Major League Soccer took the unprecedented step of suspending its 2020 season for 30 days amid further spreading of the coronavirus pandemic.
“Our clubs were united today in the decision to temporarily suspend our season — based on the advice and guidance of 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 in a statement released Thursday morning. “We’d like to thank fans for their continued support during this challenging time.”
The decision, first reported by Sports Illustrated, came as United States officials are trying to limit large-scale gatherings throughout the country in an attempt to slow the spread of the virus. The league and its medical task force will continue to evaluate the impact of COVID-19, the disease caused by the globally spreading SARS-CoV-2 virus.
MLS also canceled the Generation adidas Cup, a prestigious youth competition, scheduled to run from April 4-11 in Frisco, Texas. There were 40 academies from 11 countries set to compete.
The NBA suspended the remainder of its regular season Wednesday night after a Utah Jazz player tested positive for coronavirus. The NHL announced an indefinite pause of its season Thursday. The NCAA announced Wednesday the men and women’s basketball tournaments would be played without fans in attendance before canceling the tournament completely Thursday.
The MLS suspension came on the heels of the league closing locker rooms to media.
MLS is following other soccer leagues around the world, including Serie A in Italy being suspended until at least April 3. There are reports the UEFA Champions League may be suspended and the European championships being moved until 2021.
Some leagues have decided to play behind closed doors. La Liga will play without fans until at least March 22, while France’s top two leagues will keep its doors shut until April 15. Portugal’s top two tiers will also play games without fans in attendance this weekend.