MLS Calls Mid-May Return 'Extremely Unlikely' Because of COVID-19 Pandemic

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistApril 14, 2020

David Beckham, Inter Miami CF co-owner, is interviewed during the Major League Soccer 25th Season kickoff event in New York, Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2020. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
Richard Drew/Associated Press

Major League Soccer released a statement Tuesday saying it is "extremely unlikely" the league will meet its targeted mid-May return to play because of the coronavirus pandemic:

"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 suspended its 2020 season in March, along with nearly every major sports league in the United States. Teams had played only two games in a campaign that was scheduled to run through October.

Sports leagues continue to await word from public health officials on the viability of continuing their seasons. It's considered highly unlikely that venues will be allowed to hold major crowds for the foreseeable future, so the soonest possible return would include games without fans. 

Most states have issued stay-at-home orders through at least the end of April. There have been nearly 600,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus as of Tuesday, with 23,607 deaths.