COVID-19 Update: MLS Returns To Full Team Training, USL To Resume Season on July 11, Chelsea Declared Winner Women’s Super League, NISA To Start Fall Season, More States Open Youth Soccer
Soccer Stands Up For “Justice for George Floyd”
The soccer world is coming back strong … you can feel it with a new excitement in the air. The latest news is Chelsea is now the 2020 Women’s Super League Champion — declared champion based on per game points earned before the soccer season was stopped dead in its tracks because of the moratorium because of the Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic.
Just as the soccer clubs come back from the long Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic’s moratorium, the world is rocked by the death of George Floyd — and soccer players and clubs stand up in support.
Does activism belong on the soccer field as the world begins to emerge from the moratorium on soccer? The world is saying yes. And, MLS agrees. Maybe our new normal will be better than the pre-pandemic world. The MASL, NFL, NBA and NHL have all issued statements. #stopracism
FIFA usually shys away from supporting its players making political statements. But not this time. The words “Stop racism – Stop violence,” top the FIFA website today.
What started with Borussia Dortmund‘s Jadon Sancho showing his support with a handwritten “Justice for George Floyd” message has turned into the new soccer culture.
First professional hat trick 🙏🏼. A bittersweet moment personally as there are more important things going on in the world today that we must address and help make a change. We have to come together as one & fight for justice. We are stronger together! ❤️ #JusticeForGeorgeFloyd 🙏🏼 pic.twitter.com/ntOtwOySCO— Jadon Sancho (@Sanchooo10) May 31, 2020
The referee for the Bundesliga match gave Sancho a yellow card after showing off his message. While the German Federation, the DFB, is supporting its players who have spoken out against racism, they have not revoked the yellow card, claiming it was properly given because Sancho removed his jersey during the team’s victory against Paderborn. Perhaps the yellow card is more of a badge of honor than a penalty in this case as Sancho made headlines around the world and support has poured in.
“FIFA fully understands the depth of sentiment and concerns expressed by many footballers in light of the tragic circumstances of the George Floyd case. FIFA had repeatedly expressed itself to be resolutely against racism and discrimination of any kind ….” FIFA’s President Gianni Infantino added, “For the avoidance of doubt, in a FIFA competition the recent demonstrations of players in Bundesliga matches would deserve an applause and not a punishment.”
“Football is a sport which encourages tolerance, inclusion and justice. These are the same values being espoused by those showing solidarity to George Floyd.”Aleksander Ceferin, UEFA President
Sancho is not alone is stepping forward — his teammate Achraf Hakimi joined in and so have players around the globe; America’s Weston McKennie who plays in Germany for Schalke 04 wore an armband asking for justice, Liverpool posted Unity is strength. #BlackLivesMatter with a picture of players kneeling, and Chelsea, as well as Manchester United, have all announced support. And, the MLS released a statement as well saying it shares “in the pain, anger and frustration.”
Here is the full MLS statement on the murder of George Floyd:
The entire Major League Soccer family is deeply saddened and horrified by the senseless murder of George Floyd.
We stand united with the black community throughout our country and share in the pain, anger and frustration.
We hear you.
We see you.
We support you.
We are committed to use our voices and the platform of our League, our Clubs and our players to continue to champion equality and social justice.
How many Confirmed Cases of Coronavirus Are There?
The USA Approaches 2 Million Confirmed Cases of Coronavirus COVID-19
Just to keep this in perspective, the world was reaching 2 million cases globally on April 13.
To understand the massive economic impact and the unprecedented disruption around the world in soccer, we must look at the numbers.
With all the confusing information, we wanted to provide reliable and trustworthy data, so here is information from Johns Hopkins University as of 6/5/20 at 9:10 AM (PST):
1,876,922 CASES OF THE CORONAVIRUS COVID-19 CONFIRMED IN THE USA WITH 108,334 DEATHS.Johns Hopkins University – Coronavirus COVID-19 Global Cases by the Center for System Science and Engineering. The numbers may vary.
According to Johns Hopkins University, the world has sped past the 6 Million Milestone: Worldwide there are 6,682,531 cases of Coronavirus COVID-19 confirmed with 392,321 deaths reported from around the globe.
Please keep in mind safety protocols and your state and local guidelines to slow the spread of the pandemic.
American Youth Soccer’s Slow Return To Play
While U.S. Soccer advises phased return to play, no youth travel tournaments, Top College Recruiting Youth Soccer Tournament, Surf Cup, Confirms New Dates for August
As America’s states ease restrictions and youth soccer players Return to Play, the question is could this provoke a second wave?
For the first time in months, soccer players are back on youth soccer fields in Arizona, Utah, Oklahoma, Washington, and parts of Maryland —as well as several other areas of the USA. These US Youth Soccer state associations are allowing youth players back on the field under strict protocols. In this extremely challenging environment, it is critical that our return to pre-pandemic life happens safely to prevent the continued spread of the Coronavirus COVID-19 and a possible second wave.
BUT SOCCER EVERYWHERE LOOKS DIFFERENT.
This week, US Club lifted its moratorium on youth soccer and is recommending youth soccer clubs base their return-to-play decisions on local and state guidelines.
In America, every level of soccer, from the professional ranks and amateur adult soccer to recreational and competitive youth soccer is trying to get their players back on the field and restart games.
IF PRO PLAYERS WEAR MASKS TO PRACTICE, WE CAN WEAR MASKS TOO
The MLS players and their coaches are wearing masks and taking precautions to stay safe, helping slow the spread of the Coronavirus, and therefore lessening COVID’s impact on the game of soccer!
While it is important to remember that most cases of COVID-19 are mild or moderate, we are all responsible to do our part to slow the spread of this insidious pandemic and avoid a possibly more dangerous second wave.
Surf Cup Sports Confirms Surf Cup Youth Soccer Tournament in August
Surf Cup, the annual youth soccer tournament held on the West Coast famous for college recruiting has confirmed it will hold the event this August. Surf Cup started in 1980 and promises to be stronger than ever and with safety protocols.
The Latest News on Professional Soccer in America:
A few days ago, on Sunday night, Major League Soccer Players Association agreed to accept the MLS requested salary cuts. The economic impact of the Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on soccer clubs of all sizes, from youth soccer clubs to century-old ones across the Atlantic.
In response to the unprecedented two-month plus suspension which has impacted every aspect of soccer, the Major League Soccer Players Association voted to accept the pay cuts, which also include lowering team and player bonuses. This dedication on behalf of the players in support of their clubs in the wake of the economic fall out is admirable. The next step is for team owners to accept the proposal and it will be finalized.
Curious about current MLS salaries? Want to know how much your favorite MLS player earns? While the starting salary in MLS is $56,250.00, the highest is in the millions. Here is the 2019 MLS Salary Guide.
The MLS has not announced details for the proposed summer tournament in Orlando, Florida and today there is a news article on AP, Players skip training after union impasse with MLS, that reports an “impasse on an agreement that would clear the way for a tournament this summer in Florida.”
While not all the 26 MLS teams have returned to training, the league announced May 28 that teams could start field training in small group sessions. Sporting Kansas City plans to begin small group training today.
The New Normal seems to be lasting: Last week, the Orlando Pride continued with Phase Two – Small Group Training at Sylvan Lake Park under guidelines outlined by the NWSL Medical Task Force (MTF) in the league’s “Return to Play Phased Protocol”. In Small Group Training, clubs are permitted to use weight rooms, training rooms, and meeting rooms. All groups during Phase Two must not exceed eight (8) players.
Suspended since March 12 because of the Coronavirus, the MLS is considering packing up its players and taking all their teams to Orlando, Florida to compete in a special tournament. The Return to Play plan includes a group stage of five games followed by a winner declared in a knock out round.
Tentative plans are for MLS teams to train until June 21 at home and then depart for sunny Walt Disney World’s Wide World of Sports. This version of the proposed plan is far better than the original proposal which required the pro players to be away from home for an extended period of time during the pandemic.
The National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) announced yesterday that the 2020 NWSL Challenge Cup presented by P&G and Secret will be a 25-game tournament kicking off on June 27, at Zions Bank Stadium in Herriman, Utah. All nine women’s professional soccer clubs will play in empty stadiums but fans can catch the soccer action on CBS All Access with the opener and championship game airing live on CBS.
Latest Global Soccer News: Today, just two weeks before the pro season is scheduled to relaunch, England’s EPL club Tottenham announced an unidentified individual at the club has tested positive for the Coronavirus COVID-19.
Last week Spain’s La Liga announced it would Return To Play matches on June 11 with its 20/21 pro soccer season to follow almost immediately, planned for September.
England has the green light to bring back professional soccer and announced that the English Premier League (EPL) will kick off again on June 17 to complete the season. English soccer has endured a long moratorium due to the Coronavirus COVID-19. ESPN has reported, “Manchester City vs. Arsenal and Aston Villa at home to Sheffield United” are the first matches that will be played.
The EPL is planning on completing its current 2019/20 season in July (as long as it restarts in June) so the 20/21 season can begin without major impact, as long as the rate of confirmed cases and deaths do not rise significantly. Just last week, the EPL confirmed multiple positive COVID-19 tests.
