Advertisement

Dear Readers,

The coronavirus pandemic has caused widespread disruption to the lives of everyone in Tampa Bay and to so many businesses in our community. Here at the Tampa Bay Times, we continue to provide free, up-to-date information at tampabay.com/coronavirus as a public service. But we need your help. Please consider supporting us by subscribing or donating, and by sharing our work. Thank you.

  1. Sports
  2. /
  3. Rowdies

MLS shutting down for 30 days due to coronavirus

The soccer league expects the full season to eventually be played.
A man makes use of a hand-sanitizing station at CenturyLink Field prior to an MLS soccer match between the Seattle Sounders and the Chicago Fire on Sunday. The league has now suspended play for at least 30 days. [TED S. WARREN | AP]

Coronavirus outbreak stories are free to read as a public service at tampabay.com/coronavirus. Sign up for our DayStarter newsletter to receive updates weekday mornings. If this coverage is important to you, consider supporting local journalism by subscribing to the Tampa Bay Times at tampabay.com/subscribe.

• • •

FORT LAUDERDALE — Major League Soccer is shutting down for 30 days because of the coronavirus, delaying the home opener for the expansion team co-owned by former England captain David Beckham.

“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, Public Health Agency of Canada and other public health authorities,” MLS Commissioner Don Garber said in a statement Thursday.

Inter Miami, co-owned by Beckham and Jorge Mas, had been scheduled to play its home opener Saturday. MLS started its season on Feb. 29 and each of the 26 teams has played two league matches.

In addition, the U.S. Soccer Federation canceled exhibitions in March and April for its men’s and women’s national teams. The men had been scheduled to play the Netherlands in Eindhoven on March 26 and Wales four days later in Cardiff, preparation for the scheduled start of World Cup qualifying in September. The women had been slated to face Australia at Sandy, Utah, on April 10 and Brazil four days later at San Jose, California.

Mas told Inter Miami players and coaches of the MLS suspension late Thursday morning, then held a news conference at the team’s temporary stadium.

“We think it is a prudent decision by the league, because obviously we want to protect our players and protect our fans as much as is possible for us to undertake,” Mas said. “We look with optimism that we can continue building here in South Florida.”

Mas says he expects the full 34-match season to be played. He was on the league’s board of governors call on Thursday when when the decision was made, and said it was not a difficult choice.

For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.

The vast majority of people recover from the new virus. According to the World Health Organization, people with mild illness recover in about two weeks, while those with more severe illness may take three to six weeks to recover. In mainland China, where the virus first exploded, more than 80,000 people have been diagnosed and more than 58,000 have so far recovered.

Inter Miami’s stadium is located in Broward County, where seven COVID-19 cases have been confirmed as of Thursday morning. Cases have also been confirmed in Palm Beach County, on Broward’s north border, and Miami-Dade County on Broward’s south border.

“We were 48 hours from kickoff with a tremendous amount of excitement in our community and having a full house here on Saturday,” Mas said. “That does not change. It’ll just be a different date.”

Inter Miami sporting director Paul McDonough said calls would be held later Thursday to determine exactly how the team will spend the time off. Saturday would have been the first time an MLS match was played in South Florida since 2001, and Beckham’s group has been working toward getting a team back in the area for about six years.

Mas said this is just another challenge along that road.

“We’ll deal with it the best way,” Mas said.

• • •

Tampa Bay Times coronavirus guide

Q&A: The latest and all your questions answered.

PROTECT YOURSELF: Household cleaners can kill the virus on most surfaces, including your phone screen.

BE PREPARED: Guidelines for essentials to keep in your home should you have to stay inside.

STOCK UP YOUR PANTRY: Foods that should always be in your kitchen, for emergencies and everyday life.

FACE MASKS: They offer some protection, but studies debate their effectiveness.

WORKPLACE RISK: A list of five things employers could be doing to help curb the spread of the disease.

READER BEWARE: Look out for bad information as false claims are spreading online.

OTHER CORONAVIRUS WEBSITES:

CDC

Florida Department of Health

We’re working hard to bring you the latest news on coronavirus in Florida. This effort takes a lot of resources to gather and update. If you haven’t already subscribed, please consider buying a print or digital subscription.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement