Following the lead of the five major European leagues and Major League Soccer, CONCACAF has suspended all international play for the next 30 days due to the rapidly expanding COVID-19 pandemic.
Most notably, the blanket suspension of play includes the second leg of CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals. It also includes the CONCACAF Olympic qualifiers which were scheduled to begin play on March 20.
“The CONCACAF Council took these decisions with the welfare of everyone involved in mind, and in light of developing travel restrictions and public health guidance,” the official statement announcing the suspension of play read. “CONCACAF is committed to working with key stakeholders to consider options on how and when to reconvene these competitions and any new decision will be communicated in due course.”
MLS squads did not fare well in the first legs of CCL quarterfinal action, with Montreal, NYCFC, and Atlanta United all trailing after 90 minutes of play. LAFC’s match against Cruz Azul had already been postponed and therefore did not commence first leg play.
The United States U-23 squad was preparing to play in CONCACAF Olympic qualification, drawn into Group A of the competition with Mexico, Costa Rica, and the Dominican Republic. Head coach Jason Kreis had recently announced the roster of players which did not include European-based stars such as Christian Pulisic or Tyler Adams, but did include a number of high-level domestic stars like Paxton Pomykal. Kreis called the competition “incredibly important” for the United States, having failed to qualify for an Olympic games since 2008.
Also affected by the suspension of play is the first round of the Concacaf 2021 Gold Cup Qualifiers involving countries such as Guatemala, Barbados, and the Bahamas, as well as the 2020 Concacaf Caribbean Club Shield which was set to begin April 3.
More coronavirus connections to soccer:
- The Premier League has postponed play through at least April 3. Aston Villa’s chief executive called it “a very good decision” while Jurgen Klopp said we must “protect each other.”
- Bundesliga suspends play after originally intending to play this weekend.
- UEFA postponed all European fixtures next week ahead of a meeting to discuss plans for both club and international European competitions, including the Champions League and Euro 2020.
- Chelsea’s Callum Hudson-Odoi is the first Premier League player to test positive for coronavirus.
- Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta tested posted for coronavirus and the players and staff at the club are self-isolating.
- MLS announced its 2020 season is suspended for at least 30 days.
- Three Leicester City players are in self-isolation after displaying symptoms of coronavirus.
- Real Madrid players in isolation and La Liga games suspended for the next two weeks after Real basketball player tests positive for coronavirus.
- Serie A is considering alternative ways to conclude its scudetto and relegation races, including playoffs or the non-awarding of a champion.
- Juventus confirm that their defender Daniele Rugani has tested positive for coronavirus.
- Olympiacos and Nottingham Forest owner Evangelos Marinakis being diagnosed with coronavirus. Olympiacos and Forest have since confirmed all of their staff and players have been tested and their tests have come back as negative.