Professional soccer in Portugal has also received the green light to Return To Play.
The Impact of COVID-19: Around The World In Pro Soccer
More news of the Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic impacting professional soccer: England’s Women’s Super League, the country’s top women’s soccer league, has been canceled. According to England’s FA (Football Association), the women’s professional soccer teams support this decision.
- England Cancelled Women’s Pro Soccer – Read WOMEN’S PRO SOCCER IN ENGLAND VICTIM OF CORONAVIRUS COVID-19
After Leipzig defeated Mainz 5-0, the team proudly claimed the third spot on the Bundesliga rankings. While playing in empty stadiums is still unsettling, the games are going on, thrilling starved soccer fans and the results are shiting the rest of the rankings of top teams.
Zlatan Injured in Training While Team Prepares for The ReStart of Pro Season
While the pandemic ranges and takes over the headlines, Zlatan Ibrahimović’s injury pierced through the white noise of the Coronavirus today. Global soccer fans were worried that the star soccer player might be sidelined for a while but the latest reports from AC Milan confirm that the goal-scoring machine did not damage his Achilles tendon in a practice earlier Monday when Serie A teams returned to practice in anticipation of their season opening, hopefully, sometime in June.
LA LIGA is Restarting Soccer Season
Overall, the soccer world is looking a little brighter with the return of Lionel Messi, FC Barcelona‘s super soccer star.
Spain’s professional soccer league, LA LIGA announced that soccer will restart in June after the long moratorium. All the Spanish league teams have been off the field for three months because of the Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic.
BREAKING: The Spanish Government has given the green light for La Liga to resume from June 8 🚨 pic.twitter.com/GdGljFxUq6— B/R Football (@brfootball) May 23, 2020
Mexico Cancels LIGA MX
Unfortunately, the impact of the Coronavirus COVID-19 on soccer remains never ending. On May 22, Mexico’s Liga MX 2020 Clausura spring season was officially canceled due to the pandemic and professional players testing positive for Coronavirus.
This is the first time in the history of the league that there will be no team claiming the title of Champion. Liga MX had suspended its season on March 15 and its restart was in doubt last week after several players from Santos Laguna tested positive for Coronavirus. According to AP, now twelve Santos players have tested positive.
In America, MLS Players Getting Tested For COVID-19
MLS players are also getting tested for COVID-19. As part of Sporting Kansas City’s Return To Play protocols, Sporting KC Manager and Sporting Director Peter Vermes is determined to have his players and technical staff tested regularly.
MLS Cancels All-Star Game
The big news is the 2020 MLS All-Star Game between the best of MLS and a team of LIGA MX all-stars has been canceled, that is obviously the sad news — and the good news is more youth soccer players are able to Return to Play all across the USA.
It was scheduled to take place on July 29 at Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles. The 2021 MLS All-Star Game is now expected to take place at the same LA venue. MLS also announced the cancellation of the Leagues Cup and Campeones Cup.
Also, as the fear of the Coronavirus COVID-19 subsides and soccer restarts, the realization of the high cost of the pandemic is settling in.
MLS has asked their players to take a 20% pay cut and in Europe, there is a concern for the financial fallout from pandemic induced canceled seasons and postponements. The impact of COVID-19 on soccer has been felt around the world. UEFA‘s president Aleksander Ceferin told The Guardian, “There is so much information (to take in) and so many calendar issues. So many millions and millions, dozens of millions of dollars, that we will lose.”
More On COVID-19’s Impact on Pro Soccer Update:
COVID-19’s Impact on Soccer: Every country is determining its own path in this uncertain an unpreceded environment. France canceled its pro soccer. Germany’s pro teams have returned to play, England has announced its return in June and Italy hopes to not be too far behind, but the USA is still figuring it out its plan.
When New York’s Governor Andrew Cuomo began encouraging major sports teams to open up in empty stadiums last week, it became apparent fear of the Coronavirus COVID-19 nightmare was lessening.
Although fans may not be cheering in soccer stadiums for the rest of the year, is life beginning to return to a closer version of pre-pandemic normal?
Sports fans around the world watched eagerly when Germany’s Bundesliga Returned to Play. With eyeballs watching from nearly every country, games in the opening weekend of the Bundesliga provide great action. Borussia Dortmund defeated Schalke 4-0 and FC Bayern Munich took on Union Berlin and won 2-0 with Benjamin Pavard earned the Man of the Match award. When BVB scored four times against Schalke in Bundesliga’s return to pro soccer — there was no crowding around the goal scorer in typical congratulatory fashion.
The celebration of a goal is tempered with fear of the Coronavirus.
What we know about your chances of catching the virus outdoors:
New York Times reports the risk is in the details — but we know being outside is often healthier than indoors.
In the USA, the MLS is inching towards preparing to return to play —without any formal announcement on dates to resume the season and Philadelphia Union has begun individual training sessions.
Will MLS Go To Orlando?
There is a controversial proposal for the MLS to restart the league in Orlando, Florida which would require players to be sequestered in hotels away from their families for an extended period. There are those who believe the risks are far too high for players and staff alike and others who are in favor of relaunching the season regardless of the odds.
To get all the 26 MLS teams together for games starting July 1 would require players on-site at least 3 to 4 weeks in advance. While several players have expressed concern about being away from their families for what could be at least 60 days while staying at ESPN Wide World of Sports complex, the other issue being negotiated is a proposed 20% pay cut because of the Coronavirus pandemic.
The world just wants a date, and a confirmed plan.
Even Sporting Kansas City‘s manager Peter Vermes wants to know the dates to restart, so he can, as he said in a press conference “work backward from the date of the game and get the players ready.”
The Cost of The Pandemic – Soccer Players Being Asked to Take Pay Cuts
The COVID-19 impact on soccer has been seen all around the world. While ESPN reported MLS had asked the MLS Players Association that all players take a 20-percent pay cut, players in Europe have taken more drastic cust already.
At FC Barcelona, Lionel Messi agreed to take a 70% pay — ok, he still makes more than most MLS players put together — and Real Madrid, AS Roma, and countless other clubs, have asked their players for help surviving the economic toll of COVID-19.
In fact, Cristiano Ronaldo was one of the first players to agree to a salary cut when the games were canceled for the pandemic lockdown. However, according to Forbes, Ronaldo was still on track to make $1 Billion.
Of course, with soccer still suspended in Italy, how much money Ronaldo will see is uncertain. The club Ronaldo plays for, Juventus, is still waiting for restrictions to be lifted. Suspended since March 9 due to the Coronavirus impact on soccer, Italy’s Soccer Federation, the FIGC, has pushed the moratorium again until June 14.
MLS Training Update:
Major League Soccer (MLS) has extended the small group and team training moratorium through, and including, Monday, June 1. MLS players may continue to use outdoor team training fields for voluntary individual workouts as long as they are in compliance with local health authorities and government orders.
Special Situations: While MLS players are expected to remain in each club’s respective market, MLS will continue to review individual requests by players to relocate to another market by car, taking into account the totality of a player’s situation.
College Soccer Update:
In a new development in the ever-evolving unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic environment, our nation’s largest four-year public university system, California State University with 480,000 undergraduates on 23 campuses will not welcome students back this fall. Chancellor Timothy P. White informed the board of trustees on May 12 that the risks were too great.
“Our university, when open without restrictions and fully in person, as is the traditional norm of the past, is a place where over 500,000 people come together in close and vibrant proximity with each other on a daily basis,” White said. “That approach, sadly, just isn’t in the cards now.”
The question: Will Collegiate Soccer Be a Casualty of COVID-19?
According to Ryan Hopkins head coach of the San Diego State University Men’s Soccer, SDSU Aztecs are still hoping to play the DI soccer season this fall. While Hopkins acknowledges there are many challenges including adequate testing for players, he had not ruled playing as the campus will be open for a few selective classes.
In California, the California Collegiate Athletic Association announced on May 12 that it had decided to suspend all fall sports for the upcoming year in response to the Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. The NCAA Division II conference currently has 13 members but will lose one with UC San Diego moving to Division I.
Former Education Secretary Arne Duncan has voiced skepticism on colleges and universities reopening this fall for on-campus activities saying on May 12 that it is “unrealistic … unsafe.”
Youth Soccer Update: MLS Partners With US Youth Soccer
US Youth Soccer is the largest youth soccer organization in the country and this new partnership with MLS provides a new inclusive pathway for many youth soccer players across America. This agreement has been in the works for a while and it exciting to see it enacted and become official.
MLS and USYS Launch Strategic Partnership to Offer New Identification Opportunities
MLS AND US YOUTH SOCCER PARTNER: MLS to pay expenses for youth soccer players in Regional Competitions at selected ages …
Youth Soccer Update: MLS’ Committed to Develop World-Class Players Kicks off New Elite Player Platform
Youth Soccer Update: MLS Technical Director of Player Development Fred Lipka announced the New Player Development Initiative in youth soccer, the MLS Elite Development Platform, which will be similar to the DA to maintain a similar level of standards. Sporting Kansas City‘s Peter Vermes and San Jose Earthquakes’ Jesse Fioranelli joined Lipka in the announcement.
