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Sports resume during the Pandemic

Sports resume during the Pandemic

After nearly 4 months of no sports due to covid-19 some leagues have revived their activities and here in North America the first one to do so is the NWSL (National Women’s Soccer League) which kicked off its activities with a month long tournament from June 27th to July 26th, called The Challenge Cup. The regular season which was to start on April 18th was cancelled like many other sporting events throughout the world.
The one month tournament was to have a format of 25 matches with all 9 teams playing a preliminary round and 8 teams advancing to a knockout bracket. But it was recently announced that the Orlando Pride had to withdraw from the tournament due to positive covid-19 testing in some players and staff. The tournament is still scheduled to continue and no news if the format will change due to the Pride’s withdrawal at this time.
The league has announced that all precautions have been taken to keep the players and staff safe during the tournament, conducing daily tests, and having the teams living in a village located in Salt Lake City, Utah. No spectators are allowed to watch the matches, but all games will be streamed and/or televised. The NBA has announced a return to basketball with a 22-team competitive format that is scheduled to start on July 31st. There will be an Eastern and Western Conference with the top 8 teams from each conference that were already in playoff contention when the league stopped back in March. The remaining 6 teams on board are the ones that were 6 games or less behind the 8th place in their conferences.
Each team is scheduled to play 8 games. Once the games have been played, the 7 teams from each conference with the best record —from both the regular season and the current format— will qualify for the playoffs, and the 8th seed will get an automatic berth if only they are ahead by more than 4 games. If its less than 4 games, a play-in tournament will have to be carried out between the 8th and 9ths seeded teams. The playoffs will have the regular conference based format.
The Raptors are ready to defend their title and flew down to Florida on June 22 to settle in Fort Myers before they check in to the NBA camps in early July. Teams are not allowed to hold any group trainings until they check into the NBA camps located at the Disney grounds. However the Raptors are eager and ready to defend their title: they were sitting in 2nd place in the Eastern Conference behind the Milwaukee Bucks. Holding on to this spot is important for playoff contention if a number 1 is not achievable, should the Bucks continue their great performance in the re-start of the tournament.
The Raptors ended the regular season before the stoppage with a 46-18 record higher even than the previous season with Kawhi Leonard, and many have given them a slim chance of retaining the title. Regardless of the odds —and sporting opinions are stacked against them— the team has declared that they are eager and ready to resume play. No doubt that players like Siakam, Lowry, VanVleet, and Gasol will want to keep their winning streak and percentage heading into the playoffs and a potential repeat of last year’s success.

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