North America’s Major League Soccer (MLS) has suspended all of its games for the next 30 due to ongoing concerns about the outbreak of novel coronavirus (Covid-19).
The United States Soccer Federation, meanwhile, has called off all men’s and women’s national team matches scheduled in March and April.
The 2020 MLS season only kicked off on February 29, but the campaign will now be halted with immediate effect as the league continues to assess the impact of novel coronavirus.
The MLS said further updates about rescheduled games would be announced at an appropriate time.
“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, Public Health Agency of Canada, and other public health authorities, and in the best interest of our fans, players, officials and employees,” MLS commissioner Don Garber said.
Meanwhile, US Soccer has also cancelled all national team games through to the end of April in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
The US men’s team had been due to play friendly matches in Europe against The Netherlands and Wales later this month, while the women’s team had US-based games scheduled against Australia and Brazil.
US Soccer chief medical officer George Chiampas said: “With the health of our players, coaches, staff and fans as our main priority, US 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, 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.”
The two announcements come after the National Basketball Association today (12 March) also suspended its 2019-20 season after a Utah Jazz player tested positive for the coronavirus.
Though the NBA did not name the player who tested positive, Jazz centre Rudy Gobert had been ruled questionable with an illness going into the game and multiple reports had named Gobert as the affected player.
Italy’s top football division Serie A has suspended all games until April 3, while Spain’s LaLiga has postponed at least the next two rounds of matches.