Including the MLS Academies, a total of 95 youth soccer clubs will compete in this new elite boys platform.
Soccer Pros Are Training in the USA …
A few of the MLS clubs that have kicked off individual player workouts include Atlanta United, FC Dallas, FC Cincinnati, Houston Dynamo, Inter Miami CF, LAFC, Minnesota United FC, Nashville SC, Orlando City SC, Portland Timbers, Real Salt Lake, Sporting Kansas City, Toronto FC, and Vancouver Whitecaps FC.
Sporting KC players began voluntary individual workouts last Wednesday at Compass Minerals National Performance Center, formerly Pinnacle, in Kansas City, Kansas. This marked the first time that players have worked out at the facility since MLS suspended play on March 12.
Voluntary individual workouts are held in compliance with detailed health and safety protocols that were created through a collaboration between Vermes and Sporting, Major League Soccer, and medical and infectious disease experts. The individual player workout protocol set by MLS prohibits media access to Compass Minerals National Performance Center, restricting access to players and essential staff only.
Safety first.— Atlanta United FC (@ATLUTD) May 6, 2020
Bird’s eye view of the first session back 🎥✈ pic.twitter.com/FSZljUbpsO
As the World Watches Germany Resume Pro Soccer on May 16, What Will Happen?
While the soccer games in Germany will be played at empty stadiums with respect to Coronavirus COVID-19, there is still a widespread concern that the pandemic will spread — but for the first time in months, there is the hope of soccer coming back. For now, the MLS has suspended all matches until at least June 8.
Will the MLS restart the season in the USA?
In America, many of the MLS, NWSL, and USL soccer players are able to train. The soccer players who are training are thrilled to be back on the fields —and nearly every other soccer player without the green light to train is green with envy.
Rumors of MLS Going To Florida To Resume Play?
After it’s state’s lockdown, Florida’s Governor, Ron DeSantis, made the bold declaration in April that sports are an ‘essential business’, making it an attractive location for the MLS to consider resuming the season behind closed doors, possibly at the Disney Sports Complex with all players in a quarantine ‘bubble’ in the area.
While there has been no announcement from the MLS, the idea of relaunching soccer with the teams locked down in a single area is attractive but also depends on the ability to adequately test daily. The league has consistently said the safety of the players is a top priority.
English Premier League Can Restart in June
Without soccer fans watching from their stadium seats, the EPL is planning on finishing their soccer season behind closed doors starting June 8. The UK has released “Our Plan to Rebuild: The UK Government’s COVID-19 Recovery Strategy,” a 50-page document outlining the protocols for restarting business including televised sporting events as long as required guidelines to minimize the spread of the Coronavirus COVID-19 can be met.
The Hunt for the Bundesliga Champions 2019/20 Resumes This Weekend
As the Bundesliga resumes playing its soccer season this weekend, FC Bayern restarts its efforts to win their eighth Bundesliga title.
Last season, the race went down to the final day of the season with Borussia Dortmund (BVB) being a formidable contender.
Bundesliga’s Dynamo Dresden in LockDown After COVID-19 Cases Confirmed
Update on COVID-19 Impact on Soccer in Germany: Just days before the kick-off of the Germany Football League‘s (DFL) the pandemic struck Bundesliga’s second-tier Dynamo Dresden, forcing the entire squad into quarantine for the 14 days.
The soccer team is in lockdown after two cases of the Coronavirus COVID-19 were confirmed on May 8 and are unable to train or play games as the Bundesliga restarts. According to ESPN, “Dresden resumed full-contact team training on Thursday. They had been training in small groups since April 8.”
FIFA Medical Chief Wants Pro Soccer To Wait To Play Until September
Michel D’Hooghe, FIFA’s medical committee chairman has said professional soccer leagues should not play until, at the earliest, the start of September to limit the spread of the new coronavirus and when it does resume that yellow cards be handed out for spitting, according to SkySports.
“It is not a matter of of money but a matter of life and death.”Michel D’Hooghe, FIFA’s medical committee chairman
“The absolute priority should be given health,” said Michel D’Hooghe, FIFA’s medical committee chairman in a video statement. Asking how can you play soccer in the Premier League when you should keep social distancing … D’Hooghe asks how do play and keep two feet apart? FIFA’s chief medical does not believe, in his personal opinion, that basic conditions to play soccer have been met and urges everyone to think carefully before returning to the field saying, “Be very careful before starting again competition. It is a terrible responsibility.”
Is Spitting the New Yellow?
FIFA wants new Rules of the Game when soccer restarts to include yellow cards for spitting. The EPL is considering granting this and giving players yellow cards if they spit while on the field. If cautions are awarded for spitting, yellow cards could be useful out to stop the spread of the Coronavirus COVID-19.
Cancelations in Soccer Due To COVID-19:
America’s new Pro Soccer League, NISA Cancels Spring but Confirms Fall Season
While NISA has canceled the remainder of its spring 2020 season, it is preparing for soccer this fall and has added the NY Cosmos and New Amsterdam To Fall Line Up. “We believe that NISA’s decision to cancel the spring season was very prudent,” said Erik Stover, New York Cosmos Chief Operating Officer. Just days after the kick-off of the 2020 spring soccer season, the Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic struck silencing the green soccer fields all across America – putting an end to NISA’s spring season.
COVID-19 Impact of Soccer Around The Globe:
French Ligue 1 Soccer Season Canceled Due to Coronavirus
France Kills Soccer Season, Poland to Return To Play in End of May, England’s Premier League May Restart In June, Germany Starts Preparing to Play
The world is itching to start hearing the whistle blow and for the games to commence — but soccer has been changed by the Coronavirus COVID-19. While some countries are planning for the gradual re-opening of soccer, other areas are contemplating stricter and indefinite timelines.
In South Korea, the K-League plans to resume professional soccer on May 8 but has banned players from spitting and is imposing strict social distancing regulations for players, the Bundesliga has new safety guidelines but France has taken a different direction. They have just canceled the Ligue 1 season in fear of triggering a second wave of the pandemic.
Should We Be Rushing Back to Play Soccer?
The world’s return to play discussion is very fluid and constantly being revised, taking into consideration ever-evolving medical guidelines and government decisions. When will the restrictions imposed to slow the spread of the Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic be relaxed?:
France: Soccer Fields To Stay Empty – The French prime minister, Edouard Philippe, announced April 28 the cancelation of Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 season and that no professional soccer will be played until September at the earliest. According to Philippe, ‘football season cannot return’ due to the risk of a second outbreak.
Germany: Across the Atlantic, the German Bundesliga looks to resume playing their remaining nine games beginning in the second half of May. Matches will be without fans as there is a moratorium in Germany on mass events until August 31.
The soccer world has been watching Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel, and her choice to allow soccer season to resume may be a landmark decision opening the floodgates for other leagues to restart.
“Games without spectators are not an ideal solution for anyone. In a crisis threatening the very existence of some clubs, however, it is the only way to keep the leagues in their current form.”Christian Seifert, Chief Executive of the DFL
England: While there is speculation that the English Premier League (EPL) has reviewed a schedule to complete the 2019/20 season starting in June, a confirmed date to restart soccer in England is constantly under review and the government has extended the moratorium until May 7 with clubs under the EPL hitting the field earliest on May 16.
Poland: The Ekstraklasa, Poland’s premier soccer league may be one of the first countries to restart the beautiful game. May 29 is the date Poland’s government has set for restarting soccer which has been suspended since March 13.
The Netherlands: The Netherlands has canceled all major sporting events until Sept. 1, effectively canceling the Eredivisie professional soccer season.
Italy: Soccer training can resume May 4 according to the Italian government but there has been no official date set for Serie A (Italy’s top pro league) which has been suspended since March 9 to restart.
Spain: La Liga under strict safety measures until January 2021.
LA Liga president Javier Tebas has offered possible dates in May and June for Spain’s top professional soccer league to return to play. La Liga games will reportedly be played behind closed doors for the rest of the year without cheering fans until next year because of strict safety measures, according to ESPN.
COVID-19 Impact of Soccer In America:
US Club Statement on April 28: “As a number of states and local jurisdictions begin planning for a phased return to normalcy, US Club Soccer has targeted May 18th as the date we hope to return decision-making authority to our local leagues. This is subject to change, of course, but it is our hope that our members can begin to sensibly return to the fields after that, subject to some requirements and recommendations.”
“The return-to-play decision is a complicated one,” said US Club CEO Kevin Payne in his letter to US Club members.
The Demise of U.S. Soccer Development Academy Blamed on Coronavirus.
Youth soccer in America has suffered massive cancelations.
Domestic and international youth soccer championships and tournaments canceled around the globe.
Even soccer coaching educational courses are being postponed: U.S. Soccer has just canceled coaching education courses through June 30.
Good News: Major League Soccer (MLS) has kicked off “Train with MLS,” a very cool training portal for players of all ages and all levels. This professional digital experience offers hundreds of training videos from MLS clubs for coaches, parents and recreational players of all ages and abilities.
