FC Dallas out of MLS restart after virus outbreak: league


Los Angeles (AFP)

FC Dallas were withdrawn from Major League Soccer's restart tournament on Monday after 11 members of the franchise tested positive for COVID-19, the league said.

An MLS statement said 10 players and one member of Dallas' technical staff had tested positive for the coronavirus since arriving in Orlando, Florida, which is hosting the "MLS is Back" tournament due to kick off on Wednesday.

"Given the impact of the number of positive tests on the club’s ability to train and play competitive matches, we have made the decision to withdraw FC Dallas from the MLS is Back Tournament," MLS Commissioner Don Garber said in a statement.

"The health of everyone involved in our return to play has always been our top priority, and we will continue to make decisions consistent with that priority."

MLS has not played since the league was put into shutdown in March as the coronavirus pandemic erupted.

League chiefs opted to restart the season with a World Cup-style format tournament featuring all 26 MLS teams based at Disney World in Orlando, with teams effectively kept isolated in a protective "bubble."

Nashville SC, another of the teams in Orlando, has also reportedly suffered an outbreak, with The Athletic reporting that five players had tested positive for COVID-19 since arriving in Florida.

Nashville is due to play in the tournament's opening round of fixtures on Wednesday against Chicago Fire.