MLS Suspends the League for 30 days

By Sean McCaffery, March 12, 2020

Is this a reaction or an over reaction to the Corona Virus? Basel & Eintracht just kicked off in an all but empty stadium a little while ago. The following is a compilaton of no less than half a dozen notices from various teams within the league in no particualar order. The last paragraph will have my take on it, I know next to nothing on the disease and medicine in general, just figured to put it out there. 

The Vancouver Whitecaps will have their CEO, Mark Pannes a Fordham Law Grad. made available to the media, he has been in place just over two months but has a wealth of experience here and overseas even with the federal gov't. He is set to address the media at 2p.m. PT from their Gastown office, at which time he will addressing the MLS suspension of games, as of today. Following the media time with the CEO, the Whitecaps further let it be known "The health and safety of our supporters, fans, players and staff is our top priority. We will continue to follow the guidance of health authorities and MLS to ensure that appropiate procedures are in place to protect our community. We appreciate the understanding and patience of our supporters and fans at this unprecented time." All tickets are to be honored for the new dates, more contact will be made to those with seats ASAP. Further they state "As you know, we are facing a perioid of unprecedented uncertainty and disruption across the globe related to the COVID-19 health pandemic. Our football club and league have not been spared from the realitiies of this situation., Please know we are grateful for your support as we work our way through all of this." Everyday they will put out updates on at 11a.m & 5p.m., they will further be in touch via email on a regular basis, should you have further concerns, please reach out to them via email.

Locally, the New York Red Bulls have issued a statement. They do of course support this unprecedented suspension of play for both the MLS & USL as being in the public health's best interest. The team has been and I am sure will continue to stay abreast of any and all developments relative to the Corona Virus locally as well as staying in good contact with the leagues. These efforts do of course fall in line with the CDC and other such groups and their recommendations. An unattributed quote from the team, "Nothing is more important than the health an safety of our fans, players & staff. As an organization we will continue to take the precautions for the well-being of players and staff during the suspension and urge all of our supporters and the general public to do the same. We remain in close contact with MLS' and USL's task forces and local officials and will continue further updates as information becomes available. This statement comes following the lead of the NBA who suspended their season, Wed. evening while we were still at RBA for the CCL game with MLS club NYCFC & Tigres. Before the season was suspended a pair of MLS games had been postponed with over 1,000 confirmed cases of the Corona VIrus in the US, Seattle and San Jose had already taken this preventitive measure. As South by Southwest was cancelled, the eMLS Cup, set for March 21 in Austin TX was postponed. LAFC due to meet up with Cruz Azul in CCL play has also been suspended for a minimum of 30 days. US Soccer also canceled all NT games in March and April, covering just over a month and a half.

MLS, with NY offices put out, that they have suspended match play for 30 days, effective immediately, and they will of course continue to consider the effect of the  COVID-19, with their medical task force and public health officials. When the correct time comes, they will make it known the way in which the season will re-start and keep up on the status of league events. From long time MLS commish., Don Garber "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 (CDC), Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) & other puplic 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 challlenging time."

NYCFC, we attended their game last night, a closley played and tightly fought 1-0 loss in the last minutes of play, this loss to Tigres in Concacaf, Champions Leauge play. Their staff did explain that for interviews, the players would be further away for the safety of all, a few did stop and talk, while none of the Tigres team, the victors did, the Concacaf media attache did not offer an explaination when asked why and if any of the Tigres players would talk. Team CEO, Brad Sims put forth this statement for the team, "The health and saftey of our fans, players and staff is-and alwas has been-our number one priority. After monitoring the COVID-19 situation extremely closely with out partners at MLS & city, state & federal agencies, we fully support the League's Decision to suspend the 2020 season for a 30-day-time period. Together, we will be diligent, using this break to evaluate and resond to the rapidly changing situation. We remain committed to the health practices outlined by the CDC and encourage all NYCFC fans and New Yorkers to do the same. We would like to thank NYCFC fans for their understanding and support during this challenging time. "The team will be sure that all ticket sales wil be honored once effected games are reschduled. If it is determined that any games are to be cancelleed of played behind-closed-doors-NYCFC will work hand in hand with such ticket holder to assure refunds or credits for future games are taken care of. Concacaf has also suspended the 2020 Champions League for the same reason. The team will stay in touch with fans and more team information will be found on and team social channels. 

The Chicago Fire statement: MLS has suspended play for 30 days, while the league keeps on evaluating the effect of COVID-19 with their medial task force and public health officials. This will of course include the Fire homecoming match Mar. 21 @ Soldier Field. All seats for the home opener will be honored on the rescheduled date. The team will deal with ticket holders for the desired credits or refunds for this and other games impacted, an email is being sent out by their respective Account Representative. Club Pres. Nelson Rodriguez had this to say, "We all share in the health and well-being of our community. We will continue regular dialouge with all city, state, national and league authorities on issues relating to COVID-19 and will provide fans and partners updates accordingly."

Some teams are not making statement so much as parroting what the league has to say, these emails have been coming in for hours. A few teams give far better details than the others, thus far only one has offered up a representitive to offer anything. Nowhere yet have I seen if this would include training, if so a few more weeks would have to be added to get players fit again, and what of those injured and their getting treatment? Soccer is unique in that players are from all over the world, more so than any, even baseball here, so players may not be with their teams for a month, should they be from a nation with a far lower rate of infection are they able to leave, will they be able to get back? This is of course a rapidly developing issue and is unprecedented on a world wide scale.

My take on this is based on personal opinion and on the limited information I have gotten from various sources, so varying widely. Just now in a presser NYC states 1% of all cases will be in an ICU, elsewhere I am seeing a 3% fatiality rate? One figure shows 133,000 cases and 5,000 deaths, worldwide, in the US the flu will afflict some 9.3-49 million causing up to  960,000 to be in the hospital and 12-80,000 deaths (2011-'12) . DWI kills 29 daily here, one every 50 seconds with the overall cost of these accidents put at $44 billiion. 2018 saw 40% of all fatal accidents DWI related, in 1985, 18,125 died in such accidents, 10,511 in 2018 from 1/2 now, 1/3. Over 1 million are arested that is 1 of every 227 licensed drivers, some 300,000 are thought to do DWI daily, and doing so an average of 80 times! The other day there were 105,000 with Corona, 58,000 were already getting better. It is thought that 20% of all exposed to Corona will get sick, not stated, if that is just with flu like symptoms or worse. Not nearly enough is known of this and it is new, what is best, that is changing constantly. As of now as stated before the flu is far worse even with it's treatment and preventative measures and DWI far outpaces both in being prevented. I do hope this is figured out ASAP, and that the measures put in place on this are then put in to combat other issues. On a personal note, my hometown of Syosset and the other local towns have lead to me having a list over over 600 cases of cancer, most fatal, yet the local powers that be are sitting on their hands this is far worse than Love Canal. Please follow the measures such as washing hands with soap for 20 or so seconds, sneeze into a tissue then dispose of it etc. always a good idea anyway. Wishing all the best.