Liga MX Suspends All Matches Indefinitely amid Coronavirus Concerns

James Dudko@@JamesDudkoFeatured ColumnistMarch 15, 2020

Andre Pierre Gignac (R) of Tigres vies for the ball with Elio Castro (L) of Bravos de Juarez during the Mexican Clausura 2020 tournament football match at Universitario stadium, in Monterrey, Mexico, on March 14, 2020. - The match is played without public as a preventive measure in the face of the global COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. (Photo by Julio Cesar AGUILAR / AFP) (Photo by JULIO CESAR AGUILAR/AFP via Getty Images)
JULIO CESAR AGUILAR/Getty Images

Mexico has become the latest country to have its top-flight football matches postponed in response to the global outbreak of the coronavirus.

Play will be brought to a halt after fixtures for Matchday 10 of the 2019/20 season have been wrapped up Sunday night:

Toluca are currently hosting Atlas, while Santos Laguna at home to Necaxa and Club America's game against Cruz Azul are the remaining matches. The decision to call subsequent games off means Liga MX will join leagues in England, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Italy and the United States that have suspended play.

Games had been allowed to continue but only when played behind closed doors. The league's statement (h/t Joel Soria of NBC Sports) referenced "communication with the Ministry of Health to attend to their recommendations and, of course, health and prevention measures will continue to be carried out in the stadiums for players, club staff and the media."

Consultation with the authorities has led to sterner measures from the league. Those measures cap an escalated response to dealing with the threat of the virus, a process detailed by ESPN FC's Tom Marshall:

It means the Mexican top flight is now going to begin considering how, when and if its season will be able to end. The same dilemma is dominating the agendas of football's governing bodies across Europe and beyond.

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Major League Soccer had already taken the decision to suspend play for 30 days as part of a large stoppage of sports across North America, per BBC Sport. Meanwhile, England's Premier League is at a standstill until April 4, with Liverpool 25 points clear at the top. It's possible the season could be called off altogether.

The division would need 14 clubs to consent to voiding the campaign, according to the London Evening Standard (h/t Joe Miles of The Sun).

Mexico's title picture could be even more complex, with Cruz Azul able to move a point above Leon with victory over Club America. The latter would only be a point off the top with victory.

What form leagues take as and when the suspension of play is lifted will be the main focus of football's top decision-makers.

Meanwhile, all sports will continue trying to adjust to a virus that has so far been confirmed in over 152,400 people in 144 countries, per data provided by the World Health Organisation (h/t CNN).

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