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MLS to Suspend Play Due to Coronavirus Pandemic Concerns

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This is the news we expected after last night but didn’t want to hear.

MLS: Inter Miami CF at D.C. United Scott Taetsch-USA TODAY Sports

Major League Soccer is suspending all games for 30 days, effective immediately, due to coronavirus concerns. The news was first reported by Grant Wahl of Sports Illustrated and confirmed by multiple writers from The Athletic. It has now been announced officially by the league as well.

This comes in the wake of many other sporting events being postponed and the NBA suspending play as of last night.

It appears the USMNT and USWNT will be affected by this as well. The USL ownership is voting this morning to decide that league’s plan but it will likely also suspend games.

The coronavirus pandemic has affected numerous events and leagues around the world, beginning with teams playing closed games without fans. However, soccer players have contracted the virus in Germany and Italy, and NBA players have tested positive for it as well. The NBA became the first major sports league in the United States to suspend all games last night after a Utah Jazz player tested positive for the coronavirus. Although the Jazz did not name the player in the team’s press release, it is widely considered that center Rudy Gobert was the player in question.

Last night, MLS released a statement saying the league and its clubs were working together to “implement procedures to ensure the safety of fans and communities by increasing cleaning staff, disinfecting high-traffic areas, sanitizing the facilities before and after each match, and making hand sanitizer available throughout venues.” The league had also mandated that all teams fly privately until further notice.

Today’s announcement was inevitable, given the growing concerns of the pandemic, the serious steps other leagues and events had taken, and — quite frankly — the certainty of litigation should anything happen to MLS’s (or its member clubs’) fans, players, or staff which could have been prevented by taking such steps. So now we must sit and wait to see if and when the fledgling 2020 MLS season will resume. Hopefully things will look better in 30 days.

At this point, there are far more questions than answers. The best thing for everyone to do now is to take preventative measures to keep themselves safe. There’s no need to panic. Just be smart, don’t put yourselves or others at risk, and if we all do our part this thing could blow over in a matter of weeks.

As for our plans here at The Mane Land, we will continue to provide what content we can as this story develops. We’ll search out new angles and request interviews to bring you new perspectives and stories. We have been planning ahead to get creative if this stoppage proves to be a long one. Let’s hope it isn’t.

Stay safe out there.