Major League Soccer has announced it is suspending its season for 30 days due to coronavirus concerns.
MLS commissioner Don Garber said in a statement:
“Our clubs were united today in the decision to temporarily suspend our season — based on the advice and guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), and other public health authorities, and in the best interest of our fans, players, officials and employees. We’d like to thank our fans for their continued support during this challenging time.”
MLS noted that: “At the appropriate time, the league and clubs will communicate plans for the continuation of the 2020 season and update the status of league events.”
US Soccer Follows Suit
Yet another domino fell today as the U.S. Soccer Federation announced that international friendlies involving both the USMNT and the USWNT would be postponed. The U.S. Women’s National Team was set to play a pair of friendlies against Australia on March 26 in California before hosting Brazil in Utah on March 30.
Gregg Berhalter and the United States Men were set to travel to Europe to challenge The Netherlands at Eindhoven on April 10 and then Gareth Wales led Wales side in Cardiff on April 14.
CONCACAF Champions League Also Postponed
With the Coronavirus shutting down public events across the world the CCL was unlikely to be immune and so it is no surprise that the club championship for the federation representing North America, Central America, and the Caribbean have also been halted, with last night’s games between NYCFC and Tigres and Club America versus Atlanta United the final games in the competition, for now, after both Mexican sides emerged victorious on the road.
Los Angeles FC versus Cruz Azul was to be played tonight in Los Angeles, instead, that match becomes the first game in the 2020 CCL to be postponed.
It’s All About Safety
In the wake of the league’s announcements, individual clubs across MLS released statements of support with NYCFC CEO Brad Sims among others emphasizing health concerns.
“The health and safety of our fans, players and staff is – and always has been – our number one priority. After monitoring the COVID-19 situation extremely closely with our partners at MLS and city, state and federal agencies, we fully support the League’s decision to suspend the 2020 season for a 30-day time period.”
CONCACAF Olympic Qualifiers?
Still unannounced is the fate of the CONCACAF Men’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament. The event has yet to be canceled, although given the tenor of the times it is inconceivable that the tournament can proceed as planned. We will await further developments.
Here is how U.S. Soccer broke the news.
Due to the ongoing uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic across the world, U.S. Soccer has canceled the upcoming #USMNT & #USWNT games in March & April, and the majority of #USYNT and Extended National Team matches and camps that were planned through the end of April.
A Word From an Expert
And finally here is George Chiampas, U.S. Soccer’s chief medical officer, explaining the organizations’ decision.
“With the health of our players, coaches, staff and fans as our main priority, U.S. Soccer has decided it was in the best interest to cancel the majority of our upcoming domestic and international camps at all levels, including our senior Men’s and Women’s National Team games in March and April, due to the outbreak of COVID-19.
“We have been in communication with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as well as state and local departments of public health, and after those conversations and continuously monitoring the situation, we strongly believe this is the best decision considering the ongoing worldwide health situation.”