It began to feel inevitable over the last couple days, and this morning Major League Soccer made it official: the 2020 season is suspended for 30 days as the United States braces for the full impact of the COVID-19 virus.
It means the Chicago Fire’s return to Soldier Field on March 21 is off, for now. Here’s a statement from the club on what happens next for ticket holders:
Major League Soccer has suspended match play for 30 days, effective immediately, as the league continues to assess the impact of COVID-19 with its medical task force and public health officials. This decision includes the Fire’s homecoming match at Soldier Field on March 21.
All tickets already purchased for March 21 will be honored for the rescheduled date. The Fire will work with ticket holders on appropriate credits or refunds for this and any other games that may be affected and an email will be sent to all season ticket holders from their Account Representative.
“We all share in the health and well-being of our community,” said Fire President Nelson Rodríguez. “We will continue regular dialogue with all city, state, national and league authorities on issues relating to COVID-19 and will provide fans and partners updates accordingly.”
Here’s the full statement from MLS:
Major League Soccer has suspended match play for 30 days, effective immediately, as the league continues to assess the impact of COVID-19 with its medical task force and public health officials.
At the appropriate time, the league and clubs will communicate plans for the continuation of the 2020 season and update the status of league events.
“Our clubs were united today in the decision to temporarily suspend our season – based on the advice and guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), and other public health authorities, and in the best interest of our fans, players, officials and employees,” said MLS Commissioner Don Garber. “We’d like to thank our fans for their continued support during this challenging time.”
USL has also followed suit with a 30 day suspension. NWSL has canceled all preseason activities, but, at the moment, the Chicago Red Stars would still begin the season in North Carolina on April 18.
Additionally, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker has asked all sports team owners to hold off on playing any home games until May 1. It means the Fire’s first match at Soldier Field could be May 9 at 2 p.m. CT against Inter Miami, and the Red Stars could potentially play their home opener that same night in Bridgeview against the Utah Royals. Clearly, though, the situation is fluid and could—and probably will—change.
Obviously, this is disappointing for everyone involved, but these moves are the right thing to do from a public health standpoint.
As for us, we’ll do our best at Hot Time in Old Town to keep you informed, and we’ll still try to bring you some non-Coronavirus content, too. We’ll get through this, together.
In the meantime, feel free to use our comments section if you need to talk through this with your fellow Fire fans.