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MLS extends team training suspension as coronavirus outbreak worsens

22:11 GMT 20/03/2020
Michael Bradley Lodeiro MLS Cup
The competition is taking measures to protect its stakeholders with the pandemic getting worse worldwide

Major League Soccer has extended the suspension on team training for another seven days as part of the league's efforts to combat the spread of coronavirus.

The halt to training activities was first implemented from March 13 to 15 before being extended until the 20th of the month with the Covid-19 outbreak getting worse in North America.

But the governing body announced in a statement that the break in team practice would be extended for a week and urged the players to practice measures to help stop the pandemic getting worse.

"Major League Soccer has extended the team training moratorium through, and including, Friday, March 27. During this time, MLS players are expected to remain in each club’s respective market and have been advised to exercise safe social distancing measures," a statement from MLS said.

"At this time, team training facilities may only be accessed for physical therapy purposes at the direction of club medical staff to ensure adherence to safety protocols.

"MLS remains in close contact with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) on this continually evolving situation and will provide further updates as they become available."

The league is currently targeting a May 10 return date for competition after a decision from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to cancel all mass gatherings of 50 or more people over the next eight weeks.

With the decision to postpone, the MLS season could extend all the way through December after the league pushed the MLS Cup forward to November for the first time during the 2019 season.

In the National Women's Soccer League, the cancellation of team training has been extended further until April 4 with the start of the season pushed back until April 18.

The competition admitted that it may alter pre-season and regular competition fixtures to ensure the health and safety of stakeholders.

"As we continue to follow the guidelines released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Women’s Soccer League has extended its training moratorium through and including Sunday, April 5, 2020," an NWSL statement said.

"As a result, our regular season start, scheduled for April 18, will be delayed. We are considering all possible implications for the preseason and regular season schedules while prioritizing the health and safety of our players, staff and fans."