With the spread of coronavirus continuing, both locally and around the world, major North American sports leagues that are in season are announcing they will limit postgame locker room access to only players and essential staff as a precautionary measure. Among the leagues included is Major League Soccer.
What does this mean? For fans, it probably doesn’t mean a lot at first. Media access will be limited, although not eliminated, to speak to players and coaches postgame, as is practice at present.
The timeline on this is “temporary,” so this could last a little amount of time or a very long time, depending on how coronavirus is handled.
But while there might be fewer quotes after games due to these restrictions, what should be of concern to the general public is that sports leagues are starting to react to coronavirus. Last week, MLS teams in California were told they might need to play closed-door games or postpone or cancel them if the local public health authorities deem it necessary, and while that was stressed to be a contingency, if things get really bad, there is clearly advance planning to try and protect the health of people surrounding sports, and more measures could be taken if necessary.
Add to that a report on Monday from Sam Stejskal of The Athletic, who claims multiple sources report the league would prefer to postpone games over playing them behind closed doors, for revenue reasons. You can read more details in Stejskal’s story.
LAFC are off this week in league play, but they have a big game in Concacaf Champions League at home on Thursday against Liga MX side Cruz Azul. That adds further complications to the story, since Concacaf runs the CCL and they could make other decisions regarding game attendance, media access or other items related to the coronavirus, or not. I’ve reached out to an LAFC spokesperson to see if any additional changes are being made or pondered for Thursday, and was told Monday evening the plan was to continue with the game with a full crowd as planned.
For now, what do you think? Are leagues being merely cautious or are they not doing enough? Do you feel comfortable attending sporting events with more coronavirus cases being reported in Southern California? Let’s chat in the comments.