Major League Soccer has announced that all matches have been suspended for 30 days amid the outbreak of the novel Covid-19 coronavirus.
A full card of games was scheduled to take place this weekend – including David Beckham's Inter Miami's first home match – with Atlanta United and Sporting KC sitting atop the Eastern and Western conferences, respectively.
The spread of coronavirus has forced the league's hand, however, with the US top tier following suit with several other leagues across the world in an attempt to prevent more people becoming infected.
An official statement released by MLS reads: “Major League Soccer has suspended match play for 30 days, effective immediately, as the league continues to assess the impact of Covid-19 with its medical task force and public health officials.
“At the appropriate time, the league and clubs will communicate plans for the continuation of the 2020 season and update the status of league events.”
MLS commissioner Don Garber added: “Our clubs were united today in the decision to temporarily suspend our season – based on advice and guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), and other public health authorities, and in the best interest of our fans, players, officials and employees.
“We'd like to thank our fans for their continued support during this challenging time.”
U.S. soccer has also announced that friendlies involving its men and women's national teams in the coming weeks have been cancelled.
The U.S. men's Under-23 side is currently in Mexico for the Olympic qualifying tournament, which is set to get under way on March 20, and is in constant contact with Concacaf officials regarding the status of the tournament.
MLS joins Serie A in suspending its matches, with Italian prime minister Giuseppe Conte calling a halt to all sporting events across the country as they endeavour to control the spread of the outbreak. Two Serie A players have already tested positive for the virus.
La Liga also joined the list on Thursday, with a member of Real Madrid's basketball team – who use the same training facilities as the football team – testing positive and hence forcing the entire club into quarantine.
In the Premier League, both Arsenal and Leicester have been affected, but the majority of games in the English top tier are set to go ahead.
In Germany, the DFB released a statement of their own, with General Secretary Friedrich Curtius stating: “We have to deal with all the possible scenarios in order to be prepared in case of an interruption or even an early end of the season.
“The goal remains, of course, to finish the season in a regular sporting manner. But the health authorities have the decisive word. We'll follow these guidelines without any ifs and buts, and we consistently align the organisation of match operations, which is the core task of the DFB and its associations, with them."