MLS‘s suspension of its season will now run into at least May, as the league extends its pause to follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Last week, MLS announced that it was suspending play for 30 days in response to COVID-19. A longer period of inaction has since become increasingly likely, however, particularly in the wake of the CDC’s issuance of guidelines on Sunday that include a recommendation that organizers cancel gatherings of more than 50 people for the next eight weeks (through at least May 10).
On Thursday, MLS announced that it is extending its suspension to align with the CDC’s recommendation. This puts MLS action on hold until at least May but, with the circumstances surrounding COVID-19 still evolving, it remains to be seen exactly when the league will resume play.
MLS says that it remains focused for now on playing a full schedule and is exploring all options to do so, including the possibility of playing the MLS Cup in December, as it did before last season. From the league’s statement:
In accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidance to postpone events involving more than 50 people over the next eight weeks, Major League Soccer has extended the postponement of its matches during this period of time. MLS remains focused on playing the entire 2020 season and is evaluating all options, including pushing back the end of the season and playing MLS Cup in December, as the league did prior to the 2019 season. The league is also identifying other available dates. Throughout this process, MLS will continue to prioritize the safety of our fans, players, employees and partners and to coordinate with federal and local public health authorities as well as other sporting organizations.
USL announced on Wednesday that Division II USL Championship and Division III USL League One would both extend their hiatuses in accordance with the CDC’s recommendation. USL Championship had previously announced a suspension of play for at least 30 days, while USL League One delayed the start of its season–originally set to begin in late March–by at least two weeks.
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