The April 15 announcement of U.S. Soccer closing the Development Academy (DA) resulted in seismic shifts that rocked the youth soccer landscape. When thousands of America’s top youth soccer players left stunned when the Federation’s elite league shut down, soccer clubs scramble for options.
This year, the DA provided competition for U13 and through U19 teams with an estimated 160+ clubs. Annually, hundreds of boys and girls teams participate in the DA’s competitions and top college coaches have relied on these DA games and showcases for recruiting.
“… UNANTICIPATED CIRCUMSTANCES AROUND THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC HAVE RESULTED IN A FINANCIAL SITUATION THAT DOES NOT ALLOW FOR THE CONTINUATION OF THE DEVELOPMENT ACADEMY PROGRAM ….”.”A LETTER TO DEVELOPMENT ACADEMY CLUBS – APRIL 15 2020 FEDERATION NEWS
COVID-19 Impact on Soccer: European Pro Soccer Without Fans?
Germany’s top pro soccer league, the Bundesliga, will kick off play in May. The first of all of Europe’s pro soccer leagues to return to play, players in Germany’s Bundesliga are back practicing with games planned to restart in May. According to Christian Seifert, the CEO of the Bundesliga in the NY Times.
Just to compare, the English Premier League (EPL) will not resume at the beginning of May – and confirmed in early April that the 2019/20 season will only return when ‘medical guidance allows.’
Impact of COVID-19 on American Soccer: Playing Pro Soccer in Empty Stadiums?
According to Dr. Anthony Fauci, who heads up President Trump’s COVID-19 Task Force said on April 15th the only way to get pro sports back on track in the USA is without fans. “The most critical element to bringing back sports is not having fans at the game.” In addition, players would have to be tested regularly and sequestered to limit the spread of the Coronavirus.
Could games start up again this summer? Potentially, but there is a long path to this possibility. It will certainly not be a return to the pre-pandemic joy of sports but perhaps live soccer played in empty stadiums and watched on TV or streamed is better than no (new) soccer at all. Especially as the timeline for the return of soccer seems to constantly inch further forward, out of our foreseeable reach. And, who makes the final decision on when and where sporting events can restart? Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said that sporting events might not return to the City of Angeles until 2021 due to the pandemic.
NWSL Extends Team Training Moratorium through May 24
The National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) announced on May 15 an extension to its team training moratorium through, and including May 24, 2020. All NWSL players may continue to use outdoor team training fields for voluntary household workouts and the league is involved in regular discussions with its medical task force on the progression through each phase of the Return to Play Phased Protocol. Clubs are still required to follow all federal, state and local mandates.
MLS Expects Delays on When Teams Can Return to Practice
The MLS, hoping to return to play in mid-May, announced April 14 that it is extremely unlikely, based on the guidance of federal and local public health authorities. “Our goal remains to play as many games as possible, and while we currently have enough dates to play the entire season, we recognize at this time that it may become difficult to do so.” Please scroll down to the MLS Update section for the full MLS Statement issued.
How is COVID-19 Impacting Soccer? Ongoing Updates on Cancelations and Info on Soccer Events Postponed Due to the Pandemic:
La Liga, which was suspended indefinitely as Spain battled the Coronavirus COVID-19 may have a date in mind for returning to play. The rumor is June 23 is a date being considered for teams returning back to the field but it is unrealistic to provide a definitive schedule considering the current situation regarding. The German Football League (DFL) is also reviewing when they can resume playing but caution that this can only happen when medical authorities agree it safe to do. More on this developing story soon.
Cancelations because of the Coronavirus COVID-19 from the last week include: ICC Cancels Men’s Cup and Denmark’s Dana Cup youth tournament are canceled and the USA’s Man City Cup is postponed.
COVID-19 is Impacting Soccer All Over the Globe: New York has 550,016 confirmed cases — more cases of COVID-19 than any country on the planet. The big question is how much longer is it going to continue affecting our lives? Will we be able to play soccer on the fields this summer or will we have to wait until the fall? Soccer’s return to the glory days of pre-pandemic schedules will not happen quickly but we are beginning, hopefully, to see the light at the end of the tunnel from the spread of this insidious pandemic. As the USA starts to debate when to ease social distancing, the cancellations of youth soccer tournaments continue worldwide.
The ICC Men’s 2020 Tournament is canceled. On April 10, Daniel Sillman, CEO Relevent Sports Group announced that planning a “Men’s International Champions Cup this summer is unfeasible. We look forward to bringing the best clubs and most iconic matchups in the world to the US and Asia in 2021.” Citing the lack of clarity on when social distancing will end and the uncertainty of the international soccer calendar, (will European domestic leagues and UEFA tournaments be played into August?) ICC looks forward to 2021.
The DANA Cup in Denmark has been canceled along with the Cup No. 1 2020 due to the global pandemic COVID-19. The Danish Prime Minister has announced all events involving a large number of people will not be allowed before September 1, 2020. The youth soccer tournament, the Dana Cup, was originally scheduled for late July.
“This scary Corona outbreak deeply impacts our society and affects all our lives. Even though the world most likely will be brighter and better in week 28 compared to now, we, as parents, would probably think extra hard and long before sending our children around the world. This does not only apply to us parents living in Denmark but parents from all over the world,” says Anders Brandt Sørensen, Chairman FfI Football.
In America, the 2020 Manchester City Cup, the elite youth soccer tournament held in San Diego has been moved from Memorial Day to Labor Day. The event is produced by Surf Cup Sports and its Super Group attracts youth teams from all over Europe and top MLS Academies is televised/streamed on Univision Deportes and ESPN. Read more on #ManCityCup.
US Adult Soccer Association (USASA) has decided to cancel the Steinbrecher Cup, the USASA National Amateur Cup, and the Adult Soccer Fest for 2020. The NASSC 2020 Ferguson North American Sand Soccer Championships weekend held in Virginia Beach, VA has also been rescheduled to August 7-9, 2020.
The list of extended moratoriums is endless. The unprecedented disruption crosses all boundaries. In this extremely challenging environment, it is important to have updated, reliable information you can trust. Every day, we report on what is happening in our soccer world.
US Adult Soccer Association (USASA) has canceled all of its competitions for 2020 and, in addition, USASA has applied for a loan under the CARES Act for non-profit organizations and are waiting to see if their application is accepted. (Full statement below.)
Still noteworthy, Wimbledon’s Championships have been canceled for the first time since WWII.
Here is the map of confirmed cases by Johns Hopkins Center for Systems Science and Engineering. According to Johns Hopkins, the first case of COVID-19 in the USA was reported on 1/22/2020.
COVID-19’s Impact on Soccer:
Sports have been affected by the global coronavirus pandemic in an unprecedented way.
On April 16, The United Soccer League (USL) announced that it was extending its moratorium on training for USL Championship and League One clubs through, and including, Sunday, May 3rd. USL also said it will use the time to reassess its current temporary suspension timeline.
In addition, the USL League Two Northeast Division has been canceled — hopes of their summer exhibition games crash. “We absolutely support the Northeast Division’s decision,” said USL Vice President Joel Nash. “At the end of the day, it was about much more than soccer and we look forward to welcoming them back even stronger in 2021.”
On April 4, MLS Commissioner Don Garber met with President Trump by phone, along with the heads of the NFL, NBA, NHL, and Major League Baseball and other major sports leagues. While Trump wants games to start up again “as soon as we can,” the NFL season to kick off on Sept. 10 as scheduled, with fans in seats, California Governor Gavin Newsom does not share in that optimistic timetable. When asked what he thought, Newsom replied, “That’s not something I anticipate happening in the next few months.”
Newsome, with 3 NFL teams in CA, was clear. Will games kick off with 80,000 fans sitting next to each other in a stadium? “I’m not anticipating that happening in this state,” said Newsom.
“We’ve all seen the headlines over the last couple days in Asia where they are opening up certain businesses and now they’re starting to roll back those openings because they’re starting to see some spread and there’s a boomerang. One has to be very cautious here, one has to be careful not to overpromise,” said Newsom.
For an undisclosed reason, NWSL’s Commissioner Lisa Baird was not invited to participate on the call.
For more on Coronavirus and the NFL, Click CBS Sports: NFL’s chief medical officer says for 2020 season to start on time, here’s what has to happen.
Liverpool FC Joins Rush to Furlough Non-Playing Staff (AP): Liverpool FC will release non-playing staff, but those cut will be paid 80% of their salaries, up to the set maximum of $750 a week, by the UK government and the club will pay the difference.
Liverpool FC leads the English Premier League (EPL) with 25 points with nine games left to play. However, as we all know, the EPL has suspended matches since March 13 due to the coronavirus pandemic and there is no confirmed plan set for the rescheduling.
Cristiano Ronaldo “Stay Home” Tweet.
