The coronavirus pandemic rocked the sports world last week after sweeping across the globe with unprecedented speed. Quickly, the disease went from something most people were unfamiliar with to a full on global pandemic. In response, sports leagues across the globe shut down their play in order to help limit the spread of the virus.
This included Major League Soccer. The league announced on Thursday, March 12, the suspension of play for at least 30 days due to the impact of the coronavirus. This also halted training through Sunday, March 15.
But on Sunday, MLS announced the League had extended its moratorium on player training through Friday, March 20 in response to the ongoing uncertainly over the coronavirus. This means the suspended training for all first team, reserve, and academy players will extend at least 15 more days, which keeps Columbus Crew SC players and staff away from the pitch for the next couple of weeks.
In a statement released on Sunday afternoon, MLS said that it expects players to “remain in each club’s respective market” and to adhere to safe social distancing measures. This comes prior to the news that a member of the Seattle Sounders support staff tested positive for the coronavirus. According to the Sounders, the staff member didn’t become ill until four days after the Crew’s March 7 match in Seattle. Given that the virus’s incubation period ranges from 1-14 days, with a median estimate of 5 days, Black & Gold players and staff will likely exercise an abundance of caution.
Players had been permitted to work out individually if they elected to do so but the league also stated that it was working with clubs, the MLS Players Association and other sports leagues to “finalize a protocol that would permit players to access training facilities for rehab or individual training under safe conditions” while the practice moratorium remains in place.
This is an ongoing story and Massive Report will provide any additional information as it becomes available.