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The MLS has suspended their 2020 season for at least 30 days due to the COVID-19 outbreak that has spread across the globe. The U.S. Soccer Federation also announced that all friendlies scheduled are canceled for both the men’s and women’s teams.
“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,” MLS said Thursday in a statement.
MLS commissioner Don Garber said, “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.”
The announcement to postpone the season came just 24 hours after matches to be played in coronavirus hot spots of Seattle and San Jose were canceled.
The plan to resume the MLS season won’t come for at least 30 days, but reports suggest that the league wants to play again with crowds rather than without spectators. With the league just two games into their 2020 season, allows them more flexibility to alter the schedule.
The U.S. Soccer Federation’s cancellation of matches will force the men’s national team to miss games against the Netherlands and Wales at the end of this month. After winning the SheBelieves Cup on Wednesday, the women’s national team has pulled out of matches against Australia and Brazil.
“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,” said U.S. Soccer’s chief medical officer George Chiampas.
The coronavirus outbreak will also halt the CONCACAF Champions League as all matches have been postponed for the tournament that was ready to begin their quarterfinal round.
With all the postponements, news leaked Thursday night that U.S. Soccer president Carlos Cordeiro, the face of a contentious lawsuit with the women’s soccer team over equal pay, resigned effective immediately.
Cordeiro became the face of a firestorm after legal filings in the case stated that women do not perform equal work requiring equal skill and effort compared to the men’s national team.
The filing faced serious outrage and backlash culminating in the women’s team wearing their warmup shirts inside out to hide the U.S. Soccer logo, a protest that gained media coverage around the world.
After the match, high-profile players such as Megan Rapinoe took offense at the language of the lawsuit and urged sponsors to stand up for the team. Companies such as Coca-Cola, Budweiser and Visa collectively expressed their shock at the legal filing and issued statements expressing disappointment.
For more live updates on how the coronavirus pandemic is affecting the sporting world check out WSN’s live updates page.
The next World Cup is scheduled to be played in Qatar during the month of December in 2022.
If the 2020 Olympics are held in Tokyo, then the U.S. Women’s National Team will play in the event barring a suspension due to the coronavirus.
The 2020 MLS Cup is scheduled to be held on November 7th.
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