Ronaldo Gives Up Millions in Salary To Help Out With The Impact From The Coronavirus Crisis
World famous professional soccer player Cristiano Ronaldo, along with his coach and Juventus teammates forgo a combined $100 million in salary to help their Italian club deal with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
In March: How COVID-19 is Impacting Youth Soccer in America:
Solidarity, Prioritizing Health of Players and Fans Over Profits
US Youth Soccer Canceled all Regional Championships, National and Presidents Cup
As of March 31, 2020, US Youth Soccer (USYS) is canceling the 2020 Presidents Cup, our 2020 National Championships and all of the regional competitions leading up to those two events.
“If it were possible, however unlikely, that we could return to play in May, many families will still be hesitant to travel on an airplane or stay in a hotel. Again, we do not want to place that additional burden on our USYS families.”
In addition, USYS had decided to push back their return to activity date for our US Youth Soccer Conferences to May 1st, 2020. This will allow all 55 State Associations to review the impact of COVID-19 on their members and make their own informed decisions on a return-to-play date. Full Coverage: THE IMPACT OF COVID-19: US YOUTH SOCCER CANCELS CHAMPIONSHIPS
USYF and Many Others Extend the Suspension
US Youth Futsal (USYF) has also extended its suspension of Futsal ID events now through May 1.
First American Soccer League Cancels Spring Season
The National Premier Soccer League (NPSL) announced that it was canceling its spring men’s soccer season because of the fallout from the Coronavirus pandemic. Full Coverage: THE IMPACT OF COVID-19: NPSL CANCELS SPRING 2020 SOCCER SEASON
Doing It Right: The MLS Reported to be Cutting Salaries
The financial impact of this pandemic is significant and the economic impact will create calamities crossing all borders and permeating all levels of soccer. With no revenues coming in, expenses have to be cut. Now MLS is reviewing its options.
While this is the last official statement from the MLS, we believe talks are going on to determine the next steps.
Major League Soccer Statement on CDC Recommendation pic.twitter.com/2lB3kLss3O— MLS Communications (@MLS_PR) March 19, 2020
According to Doug McIntyre at Yahoo Sports, “Major League Soccer will decrease the salaries of most of its 300 New York City-based employees in response to the financial impact caused by the coronavirus pandemic, a source with knowledge of the situation told Yahoo Sports on Wednesday.”
The article goes on to report, “The extent of the individual cuts will be determined via a tiered structure, the source said. MLS commissioner Don Garber and top deputies Mark Abbott and Gary Stevenson will take a 25 percent reduction of pay.”
Doing It Right: German Pro Teams Pledge Over $22 Million to Support Struggling Bundesliga Clubs and MLS Extends Training Moratorium,
The German Champions League participants from Dortmund, Munich, Leipzig, and Leverkusen lead the way in the relief efforts combatting the corona crisis’ impact on soccer.
The four clubs will initially forego their share of the national media revenue – which has not yet been distributed – from the DFL next season. This amount, which stands at approximately €12.5 million if the current distribution model is applied, will be supplemented by an additional €7.5 million from the quartet’s own reserves.
“We have always said that we would show solidarity if clubs, through no fault of their own, should run into difficulties that they can no longer overcome themselves,” said Borussia Dortmund (BVB)’s chief executive officer Hans-Joachim Watzke, who added: “BVB is currently having a major impact on society through a wide range of initiatives. And naturally, we are prepared to help out other professional football clubs if it is ultimately a matter of cushioning the financial effects of the pandemic.”
Doing It Right: Ronaldo and The Juventus Team
Ronaldo and his Juventus teammates have responded to the global crisis by giving up millions of dollars of their salary in a joint effort to help their club weather the COVID-19 outbreak. Ronaldo, the Juventus players and coach Maurizio Sarri agreed to a pay cut totally a $100 million to help club during coronavirus pandemic.
Olympic Athletes’ Reset, FIFA & WHO’s ‘Kick Out Coronavirus’ Campaign Reaches Soccer Fans Worldwide
The world is racing past the new milestone of one million confirmed cases of Coronavirus COVID-19. Deaths from the virus in Italy and Spain are each more than triple the number of those who died in Hubei, China. Young people are ending up in intensive care, fighting to breathe because of COVID-19.
Following the WHO and CDC recommendations are important, and FIFA agrees.
The impact of coronavirus has deeply impacted our communities and now is the time to see how we can help each other. We have a list of suggestions on what youth soccer players can do during this moratorium of training sessions and games.
What Youth Soccer Players Can Do During the Moratorium on Soccer Practices
The New Normal: The Better Clubs & Coaches Create Options For Players
The impact of the Coronavirus COVID-19 on soccer has been massive. Youth soccer clubs across America are shut down.
EVERYONE HAS SOMETHING TO WORK ON. TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THIS TIME TO GET BETTER.Shaun Tsakiris, Former U.S. Soccer U17 / U 16 National Team Head Coach – Currrent Technical Director – Los Gatos United
Prior Cancelations in our Soccer World:
U.S. Soccer, Concacaf, the English Premier League as well as the German Bundesliga, Spain’s La Liga and so many other organizations have suspended competitions because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Here in the USA, the MLS, NWSL, USL, and NISA have all suspend games as well as UPSL, NPSL, UWS, WPSL, and the MASL ended its the season, and the USL LEAGUE ONE delayed its start.
UEFA EURO 2020 has been postponed in light of the risks posed by the coronavirus pandemic. UEFA EURO 2020 was due to take place in 12 cities across Europe from 12 June to 12 July 2020. “Proceeding with the tournament this year would have put thousands of fans at risk of infection, as well as placing unnecessary pressure on the national public services of the countries involved in staging matches.”
The proposed new dates for UEFA EURO are from 11 June to 11 July 2021.
UEFA’s Copa America has also been moved to 2021. U.S. Soccer has canceled all International Friendlies. Outside of soccer, tennis’ French Open will be pushed to the fall and America’s biggest horse race scheduled for May 2, the Kentucky Derby, has been postponed to September 5.
“Society as a whole and thus also football are facing an unprecedented challenge.”Bundesliga Release on March 16 in which they confirmed the further postponement of the Bundesliga and Bundesliga II for Matchday 27
The count has started — with more players and coaches testing positive every day.
How is Coronavirus COVID-19 Impacting Youth &B Pro Soccer?
In the youth world, the U.S. Soccer Development Academy and US Youth Soccer, AYSO and US Club programs have suspended competitions.
Scroll down to see the updated official statements from many of these soccer organizations.
#1 Wash you hands for 20 seconds, and do it often. And, avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
Every day the spread of the Coronavirus COVID-19 intensifies. “Social distancing is critical for suppressing the transmission of the disease,” reports WHO.
U.S. Soccer DA Suspends Season
U.S. Soccer DA has suspended its regular-season matches scheduled through April 30 and is canceling the Allstate U.S. Soccer Development Academy Spring Cup for both boys and girls.
In a statement issued on March 12, the U.S. Soccer Development Academy has suspended all Boys’ and Girls’ regular-season matches through the end of April, and canceled the 2020 Allstate Development Academy Spring Cup to be held April 29-May 4 in Kansas City, Mo. and Greensboro, N.C., as a precaution against the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19).
Note: Brian Remedi, COO of U.S. Soccer sent out a statement on March 12 pushing most scheduled events to April 30th.
According to the DA’s statement: This decision was made in order to limit potential exposure to the Coronavirus and to best protect the health and well-being of all individuals participating or attending DA fixtures and events.U.S. Soccer has been closely monitoring the public health developments across the country and communicating with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) regarding COVID-19 here in the United States and internationally.
“With the health of our players, coaches, staff, and fans as our main priority, U.S. Soccer has decided it was in the best interest to cancel the Spring Cup events in Kansas City and Greensboro as well as suspend all regular season DA matches through April due to the outbreak of COVID-19,” said U.S. Soccer Chief Medical Officer George Chiampas. “We have been in communication with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as well as state and local departments of public health, and after those conversations and continuously monitoring the situation, we strongly believe this is the best decision considering the ongoing worldwide health situation.”
In addition to the cancellation of Development Academy events, U.S. Soccer has canceled numerous upcoming events as a precaution. The DA Hotline is (312) 528-7041 for further information.
The most up-to-date information about U.S. Soccer events and match cancelations can be found on ussoccer.com and our social media channels.
US Youth Soccer Suspends Regional Leagues
Update: As of March 31, all USYS Regional Championships, Nationals and Presidents Cup Competitions Are Canceled Due to the Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic.
Previously: US Youth Soccer has suspended all Regional Leagues until April 15 and will re-assess the situation on April 1st according to Skip Gilbert, CEO.
Earlier this month, the USYS ODP trip to Italy was canceled. Now, USYS has suspended all OPD international trips scheduled for this spring until at least next fall and postponed the USYS TOPSoccer National Symposium from the end of March to August 28-30.
In addition, on March 10th notice was sent out to all USYS National League Teams Participating in Las Vegas Soccer Showcase from Dr. Pete Zopfi, Chair, and Gilbert which announced the 2020 USYS National League Soccer Showcase in Las Vegas, NV for boys and girls had been canceled.
The decision to cancel the USYS event was made “in accordance with the guidance of public health and medical professionals as well as the ongoing acceleration of the coronavirus in communities from which our soccer families reside. As the number of state emergencies increases, we have decided to exercise caution in the interest of our soccer family.”
