Mexico friendlies in U.S. called off, CONCACAF Champions League suspended

ByTom Marshall ESPN logo
Friday, March 13, 2020

MEXICO CITY -- Liga MX has implemented measures to help prevent the spread of coronavirus by stopping the usual prematch handshake before games this weekend, while the CONCACAF Champions League has been postponed.

Mexican national team's friendlies in the United States on March 26 against Czech Republic (in Charlotte, N.C.) and on March 29 against Greece (in Arlington, TX) have also been canceled.

Organizers stated that refunds will be granted for tickets already purchased and that "at this moment, our top priority is the health of our fans and players."

Mexico's match against Colombia in Denver scheduled for May 30 continues as planned.

Sources have also told ESPN that the men's Olympic qualifying tournament, scheduled to start in Guadalajara on March 20, has also been suspended.

Mexico hasn't appeared to have been as affected as much as other countries by the worldwide coronavirus outbreak and hasn't as yet put in force steps to ban mass events, with Liga MX following the Mexican government's advice on the issue.

A Liga MX statement said the pregame handshake between "players, officials and child mascots" will not take place in round 10 of matches in Liga MX and Liga MX Femenil, as well as in the second division and youth games.

The same statement indicated that people should wash their hands frequently and disinfectants should be used on surfaces around stadiums and training facilities, while mouth covers should be used by those presenting flu-like symptoms, as well as seeking medical advice.

"If this gets worse and [the government] communicate that, then other measures will be taken," said Liga MX president Enrique Bonilla on Fox Sports on Thursday morning. The league president didn't rule out suspending or playing games behind closed doors if the Mexican government indicates it is necessary.

LAFC and Cruz Azul were scheduled to play in the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal first leg on Thursday night in Banc of California Stadium, but the game has been postponed with Cruz Azul already in Los Angeles.

The second legs of the tournament were set for next week.

"Given the developments last night, including new guidance issued by countries, cities and states, we have made the decision to suspend the Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League with immediate effect," read the statement from CONCACAF. "We are continuing to discuss arrangements for other upcoming CONCACAF competitions and will make a further public statement in due course."

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