The Latest: Turkmenistan to restart suspended soccer league

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

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Turkmenistan is set to restart its suspended soccer league amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The Central Asian nation will become part of a small group of countries around the world where professional soccer is being played despite the virus outbreak. That includes the former Soviet nations of Belarus and Tajikistan, as well as Burundi and Nicaragua.

The eight-team Turkmenistan league was suspended on March 24. The national soccer federation says it will resume on April 19. Fans will be allowed to attend games.

Turkmenistan has not reported any cases of the coronavirus.

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The Russian sports minister says it’s time for international authorities to “turn a new page” and forget the country’s Olympic doping ban because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The World Anti-Doping Agency barred Russia from the Olympics for four years after ruling last year that doping data from a Moscow laboratory had been manipulated. The Court of Arbitration for Sport is to rule on whether the ban is valid but hearings have been delayed because of the health crisis.

Sports Minister Oleg Matytsin says the virus outbreak means the parties in the legal proceedings should avoid a ruling against Russia because it would fracture the Olympic movement.

He adds that “when you see that everyone is isolated and everyone is at home … people understand that now there are priorities and there are issues which go on the backburner. The priority is the future of the Olympic movement.”

Matytsin says sanctioning Russia would damage the Olympic movement and says the country is prepared to host more international sports events once the virus outbreak recedes.

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More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Gates stand locked outside the closed Manchester City Etihad Stadium, in Manchester, northern England, as the English Premier League soccer season has been suspended due to coronavirus, Thursday, April 9, 2020. The new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people, but for some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or death. (AP Photo/Jon Super)
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