“We understand and share the disappointment with our players, coaches, and families,” said Dr. Pete Zopfi. “Regrettably, the air travel environment and related information and recommendations presented to us from public health authorities and medical professionals have convinced us that this is the most prudent decision.”
US Club Update:
Announcement from US Club CEO Kevin Payne: Because of a variety of factors stemming from the coronavirus pandemic, US Club Soccer will take the regrettable step of canceling all our National Championship events scheduled for this summer at DICK’S Sporting Goods Park in Colorado. While we realize this will be a great disappointment to clubs, teams, players and their families, we also want to be sensitive to the situation at hand.
Our first priority is the health and safety of everyone involved. We also understand the importance of doing everything we can to help our leagues across the country to complete this spring season, even if that means playing well into the summer. In conversations with leagues across the country, we believe many will be able to complete their spring seasons. Of course, we also recognize that even after restrictions on assembly are lifted, many people will not be eager to travel long distances, especially by air.
The list of canceled youth soccer tournaments are below:
- ENPL National Playoffs (June 25-July 1 in Commerce City, CO)
- ENPL National Finals (July 9-13 in Commerce City, Colorado)
- Girls NPL Finals (July 9-13 in Commerce City, Colorado)
- National Cup XIX Finals (July 17-21 in Commerce City, Colorado)
We have not yet made decisions on our Regional competitions, which many teams are able to drive to. Those competitions begin in June, and we hope to make decisions at least 30 days prior to each event.
- National Cup XIX South Central Regional (June 12-15 in Tulsa, OK)
- National Cup XIX West Regional (June 13-16 in Davis, CA)
- National Cup XIX Midwest Regional (June 19-22 in Waukegan, IL)
- National Cup XIX Southeast Regional (June 20-23 in Winston-Salem, NC)
- National Cup XIX Northwest Regional (June 26-29 in Snohomish, WA)
- National Cup XIX Mid-Atlantic Regional (June 27-30 in Somerset, NJ)
These past weeks have been a trial to us all, and we’re not out of the woods yet. There are certainly encouraging signs, however, not least of which is the willingness of so many people all over the country to accept short-term hardship in service to the greater good. If we all remain resolute and keep up the good fight by behaving responsibly and obeying public health guidelines, we’ll more quickly find ourselves back on the soccer fields and living more normal lives.
US Club Statement as of March 30:
US Club CEO Kevin Payne issued a letter announcing: In consideration of the latest guidance from the federal government, we are extending that suspension through April 30.
“We will review medical and public health guidance later in April and provide updates at that time. While we all hope to return to play as soon as possible, the health and safety of our players, parents, referees and team staff are our number one priority. “
Prior US Club Statement March 17: All soccer activities are immediately suspended through April 12
In recent days, numerous public health agencies – including the CDC, NIH and WHO – have issued strong advice to avoid person-to-person contact to the greatest extent possible. Gatherings of 10 or more people are now being discouraged.
Accordingly, US Club Soccer is joining with other youth members of the U.S. Soccer Federation (AYSO, SAY and USSSA) in immediately suspending all activities within our jurisdiction through April 12. To be clear: this includes not only activities directly operated by US Club Soccer, but also those US Club Soccer-sanctioned and related activities operated by member organizations, such as league and tournament play, scrimmages, practices/training, tryouts, team travel, large group meetings and related off-field activities. AYSO, SAY and USSSA are also taking the same measures.
Earlier, US Club had postponed the 2020 id2 National Selection International Tours to the U.K. until later this year. Statement here. In addition, US Club has postponed 24 upcoming grassroots and “D” license courses through April.
Previously, US Club Soccer‘s League play and tournaments are advised to follow the guidance of local and state public health officials. “We feel this is the best approach given the variances throughout the country. US Club Soccer does not intend to make broad directives that affect our members in every part of the country. Of course, we are also recommending that our members continually monitor the CDC for updates.”
US Youth Futsal Update:
As of March 27, US Youth Futsal released the following statement: The COVID-19 virus has certainly provided unprecedented challenges and we find inspiration in the way that families, friends, and communities are uniting to support each other. Earlier this month, we announced that we were suspending our USYF Futsal ID events through April 1. At this time, we have decided to extend the suspension through May 1.
Please continue to do your part in flattening the curve by practicing social distancing and remaining vigilant in hygiene habits.
Professional Soccer Players Impacted By the Coronavirus COVID-19
Several professional soccer players, club managers, and team doctors abroad have been diagnosed with COVID-19. The first Major League Soccer (MLS) player has tested positive for coronavirus. The Philadelphia Union confirmed its first case of COVID-19 on April 1 in a statement released by the club. The player was not identified in the statement.
The first Bundesliga player tested positive two weeks ago. Paderborn‘s defender Luca Kilian tested positive and now there is a second player at Hertha Berlin who has fallen ill. Paulo Dybala is the third Juventus player who tested positive for Coronavirus. On March 17, it was announced that Juventus and France midfielder Blaise Matuidi tested positive.
Previously: Five players on Italian club Sampdoria including Manolo Gabbiadini and a team doctor tested positive along with three players from AFC Fiorentina. Juventus‘s 25-year-old Daniele Rugani also tested positive according to CBS. Other cases include Chelsea‘s Callum Hudson-Odoi, Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta, Hannover‘s Jannes Horn as well as Timo Hubers plus three Leicester City players who are in isolation with coronavirus symptoms as well as Manchester City‘s Benjamin Mendy is also in isolation. Evangelos Mainakis, owner of Olympiakos and Nottingham Forest has also tested positive for Coronavirus COVID-19, deepening the foreboding impact of this pandemic on soccer.
Excerpt from the Union’s statement: “The Union medical staff has been working directly with Crozer-Keystone Health System medical officials to treat the player who experienced mild symptoms and is feeling well and in good spirits. The player is observing appropriate isolation protocols. No other cases or symptoms within Philadelphia Union soccer operations have been identified at this time.”
Update on COVID 19’s Impact on Professional Soccer
COVID-19’s Impact on MLS:
MLS Statement as of April 14:
Major League Soccer continues to regularly evaluate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, including how it will affect our plans for the 2020 season.
Although we hoped to return to play in mid-May, that is extremely unlikely based on the guidance of federal and local public health authorities.
Our goal remains to play as many games as possible, and while we currently have enough dates to play the entire season, we recognize at this time that it may become difficult to do so. We continue to learn more every day from the medical experts, and we expect to have additional details in the coming weeks regarding when we can return to play. As we have throughout this process, we will update our fans with every decision, and we thank them for their support and understanding during this extremely challenging time.
MLS Statement as of April 2:
Major League Soccer announced Thursday that it had extended the team training moratorium through, and including, Friday, April 24.
Similar to previous extensions, MLS training facilities will remain closed to all players and staff with the exception of players requiring treatment or rehabilitation. Players are also still expected to remain in each club’s respective market, though MLS will continue to review individual requests by players to relocate to another market by car.
The training moratorium has been in effect since MLS announced the suspension of play on March 12 due to the coronavirus pandemic. On March 19, the league announced that it was extending that suspension in line with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), setting a target return date of May 10.
Read Thursday’s full statement below:
Major League Soccer has extended the team training moratorium through, and including, Friday, April 24. MLS training facilities remain closed to all players and staff with the exception of players requiring medical treatment or rehabilitation, under the direction of the team medical staff, that cannot be performed from the safety of their residence.
While MLS players are expected to remain in each club’s respective market, MLS will continue to review individual requests by players to relocate to another market by car, taking into account the totality of a player’s situation.
MLS will remain 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 provide further updates as they become available.
MLS Statement as of March 25:
Major League Soccer Training Moratorium Continues Through April 3
Major League Soccer has extended the team training moratorium through, and including, Friday, April 3. MLS training facilities remain closed to all players and staff with the exception of players requiring medical treatment or rehabilitation, under the direction of the team medical staff, that cannot be performed from the safety of their residence.
While MLS players are expected to remain in each club’s respective market, MLS will review individual requests by players to relocate to another market by car, taking into account the totality of a player’s situation.
MLS will remain 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 provide further updates as they become available.
MLS Statement as of March 19:
MLS extends season suspension in accordance with CDC guidance on COVID-19
Major League Soccer announced on Thursday that it was extending the suspension of all matches, with a target return date of May 10. The extension was made in accordance with Sunday’s guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to cancel all mass gatherings of 50 or more people for the next eight weeks. The league said it remains intent on completing the full 2020 season schedule.
Below is the full statement from MLS:
In accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidance to postpone events involving more than 50 people over the next eight weeks, Major League Soccer has extended the postponement of its matches during this period of time. MLS remains focused on playing the entire 2020 season and is evaluating all options, including pushing back the end of the season and playing MLS Cup in December, as the league did prior to the 2019 season. The league is also identifying other available dates. Throughout this process, MLS will continue to prioritize the safety of our fans, players, employees and partners and to coordinate with federal and local public health authorities as well as other sporting organizations.
