NWSL and Canadian Premier League suspend season starts

NWSL and Canadian Premier League suspend season starts
The National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL), the top-flight of women’s club soccer in the US, and the Canadian Premier League (CPL), Canada’s elite men’s soccer league, have each delayed the start of their season amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The NWSL had been due to kick off on 18th April, while the CPL was set to get underway a week earlier on 11th April.

For the NWSL, the decision was made in response to the guidelines released by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The league added the training moratorium was extended through 5th April, while no new date has been set for the beginning of the 2020 campaign.

‘Our priority continues to be the safety and well-being of our players, coaches, staff, and fans,’ NWSL Commissioner Lisa Baird said in a statement.

‘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.’

Like the NWSL, the CPL has also opted not to announce a proposed new date for its league to commence. Instead, they will wait until the situation is declared safe by relevant health and government agencies, including national governing body Canada Soccer.

A statement from David Clanachan, CPL commissioner, said: ‘We have made this decision in support of the announcement by Canada Soccer on 13th March banning all sanctioned soccer activities in Canada, and the directive by our respective governments and health officials to ban all public gatherings.

‘Collectively with our clubs and owners we unanimously agree that our number one priority is to protect the wellbeing of our fans, players, officials, employees and the general public.

‘We will continue to monitor closely all input from our government agencies and medical experts and maintain our consistent dialogue both internally and externally. As more information becomes available, we will provide public updates.’

The pair’s decision comes after Major League Soccer (MLS), North America’s biggest men’s soccer league, chose last week to extend the suspension of all its games. Unlike the NWSL and CPL, however, it has set a new target return date of 10th May.

In Europe, the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) and La iga, the country’s professional league body, have agreed to continue the suspension of all professional soccer competitions. This will remain in place until such a time when the relevant health authorities confirm that they can be resumed without posing a health risk. LaLiga had initially suspended all its games for two weeks back on 12th March.

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