The Latest: Arkansas coach Pittman tests positive for virus

Sports

An Aston Villa member of staff wearing a mask holds a soccer ball as he walks by the pitch ahead of the English Premier League soccer match between Aston Villa and Southampton at Villa Park in Birmingham, England, Sunday, Nov. 1, 2020. The British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced Saturday night that England will have further restrictive measures to combat the coronavirus pandemic starting Thursday, though the Premier league and other elite sport would continue. (Nick Potts via AP)

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

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Arkansas coach Sam Pittman will miss the Razorbacks’ game at No. 6 Florida on Saturday after having two positive COVID-19 tests.

The school made the announcement in a news release on Tuesday.

Pittman was tested Sunday as part of the team’s normal protocol and learned Monday morning that his test was positive. A follow-up test taken on Monday confirmed the initial positive result. Southeastern Conference protocol for an asymptomatic positive requires him to isolate for at least 10 days.

Defensive coordinator Barry Odom will serve as interim coach. Pittman will remain a part of team meetings virtually.

The Razorbacks are off to a 3-3 start in Pittman’s first year – a significant jump from last year’s 2-10 campaign. Arkansas has won two of three and is coming off a 24-13 win over Tennessee.

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The Mountain West Conference is announcing changes to its men’s and women’s basketball seasons that greatly reduces travel because of the pandemic.

The conference will play 20-game schedules over 11 weeks with teams facing each other in two-game series with a one-day break between games.

Each school will have five home and five road series, reducing the regular travel schedule by a month to help mitigate potential virus exposures.

The conference said league play will begin in December and conclude the last week of February.

The format adjustments create flexibility throughout the season to reschedule games if they need to be postponed because of COVID-19 outbreaks.

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The Pittsburgh Steelers have placed four more players on the COVID-19 list, including quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.

The move comes a day after tight end Vance McDonald went on the list after testing positive following a 24-19 win at Dallas that pushed the Steelers to 8-0. Running back Jaylen Samuels, offensive lineman Jerald Hawkins and linebacker Vince Williams joined Roethlisberger on the list Tuesday.

The reserve/COVID-19 list is either for players who have tested positive or have been in close contact with someone who has.

All players who have been in close contact must quarantine for five days and are unable to visit the team’s practice facility but can participate virtually. They must pass COVID-19 tests throughout the week to have an opportunity to play Sunday when the Steelers host the Cincinnati Bengals.

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Duke says it will open basketball and other winter-sports seasons without fans in attendance.

The school announced the decision Tuesday. It is an extension of the plan that has been in place for football and other fall sports due to concerns about the coronavirus pandemic. The Blue Devils football team is playing in an empty stadium in Durham, North Carolina, featuring only fan cutouts in the stands.

Duke will continue to limit attendance to game-management personnel and media.

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German soccer club Hoffenheim says forward Munas Dabbur has tested positive for the coronavirus while with the Israeli national team and is in isolation.

Israel is scheduled to play Norway in a friendly on Wednesday and then has Nations League games against the Czech Republic on Sunday and Scotland on Nov. 18.

Dabbur has two goals in seven Bundesliga games this season.

Dabbur is the second Hoffenheim player to test positive this week. Teammate Robert Skov tested positive while with the Danish national team.

Hoffenheim says both Dabbur and Robert Skov tested negative when they were with Hoffenheim on Friday ahead of a Bundesliga game.

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French soccer club Nice says it has shut down its training facilities because of a COVID-19 outbreak.

Nice says more than a dozen of players and staff members have tested positive for the coronavirus recently. The club says some players from the youth teams have also been affected.

Nice did not identify the players infected but made the announcement after the Swiss soccer federation said defender Jordan Lotomba had been ruled out of this week’s friendly match against Belgium because of a positive test. Lotomba plays for Nice.

Nice says it hopes to reopen the training facilities “next week after new tests.”

Nice’s next French league match is on Nov. 21 in Marseille.

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Italian basketball team Olimpia Milano has suspended all team activity after “numerous” members of the squad tested positive for the coronavirus.

The club says the cases emerged from tests carried out shortly after Sunday’s victory over Brescia.

All the positive people are asymptomatic and the group will undergo further tests on Tuesday.

Olimpia was due to fly to Russia for EuroLeague matches against Zenit St. Petersburg on Wednesday and Khimki Moscow Region three days later.

It is also scheduled to play Cantù in the domestic season on Sunday.

Olimpia coach Ettore Messina called last week for the EuroLeague season to be suspended until March or April.

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The Danish soccer federation has put eight national team players and some staff members in quarantine after two positive tests for COVID-19.

The federation says the affected players will miss a friendly game against Sweden on Wednesday and will be tested again before a pair of Nations League games. Denmark will host Iceland and travel to Belgium.

Robert Skov of German club Hoffenheim is one of the people who tested positive. He is not thought to have become infected while in the national team camp.

The players now self-isolating include Barcelona forward Martin Braithwaite and Leipzig striker Yussuf Poulsen.

Denmark already did not select several players from Premier League clubs because of British government restrictions on people arriving from the Scandinavian country. Those restrictions on recent visitors to Denmark could force England’s home game against Iceland on Nov. 18 to be moved to a neutral venue.

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European qualifying in December for the Women’s Rugby World Cup next year in New Zealand has been postponed.

Ireland, Italy, Scotland and the winner of the postponed Women’s Rugby Europe Championship were to play on Dec. 5, 12 and 19. The winner qualifies directly for the World Cup, and the runner-up advances to a final qualification tournament in 2021.

But travel and quarantine challenges in Europe because of the pandemic have forced World Rugby and Rugby Europe to postpone European qualifying to new dates yet to be found.

Spain was to play in the two remaining matches in the Women’s Rugby Europe Championship in October against Russia and the Netherlands, but both were postponed.

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The remaining three rugby matches in the Women’s Six Nations have been canceled.

“Recent government and health authority restrictions affecting squad preparations, travel, and the inability to stage matches due to the sport’s amateur status have made the successful completion of the 2020 championship impossible,” Six Nations Rugby said in a statement.

The affected matches were: Italy-Scotland, Wales-Scotland, and France-Ireland. The latter two matches were to be played on Nov. 1 but postponed after Scottish and French players caught the virus.

The standings will remain.

England, the only team to play all five of its matches, won the Grand Slam. France was second, ahead of Ireland on points difference. Italy was fourth, Scotland fifth, and Wales last.

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