MLS announced a week ago that it was suspending play for 30 days in order to assess the impact of COVID-19 (coronavirus) with its medical task force and public health officials.
There have been more than 7,000 confirmed cases across all 50 U.S. states, Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico and 97 deaths, according to the CDC’s latest reporting from noon Wednesday. In Canada, there have been 690 confirmed cases of the virus, according to Public Health Canada.
MLS Statement as of March 16: “Major League Soccer has extended the team training moratorium through, and including, Friday, March 20th. 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.”
“MLS is working with public health authorities, in collaboration with the MLS clubs, the MLS Players Association, and in consultation with the other North American professional sports leagues to finalize a protocol that would permit players to access training facilities for rehab or individual training under safe conditions during the team training moratorium.”
MLS Statement as of March 12: “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.“
“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), and other public health authorities, and in the best interest of our fans, players, officials, and employees,” said MLS Commissioner Don Garber. “We’d like to thank our fans for their continued support during this challenging time.”
On April 16, The United Soccer League (USL) announced that it was extending its moratorium on training for USL Championship and League One clubs through, and including, Sunday, May 3rd. USL also said it will use the time to reassess its current temporary suspension timeline.
In addition, the USL League Two Northeast Division has been canceled — hopes of their summer exhibition games crash. “We absolutely support the Northeast Division’s decision,” said USL Vice President Joel Nash. “At the end of the day, it was about much more than soccer and we look forward to welcoming them back even stronger in 2021.”USL Statement as of April 2: USL Announces Extension to Training Moratorium
The USL announced today it has extended its training moratorium for USL Championship and League One clubs through, and including, Sunday, April 19th.
USL continues to work closely with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), other local, state and national health authorities, the USL Players Association, and professional sports organizations from across the country to ensure the health and wellness of players, staff and supporters remains our top priority.
In close coordination with the league’s Board of Governors, USL will also use the time to reassess its current temporary suspension timeline.
USL Statement as of March 18: USL CHAMPIONSHIP EXTENDS HIATUS THROUGH MAY 10.
The United Soccer League announced today, following approval from the USL Championship’s Board of Governors, that the previously announced 30-day temporary suspension of play in the Championship will be extended to align with recent guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on restricting public gatherings of 50 or more people through Sunday, May 10.
USL Statement as of March 12: “The USL Championship will suspend play for a minimum of 30 days due to the impact of COVID-19 (coronavirus). Twelve MLS teams currently either operate USL Championship clubs or have affiliates in the league.
“It was very clear from our owners that the health and safety of players, fans and staff was their top priority,” said USL CEO Alec Papadakis. “In consultation with local, state and national health authorities, as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Department of Homeland Security, we have temporarily suspended match play for a minimum of 30 days.”
USL Championship Temporarily Suspends Play pic.twitter.com/lUwfXvnIbl— USL Championship (@USLChampionship) March 12, 2020
On March 11th, San Diego Loyal Soccer Club had been one of the first teams to address the issue of COVID-19 and soccer and had agreed to play its first away match in Tacoma, Washington against Tacoma Defiance in an empty stadium, following Washington Gov. Jay Inslee’s announcement suspending large public gatherings. “We fully support Governor Islee’s announcement and will comply with all recommendations from local health authorities as they develop,” said Warren Smith, San Diego Loyal President. “We take our responsibility to San Diego very seriously and will continue to take all appropriate precautions for the safety of our players, staff, and community.”
In addition, United Soccer League Announces Two-Week Delay to Start of League One Season. “It was very clear from our Championship and League One owners that the health and safety of players, fans and staff was their top priority,” said USL CEO Alec Papadakis. “In consultation with local, state and national health authorities, as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Department of Homeland Security, we made the decision to delay the start of the League One season by a minimum of two weeks.”
NISA Statement as of March 12: NISA’s core values center around the communities and fans we serve and due to the very serious and fluid situation we face with COVID-19 and the risk it poses to our fans, communities, players, and staffs, we’ve decided to suspend our spring season effective immediately for 30 days. During that time our task force, which includes medical experts, we will review, on a regular basis, this very fluid situation and will make future recommendations as needed.
“We are hopeful that enough progress can be made with this virus where we can resume our spring 2020 season. Due to our structure and schedule, we will have time to make up those games, but for now, we wish everyone health and wellness,” said John W. Prutch, Commissioner National Independent Soccer Association
Statement from U.S. Soccer on Cancelations:
“With the health of our players, coaches, staff, and fans as our main priority, U.S. Soccer has decided it was in the best interest to cancel the majority of our upcoming domestic and international camps at all levels, including our senior Men’s and Women’s National Team games in March and April, due to the outbreak of COVID-19,” said U.S. Soccer Chief Medical Officer George Chiampas. “We have been in communication with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as well as state and local departments of public health, and after those conversations and continuously monitoring the situation, we strongly believe this is the best decision considering the ongoing worldwide health situation.”
Statement from U.S. Soccer on March 13: Due to the ongoing uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic across the world, U.S. Soccer’s Open Cup Committee has temporarily suspended the 2020 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, U.S. Soccer’s National Championship.
The first three rounds of the 2020 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup were scheduled for March 24-25, April 7-9 and April 21-23. U.S. Open Cup Commissioner Paul Marstaller said, “Given the unique nature of the competition, which encompasses clubs from multiple leagues that have suspended their seasons, we are taking this action and will look to determine future dates to allow the 2020 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup to be played.”
Statement from U.S. Soccer on March 12: Due to the ongoing uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic across the world, U.S. Soccer has canceled the upcoming Men’s and Women’s Senior National Team matches in March and April, and the majority of Youth National Team and Extended National Team camps that were planned through the end of April.
MASL Statement as of March 12: The Major Arena Soccer League (MASL) has decided to end the 2019-2020 regular season effective immediately. The league’s Board of Directors voted unanimously this afternoon to act in the best interests of the players, staff and fans of the league.
The decision to end the regular season follows the direction seen in other professional sports across North America, such as the NHL, NBA, AHL, and others along with directives and restrictions from local governments in MASL communities.
“It’s a disappointing end to an exciting regular season, but the health and safety of our players, fans and staff is paramount,” said MASL Commissioner Joshua Schaub. “It was a significant sacrifice for our owners to forego the remaining regular season games, but it was the appropriate decision considering the gravity of the situation.”
NWSL Statement as of May 15: The National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) EXTENDS TEAM TRAINING MORATORIUM THROUGH MAY 24
The League Continues to Prioritize the Health and Safety of its Players, Staff and Fans
All NWSL players may continue to use outdoor team training fields for voluntary household workouts and the league is involved in regular discussions with its medical task force on the progression through each phase of the Return to Play Phased Protocol. Clubs are still required to follow all federal, state and local mandates.
The league remains in contact with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and health and safety remains the top priority. We will continue to provide further updates as they become available.
NWSL Statement as of March 20: The National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) now is extending the moratorium on training until April 5th.
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. 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.
NWSL Statement as of March 12: The National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) Commissioner Lisa Baird released the following statement today regarding the 2020 Season:
“After receiving guidance from local and state authorities and medical personnel, and with the support of the Board of Directors, the National Women’s Soccer League is canceling the 2020 pre-season match schedule in the wake of the most recent developments surrounding COVID-19. Our priority continues to be the safety and well-being of our players, coaches, staff, and fans. We are reviewing all contingency plans related to our regular season schedule and are monitoring developing events and their potential impact. We are deeply appreciative of our fans and partners for their continued support of our league and all our world-class players.”
US Adult Soccer Association Update:
|USASA Statement as of April 8, 2020 – The below is an excerpt:|
The Board has decided to cancel the Steinbrecher Cup, the USASA National Amateur Cup, and Adult Soccer Fest for 2020.
The uncertainty of this virus left us with no other solution. We continue to pray that this virus is contained soon and that we can all focus on getting our players and teams back onto the fields to continue playing the sport that we all love. The focus for USASA and the Regions will be to assist State Associations to get back into action as soon as we are allowed to.
USASA has applied for a loan under the CARES Act for non-profit organizations. If you have not applied for a loan, I would advise you to take a look at it and see how your State Association may apply to help with payroll, rent and utility expenses. If we can be of any help, please do not hesitate to call any one of your Board members or our staff. We are all here to assist each other… we are all in this together! Stay safe and continue to adhere to your local authorities. This too will pass, and we will see each other again on the pitch!
God Bless you all and God Bless our country!
John Motta – President
NPSL Statement as of March 27: THE IMPACT OF COVID-19: NPSL CANCELS SPRING 2020 SOCCER SEASON
On March 23, the United States Adult Soccer Association (USASA) extended its ban on soccer activity until April 30, and the CDC last week has recommended there be no group activities for 8 weeks, which coordinates to May 10.
Given these circumstances, the 2020 NPSL summer season, under its current competition structure, has been canceled. This decision was made unanimously by our Board of Directors.
This action was not taken lightly. Over the past few weeks, the league has spoken to many of its teams and affiliate organizations. Every situation is different and has its own set of circumstances. The NPSL is balancing the immediate needs of its teams and ensuring that there is a successful, thriving league for years to come.
