The Latest: SEC postpones start of three fall sports

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

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The Southeastern Conference is postponing the start of volleyball, soccer and cross country competition through at least the end of August because of COVID-19.

The league says that provides more time to prepare for a safe return to competition on an adjusted timeline. The decision includes all exhibition and non-conference games.

Each school will be responsible for any rescheduling of non-conference contests impacted by the postponement.

The league hasn’t made any announcement on the football season. The Big Ten and Pac-12 have opted to only play conference games.

The SEC’s 14 athletic directors convened Monday at league headquarters in Alabama to discuss fall sports.

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The New England Patriots have joined a growing list of NFL teams who hope to play home games this season in front of a significantly reduced number of fans to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.

The team announced Tuesday that it plans to play in front of about 20% of Gillette Stadium’s capacity, if approved by state and local officials. The stadium’s capacity is just under 66,000.

The Patriots also informed season ticket holders that if fans are allowed at the stadium, they will be asked to adhere to physical distancing of at least six feet. Tickets will be arranged in blocks of 10 seats or fewer, with the first eight rows of the stadium not in use. Face coverings will also be required at all times, parking for home games will be free at all Gillette Stadium lots, and all tickets will be mobile.

Patriots season ticket holders will have the first opportunity to purchase individual game tickets. Any remaining ticket inventory will go on sale to the general public.

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The U.S. Tennis Association has canceled several amateur events scheduled in August because of the coronavirus pandemic but is still planning to hold the U.S. Open starting Aug. 31.

USTA National Championships in certain junior age groups for singles and doubles are being scrapped.

That includes boys’ 18s in Orlando and girls’ 18s in San Diego in singles; boys’ 16s in Rome, Georgia, and girls’ 16s in Mobile, Alabama, in singles; and boys’ and girls’ 12s through 18s doubles in Orlando.

Men’s and women’s USTA National Grass Court Championships in Newport, Rhode Island, are also among the tournaments eliminated.

The USTA says “there was an inherent risk associated with hosting large numbers of individuals at one site, at one time, and would make risk mitigation difficult.”

The group says the sort of COVID-19 testing and universal housing planned for the U.S. Open “would logistically and financially be incredibly difficult to create” at these national events.

All sanctioned tennis has been suspended since March because of the pandemic. Competition is scheduled to resume in August.

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The Swiss Indoors tennis tournament has been canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Organizers say it would be “irresponsible and logistically difficult to go ahead” amid uncertainty about public health and the economy.

Tournament head Roger Brennwald says “social distancing or matches played behind closed doors were out of the question for us from the start.”

Roger Federer is a 10-time champion at the tournament in his hometown of Basel but he was set to miss the 50th edition of the event. He is skipping the rest of the 2020 season to let his right knee recover from two surgeries.

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

A ball carrier wears a face mask prior to the friendly soccer match between Paris Saint Germain and Le Havre, in Le Havre, western France, Sunday, July 12, 2020. For the first time since the coronavirus shut down sports and chased away spectators, Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and other soccer stars are going to play again in front of fans. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)
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