 101 to 500 in singles. ___The Southeastern Conference has scrapped its scheduled football media days in July and instead plans to hold its first virtual event. League officials announced the decision Wednesday. SEC media days had been scheduled to be held July 13-16 in Atlanta at the College Football Hall of Fame and Omni Atlanta Hotel.Commissioner Greg Sankey says the virtual format will allow the league to manage media days in a healthy manner during the coronavirus pandemic and give programs flexibility as they prepare for the upcoming season. Sankey says the SEC looks forward to returning to its traditional media days format in 2021, which had been scheduled for Nashville.The SEC did not announce dates for the new virtual media days. Sankey is expected to deliver his annual “State of the SEC” along with media sessions with all head coaches and select players. The English Premier League says one person has tested positive for the new coronavirus after testing on 1,213 players and staffers across the 20 clubs.The person who tested positive was not identified.Testing is taking place at clubs twice a week ahead of ending the league’s 100-day shutdown next Wednesday.All games will be closed to fans for the remainder of the season.___ The Latest: 2 Texas football players test positive for virus The PGA Tour says it administered 1,559 tests — at home and at tournament sites — for the PGA Tour event in Fort Worth, Texas, and the Korn Ferry Tour event in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida.The positive results were from saliva tests and were done at home. The tour recommended — but did not require — that players and caddies take tests before traveling to the tournament.The tour did not disclose the names of those testing positive. They were to self-isolate for at least 10 days and have two negative test results at least 24 hours apart before returning.The tour said there 487 tests at tournament sites on the PGA Tour and 407 tests on the Korn Ferry Tour, all negative.___ The opening two rounds of the 2020 AMA Motocross season will have fans in attendance.The July 18 race at Ironman Raceway in Crawfordsville, Indiana, and the July 25 races at WW Motocross Park in Jacksonville, Florida, will include social distancing policies to be announced later.The rest of the outdoor motocross schedule will be rolled out in phases as additional venues are allowed to welcome fans.Motocross’ decision comes a day after NASCAR announced it will allow fans to attend races in Florida and Alabama.___ More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sportslast_img read more