NPSL Statement as of March 12: “The NPSL has been monitoring the COVID-19 (“coronavirus”) diligently. Considering recent events, the NPSL is temporarily suspending our West Region season for the remainder of March 2020 with a current plan to resume play on April 4th. This is effective tonight at midnight local time.”
“The situation is fluid, and the league is monitoring the situation daily. The NPSL will revisit the length of the suspension a week prior to April 4th. We will communicate any change in the status of the 2020 season.”
UPSL Statement as of March 12: Effective immediately, all United Premier Soccer League (UPSL) matches are suspended through March 31, 2020. During this hiatus, we will closely monitor national developments, and seek the guidance of government officials and medical professionals before resuming competition.
The safety of our players, coaches and their families is our top priority. It is our hope that we will be able to resume play the first weekend in April. However, as the circumstances surrounding the coronavirus continue to develop, we will remain flexible.
UEFA Update: UEFA postpones EURO 2020 by 12 months
UEFA Statement as of March 18: Priority given to completing domestic competitions in an unprecedented solidarity move by UEFA.
Corona Crisis Speculation: Champions League match between Atalanta vs Valencia Now Called “a biological bomb” as some think it was a “Ground Zero.”On February 19, Atalanta hosted the Spanish team in Milan’s famed San Siro Stadium. According to AP, “The match, which local media have dubbed “Game Zero,” was held two days before the first case of locally transmitted COVID-19 was confirmed in Italy.” A very high percentage, a reported 35% of Valencia’s team, became infected.
Announced on May 13, given the ongoing uncertainty about when football can resume, we have made the decision to suspend the 2020 Concacaf Men’s Under-20 Championships, scheduled to take place in Honduras between June 20th and July 5th.
Concacaf Statement as of April 3: Concacaf Statement regarding the suspension of the Concacaf Nations League Finals, Road to Gold Cup Qualifiers and Flow Caribbean Club Championship
Given the ongoing public health situation, and following consultation with FIFA regarding the international football calendar, we have made the decision to suspend the Concacaf Nations League Finals, which was scheduled for June 4th – 7th 2020 in the Houston and Dallas areas.
Houston and Dallas were set to host the inaugural Concacaf Nations League Finals, with semi-final games at BBVA Stadium and NRG Stadium in Houston, and the Final and third-place game taking place in AT&T Stadium in Arlington.
The event, which includes the Costa Rica, Honduras, Mexico and USA men’s national teams, will be rescheduled to take place at a later date in venues to be determined.
Additionally, following the same considerations and discussions with FIFA, we have made the decision to suspend the Road to Gold Cup qualification matches scheduled in the June international window and the Flow Caribbean Club Championship scheduled for May. We will discuss with stakeholders format and scheduling options for these matches and communicate our plans in due course.
In the case of the Concacaf Nations League Finals, fans who purchased tickets via Ticketmaster, SeatGeek or AXS will receive refunds automatically. Fans who purchased tickets directly at the stadium box office or through third party vendors should contact those organizations directly for more details regarding the refund process.
Concacaf Statement as of March 13: Given the constantly evolving public health situation, and in light of developing travel restrictions and public health guidance, along with global concerns about the spread of COVID-19, the Concacaf Council convened yesterday via a conference call and the decision was made to suspend all upcoming Concacaf competitions scheduled to take place over the next 30 days.
The following competitions have been suspended with immediate effect:
- 2020 Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League
- 2020 Concacaf Men’s Olympic Qualifiers
- First Round of the Concacaf 2021 Gold Cup Qualifiers (due to be played in the March 2020 FIFA Window)
- 2020 Concacaf Caribbean Club Shield
*Source of data on confirmed cases and deaths are from Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus COVID-19 Global Cases by the Center for System Science and Engineering. Other data references World Health Organization‘s WHO COVID-19 map. Here is what you need to know – follow the guidelines from the CDC. More references & helpful links at the end of the article.
German Soccer: Bundesliga
DFL Statement on March 24, 2020: Executive Committee of the DFL recommends suspension of Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2 until at least 30 April – Tender for media rights postponed.
In preparation for the Ordinary Assembly of the Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2 on 31 March, the Executive Committee of the DFL Deutsche Fußball Liga today met in a video conference lasting several hours. Under consideration of the consequences of the coronavirus, possible scenarios and conceivable options for action were discussed. These will be further structured over the course of the week and then put to the Ordinary Assembly for discussion.
The Executive Committee is aware that all scenarios and options for action also depend on external factors, over which the DFL and clubs have no or only limited influence, including the further spread of the virus and political assessments of the situation. In this light, the Executive Committee will recommend towards the Ordinary Assembly a further suspension of match operations in the Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2 until at least 30 April.
What is Social Distancing? Why is it Important?
On Wednesday, March 11, Coronavirus Declared Pandemic. The World Health Organization (WHO) declared a global health emergency in relation to the spread of the Covid-19 virus. According to the WHO Director-General, “This is a controllable pandemic. Countries that decide to give up on fundamental public health measures may end up with a larger problem, and a heavier burden on the health system that requires more severe measures to control. All countries must strike a fine balance between protecting health, preventing economic and social disruption, and respecting human rights.“
Social distancing can slow the spread of the Covid-19 virus. Not even elbow bumps are recommended anymore. Hugs, hello kisses and handshakes are not recommended.
Social Distancing is an effort to slow down the spread of a contagious disease.
How Does This Work? … When someone coughs or sneezes they spray small liquid droplets. If you are too close, you can breathe in the droplets, including the COVID-19 virus if the person coughing has the disease.
Maintain at least 3 feet distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing. Many experts have also mentioned 6 feet of distance.
The Washington State Department of Health was one of the first to suggest practicing “social distancing” — staying at least six feet away from each other, especially if someone is sick. “Do not attend large events, such as sporting events, conferences, or other community events if you are sick, do not feel well, or someone in your home is sick.” In early March, the Washington State Department of Health asked people to consider their risk of getting COVID-19 before attending an event.
Two weeks ago, the world was less worried. Then, the Economist reported Coronavirus COVID-19 was in 50 countries. Today, over 160 countries have confirmed cases. Concern over the spread of the virus has sparked massive quarantines and the Coronavirus COVID-19 is impacting all levels of the beautiful game.
Coronavirus COVID-19 is a game-changer.
While we all hope everyone ill recovers quickly, and that life can return to pre-Coronavirus (COVID-19) status — there is a clear reason for caution.
It does sound simple, but frequent handwashing with soap for 20 seconds is highly recommended to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Resources and Links on COVID-19:
Information is our first defense. Here are a number of different resources and communications from the World Health Organization (WHO), the Center For Disease Control (CDC) and other organizations regarding the Coronavirus:
- For general information, check CDC COVID-19 and WHO Advice for Coronavirus
- Other useful tips can be found at Preventing COVID-19 Spread in Communities.
- CDC – Travelers Health
- CDC – Frequently Asked Questions
- CDC – Travelers Health
- CDC’s What you need to know about coronavirus (COVID-19) PDF
- WHO’s COVID-19: IFRC, UNICEF and WHO issue guidance to protect children and support safe school operations
- Global Level 3 Health Advisory: State Department link asking people to Reconsider Travel, and in specific on travel to Italy.
- COVID-19: U.S. Soccer on KEY GUIDELINES.
- WSJ’s How to Keep Your Home Free of Coronavirus Germs
- CNN’s Infected people without symptoms might be driving the spread of coronavirus more than we realized
The Wall Street Journal article, “All Your Coronavirus Travel Questions Answered,” recommends if you haven’t already, get your flu shot— at least two weeks before you depart. In fact, it is a good idea to take hand sanitizer with 60% to 95% alcohol along!
Plus Reuters on airlines around the world suspending flights in response to the coronavirus outbreak.
Additional COVID-19 Updates on Soccer Around the Globe published earlier:
On March 4th, the German health minister, Jens Spahn, described the coronavirus as a “worldwide pandemic.” Is this the flu on Steroids? The Covid-19 death toll in Italy has risen dramatically and is the highest number, outside China. Italy’s Prime Minister, Giuseppe Conte, has placed his entire country in lockdown until April 3rd. The World Health Organization, (WHO) said COVID-19 has a fatality rate of 3.4%, which is higher than the flu’s usually less than 1% or 2%.
Germany’s health minister, Jens Spahn, has said earlier the coronavirus outbreak was a “worldwide pandemic.” As of March 11th, WHO agreed to refer to COVID-19 as a pandemic.
U.S. Soccer Statement From Early March:
As members of the U.S. Soccer family, we would encourage you to carefully look at your own programming – including events and travel – and stay in contact with our office as well as your local and state departments of Public Health with further questions. We will endeavor to provide all members with timely and relevant information on Coronavirus.
There is currently no vaccine to prevent the Coronavirus. The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed. Everyday preventive actions should be taken, including:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
- Follow the CDC’s recommendations for using a facemask.
- CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including Coronavirus.
- Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms to help prevent the spread of the disease.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
- If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
Top Image Source: WHO on Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)
Editor’s note: This story has and will continue to be updated with additional clarification as new information is available.