UPDATE: Major League Soccer will suspend games for 30 days, the league announced Thursday. Read more here...
The XFL also announced it was canceling regular-season games.
SEATTLE -- The Seattle Sounders FC said it would postpone its March 21 home match against FC Dallas in an effort to help stop the spread of COVID-19.
The announcement came shortly after Gov. Jay Inslee prohibited gatherings of more than 250 people in King, Pierce and Snohomish counties.
The Sounders released the following statement:
Throughout this process, Sounders FC has stated that nothing is more important than public safety and the wellbeing of our fans. With that in mind, we respect the difficult decision that has been made today, and our club will continue following the guidelines set forth by our public health authorities and government agencies. We will maintain our consistent dialogue with elected leadership, public health officials and Major League Soccer, and as more information becomes available, the club will continue to provide public updates. This includes details about rescheduling the FC Dallas match for a later date.
Meanwhile, the XFL Seattle Dragons said it would play its game March 15 at CenturyLink Field without any fans. Ticketholders would be getting refunds or a credit, the team said. The game will still be played and televised.
Gov. Inslee bans large gatherings in King, Pierce and Snohomish counties
Authorities banned large gatherings in the hard-hit Seattle area and in San Francisco on Wednesday — including pro baseball and basketball games — in the most sweeping efforts yet to control the coronavirus epidemic in the U.S., with experts warning that the worst is yet to come.
In a state where at least 25 victims have died from the virus — 19 of them from the same suburban Seattle nursing home — Washington Gov. Jay Inslee prohibited gatherings of more than 250 people.
The ban, affecting 4 million residents of virtually the entire Seattle metro area, does not cover workplaces or classrooms, but affects houses of worship and applies to baseball’s Seattle Mariners, whose home games will be moved.
The Seattle Thunderbirds, a junior hockey team, will play their next two home games at an empty Showare Center in Kent. The games will be closed to the public.
“This is not just your ordinary flu,” Inslee said. “This demands a response consistent with the nature of the threat.”
In San Francisco, Mayor London Breed banned all gatherings of 1,000 or more people for the next two weeks, including Golden State Warriors games. City officials had already called off non-essential gatherings of 50 or more people at city-owned properties, including the convention center and performing arts centers.
California’s Santa Clara County, home to San Jose and Silicon Valley, prohibited all gatherings of 1,000 people or more.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.