Major League Soccer extends training moratorium due to COVID-19 outbreak

Montreal Impact's Maximiliano Urruti, left, challenges New England Revolution's goalkeeper Matt Turner and DeJuan Jones, right, during second half MLS soccer action in Montreal, Saturday, February 29, 2020. (Graham Hughes/CP)

TORONTO — Major League Soccer has extended its moratorium on team training through March 27.

The news comes one day after the league announced that, due to the COVID-19 outbreak, it was extending its suspension of play with May 10 a targeted return date. The league’s original training moratorium was to have ended Friday.

"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," the league said in a statement. "At this time, team training facilities may only be accessed for physical therapy purposes at the direction of club medical staff to ensure adherence to safety protocols."

Toronto, for example, has only had injured captain Michael Bradley undergo rehab at the team’s training facility — with the area cleaned and disinfected after each session. Argentine winger Pablo Piatti was also scheduled for individual rehab work.

The Canadian Premier League, which announced Friday it was postponing the scheduled April 11 start to its regular season, instituted a 14-day hold on all pre-season training as of last Friday.

The USL Championship, the second-tier league in the U.S., announced Friday it was extending its training moratorium through April 5. It also applies to the lower-tier USL League One, which has delayed the start to its season along with League Two. Like MLS, the USL Championship had just kicked off it season when the disruptions began.

The National Women’s Soccer League has extended its training moratorium through April 5 and delayed the start of the regular season, originally scheduled for April 18.

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