J-League to hold 11 games without fans
TOKYO • Japan's J-League has barred fans from 11 upcoming matches in its top two divisions during a Covid-19 state of emergency starting yesterday, Kyodo news agency reported.
Japan on Friday declared "short and powerful" states of emergency for Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto and Hyogo to contain a resurgent pandemic wave three months before the Olympics.
Big sporting events are required to be held without spectators until May 11 and the J-League announced on Saturday that seven matches in western Japan would be held behind closed doors, the first under such conditions since July.
Over 78k fans attend Aussie Rules match
MELBOURNE • Just over 78,000 spectators packed a Melbourne stadium yesterday for an Australian Rules football match, in what is believed to be the biggest crowd at a sporting fixture since the Covid-19 pandemic began.
However, the crowd size at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) fell short of expectations that 85,000 could attend the traditional Anzac Day match between the Collingwood Magpies and Essendon Bombers.
The MCG can seat 100,000 people and the Australian Football League had hoped health authorities would allow the match to be played in front of a capacity stadium. However, officials ordered ticket sales to be capped at 85 per cent of capacity.
England pip France to Six Nations crown
LONDON • Reigning champions England beat France 10-6 in the women's Six Nations final at the Twickenham Stoop on Saturday.
Number eight Poppy Cleall scored the only try of the match as England won a third successive Six Nations title in what was their eighth straight victory over France. Both teams are in the same group in next year's Covid-delayed Women's Rugby World Cup in New Zealand.
The pandemic meant that instead of all Six Nations teams playing each other, they were split into two pools of three.