The Latest: European club rugby competitions suspended

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Baylor head coach Kim Mulkey is shown during the second half of an NCAA women’s college basketball game against South Florida Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2020, in Tampa, Fla. No. 6 Baylor canceled its much-anticipated home game Thursday night against No. 3 UConn after Lady Bears coach Kim Mulkey tested positive for COVID-19. “I immediately self-quarantined and did not re-join the team when our staff and players came back from our holiday break on December 28,” Mulkey said in a statement Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2021. (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)

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

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European rugby officials have suspended their club competitions the Champions Cup and Challenge Cup after French clubs were ordered by their government not to play.

The government on Saturday wanted French clubs to stop playing British sides this month because of the surge of coronavirus cases in Britain, which is in lockdown.

Both competitions have two rounds of group matches to play.

European Professional Club Rugby hoped to avoid a break by introducing tougher health protocols, but the temporary withdrawal of French clubs ended that hope.

“While respecting all further directives by governments and local authorities, and prioritizing the health and welfare of players and club staff, EPCR, in conjunction with its shareholder leagues and unions, remains committed to trying to find a solution which will enable it to resume and complete the tournaments as soon as practicable,” EPCR said in a statement on Monday.

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The second one-day cricket international on Tuesday between the United Arab Emirates and Ireland has been postponed, and the series is at risk of being canceled.

Cricket Ireland says four more UAE players have tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the total to eight. The UAE remains in isolation.

Both boards are discussing rescheduling the other ODIs in Abu Dhabi that were to be played on Thursday and Saturday.

The teams have played only one of the schedule four, last Friday. Then three UAE players got the virus and the match on Sunday was postponed to Saturday.

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Browns coach Kevin Stefanski expects to be back with his team this week after missing Sunday night’s playoff win over Pittsburgh with COVID-19.

Stefanski tested positive for the novel coronavirus last week and had to watch Cleveland’s 48-37 victory over the Steelers from his home’s basement. Stefanski admitted he nervously paced the floor during the game and has a new appreciation for what fans go through on game day.

“I don’t plan on doing that again,” he said. “I like to have some control.”

Stefanski anticipates returning to the Browns’ facility on Thursday. Cleveland plays the Super Bowl champion Chiefs on Sunday in Kansas City.

Stefanski said he lost his sense of taste, but otherwise has only experienced mild symptoms.

Following the game, Stefanski was able to celebrate with his players, who contacted him on FaceTime from Pittsburgh’s Heinz Field.

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The men’s basketball game Tuesday between No. 13 West Virginia and No. 2 Baylor in Waco, Texas, has been postponed due to COVID-19 issues with the Mountaineers.

West Virginia said in a statement that it will work with Baylor and the Big 12 to reschedule the game.

Both teams last played on Saturday. Baylor’s next scheduled game is on Saturday at No. 15 Texas Tech, while West Virginia is slated to host TCU on Saturday.

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The Baylor women’s basketball team has had another game postponed because of COVID-19 issues. The Lady Bears will not be able to meet the Big 12 roster threshold to play Wednesday’s game at Kansas.

Baylor (8-1) hasn’t played since its 74-50 win at TCU on Jan. 2. Coach Kim Mulkey missed that game after being exposed at Christmas to a family member who tested positive for the virus. Mulkey had tested negative three times before a positive test on Jan. 4, the day she planned to return to the team. The team paused team activities after Mulkey’s positive test.

The Lady Bears postponed home games last week against UConn and Kansas State. Their next scheduled game is Saturday at home against Iowa State.

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Scottish soccer authorities have suspended the professional game below the top two divisions for three weeks because of an escalation in coronavirus cases in the country.

The suspension applies to the men’s leagues below the Championship, the leading two women’s leagues, and the men’s Scottish Cup.

The Scottish Football Association says the top-flight Premiership is exempt “provided it continues to adhere to the stringent testing protocols” while teams in the second-tier Championship must start weekly testing.

Scottish FA chairman Rod Petrie says “the risk of mass transportation of untested, largely part-time players is something that cannot be sustained as the cases continue to rise and available hospital beds become increasingly scarce.”

A national lockdown is in place in Scotland until the end of January at least.

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