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CDC issues guidance on mass gatherings that could shut down MLS, NWSL and USL for 2 months

The new guidelines directly name sporting events as the type of mass gatherings to halt during the next eight weeks.

(FILES) This file handout illustration image obtained February 3, 2020, courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and created at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reveals ultrastructural morphology exhibited by the novel coronavirus, COVID-19. - American health authorities said February 25, 2020 they ultimately expect the novel coronavirus to spread in the United States and are urging local governments, businesses, and schools to develop plans like canceling mass gatherings or switching to teleworking. The comments mark a significant escalation in the level of threat being conveyed to the US public and come amid fears of a pandemic, as the disease has taken root in several countries outside China, including Iran, Italy, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan and Thailand. (Photo by Lizabeth MENZIES / Centers for Disease Control and Prevention / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT "AFP PHOTO /CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION/ALISSA ECKERT/HANDOUT " - NO MARKETING - NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS (Photo by LIZABETH MENZIES/Centers for Disease Control and /AFP via Getty Images) ** OUTS - ELSENT, FPG, CM - OUTS * NM, PH, VA if sourced by CT, LA or MoD **
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released this ultrastructural morphology exhibited by the novel coronavirus, COVID-19. (Lizabeth Menzies/Centers for Disease Control/AFP via Getty Images)

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a new guideline Sunday suggesting mass gatherings of more than 50 people be restricted for an eight-week period, which would likely extend the suspension of all sports leagues.

The goal of the mandate is to slow the spread of the coronavirus pandemic by limiting the amount of large events that could spur mass transmission. Restricting these types of events can also reduce the introduction of the coronavirus into new communities.

The CDC listed sporting events as a form of mass gatherings that should avoided and suggested the cancellation or postponement of any event consisting of 50 people or more for the next eight weeks. While the guideline is not a government mandate, MLS, NWSL and USL have all followed previous CDC guidelines closely, including suggestions to self-quarantine players who have traveled from outside of the country.

MLS originally suspended all matches for 30 days and paused training through Friday this week.

The NWSL canceled all preseason matches and restricted training through March 22.

Both leagues issued statements the past week expressing their willingness to adhere to the suggestions of the CDC and other government health officials.

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