Valentino Rossi and Federica Pellegrini are the latest high-profile athletes to test positive for COVID-19.
Nine-times world champion Rossi will miss this weekend’s MotoGP Aragon Grand Prix as the coronavirus pandemic continues to wreak havoc on world sport.
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Rossi’s fellow Italian national sporting hero, multiple world swimming champion Pellegrini, revealed she also contracted COVID-19 in a social media post on Thursday.
Rossi, a 41-year-old legend of motorsport, and 2008 Olympic champion Pellegrini, become the latest major sporting names to be hit by the virus.
The news also came on a day when there were more question marks over whether the Giro d'Italia, one of the world's great cycle races, should be called off as another leading team declared that the tour should be ended a week early.
It was also announced on Thursday that European soccer clubs could lose an estimated 5.2 to 6.3 billion euros ($6.1-7.4 billion) in revenues due to the impact of the pandemic, while in American Football, the Atlanta Falcons shut down their facility following one new positive test for COVID-19.
Rossi becomes the first MotoGP rider to contract the illness.
“Unfortunately this morning I woke up and I was not feeling good,” he tweeted.
“My bones were sore and I had a slight fever, so I immediately called the doctor who tested me twice.
“The 'quick PCR test' result was negative, just like the test I underwent on Tuesday but the second one, of which the result was sent to me at 4pm this afternoon, was unfortunately positive.
“I am so disappointed that I will have to miss the race at Aragon.
“I am sad and angry because I did my best to respect the protocol, and although the test I had on Tuesday was negative, I self-isolated since my arrival from Le Mans (following the French Grand Prix at the weekend).”
Pellegrini reveals positive COVID-19 test
The 32-year-old Pellegrini, who intends to take part in her fifth and final Olympic Games in Tokyo next year, was due to leave for the International Swimming League event in Budapest but felt unwell after training on Wednesday.
“Unfortunately I have some bad news: yesterday I stopped training because I felt pain and on the way home I also got a sore throat. So this afternoon I took a swab and I tested positive for Covid,” she said in a tearful Instagram post.
“I was supposed to leave on Monday for Budapest to take part in the ISL,” added the 200 metre freestyle world record holder.
In football, European Club Association chairman Andrea Agnelli spelt out the potential financial calamity for world soccer with the dire forecast about finances.
“Without competitions we don’t have access to certain items in our economic accounts and without these the system becomes unsustainable,” Agnelli, who also serves as the Juventus chairman, told a shareholder meeting of the Italian Serie A club.
Agnelli said the forecast included stadium losses, the impact the emergency had on medium-to-long-term commercial agreements and TV rights contracts that had to be renegotiated.
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