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06/04 07:15 CDT The Latest: Italian soccer federation starts fund for clubs The Latest: Italian soccer federation starts fund for clubs By The Associated Press The Latest on the effects of the coronavirus outbreak on sports around the world: ___ The Italian soccer federation is launching a fund of nearly $25 million to help clubs and their members following the crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The Save Soccer Foundation will need definitive approval at a federation meeting on Monday. Federation president Gabriele Gravina says "it's an initiative which doesn't have precedents and represents a great assumption of responsibility which the (federation) is taking in favor of the whole soccer system." The fund consists of 21,700,000 euros ($24,500,000). It will give up to 5 million euros ($5.6 million) to each of the two divisions below Serie A as well as the same amount to support clubs from the amateur soccer league. It will also give up to 3 million euros ($3.4 million) to soccer players and the same amount to coaches and their staff. The fund will also provide 700,000 euros ($800,000) to help women's soccer clubs that are set to complete the season. ___ The European gymnastics championships have been moved to December after being postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic. The men's event will run from Dec. 9-13 and the women's championships from Dec. 17-20 in Baku, Azerbaijan. Baku was originally supposed to host only the men's championships but France couldn't reschedule the women's event after missing its planned dates in Paris in April and May. European Gymnastics president Farid Gayibov says the body will review the coronavirus situation and react accordingly "should the situation at a later date not be considered safe enough any more." The European championships for rhythmic gymnastics will stay in Kyiv, Ukraine, but are now set for Nov. 26-29. That is six months later than originally planned. All three championships were supposed to be tune-ups for the Tokyo Olympics but that event has been postponed to 2021. ___ Pope Francis is promoting a charity auction of sports items and experiences in support of two of the hospitals hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic in Italy. The "We Run Together" auction includes a personalized bicycle given to Francis by world champion Peter Sagan, a team jersey and captain's armband signed by former Roma forward Francesco Totti and a swim suit and hat from Olympic champion Federica Pellegrini. There are also experiences such as training sessions and dinners with various athletes. Francis says "the true values of sport are particularly important to face this period of pandemic and especially the difficult restart." The auctions will take place on the site Charitystars.com starting Monday for two months. There will be a new one every week and each auction will last 10 days. All funds raised will go to the Papa Giovanni XXIII hospital in Bergamo and Fondazione Poliambulanza in Brescia. ___ German soccer club Schalke has apologized to fans for asking them to justify their refunds for games played in empty stadiums because of the coronavirus pandemic. Schalke had asked for evidence of financial hardship if fans wanted tickets refunded this year rather than waiting until 2022. Schalke says it used "impersonal formulations lacking empathy" and fans will no longer be asked to submit documentary evidence of their personal finances. But the club says the approach was legal under German law. The Bundesliga was suspended in March because of the coronavirus outbreak and spectators have not been allowed to attend any of the games since the league restarted on May 16. Schalke has been hit hard financially by the pandemic. Executive board member Alexander Jobst said in March the club faced an existential threat. The team has also struggled on the field and hasn't won a league game since January. ___ The Swiss soccer league will restart several days earlier than planned to help Europa League contender Basel cope with a backlog of matches in August. The restart amid the coronavirus pandemic was set for June 19-21 in the top two divisions. The Swiss soccer federation now says Basel's Swiss Cup quarterfinal match against Lausanne Sport will be played without fans on June 14 instead of the Aug. 5-6 dates for the other quarterfinal matches. Basel is scheduled to resume play in the Europa League in early August. It holds a 3-0 lead over Eintracht Frankfurt from the first leg of the round of 16. Basel also faces a potential clash with this season's Europa League possibly overlapping with next season's preliminary rounds. Basel is currently in third place in the Swiss league and the third-place team should enter the Europa League qualifying rounds in late July or early August. ___ More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
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