The National Womens Soccer League will resume play in June, playing 25 games in two Utah stadiums without spectators.
The league announced Wednesday that players from the nine teams will train and lodge in two hotels in the Salt Lake City area, and all of them will undergo tests for the coronavirus before departing for Utah and be regularly screened while there, The Associated Press reported.
The tournament, set to begin June 27, will be televised and streamed by CBS and its affiliates. The games will be played without an audience at the Zions Bank and Rio Tinto stadiums in the Salt Lake City suburbs.
It remains unclear whether Megan Rapinoe, one of the leagues most prominent stars, will participate in the tournament, The Washington Post reported.
The 2020 season was originally set to begin April 18, according to the AP. Under the scheduled return agreed to by the players union, each team will see four games of pool play and an eight-team single-elimination tournament set to finish July 26.
As the plans for the tournament unfolded, it was our priority as the (players association) to protect our players, and we feel that NWSL shares those values, union leaders Yael Overmuch and Brooke Elby said in a statement.
Major League Soccer, a men’s soccer league with teams in the United States and Canada, has resumed some limited training, with a targeted restart for the summer.
Germanys Bundesliga resumed games in empty stadiums earlier in May. Most of the other major European soccer leagues, including those in Italy and Great Britain, are still developing their plans for possible returns.
Most major U.S. sports leagues suspended their seasons in March after the announcement that the Utah Jazzs Rudy Gobert tested positive for the virus.
The NWSLs announcement comes a day after the National Hockey League said that if play resumes, it will skip the rest of the regular season and commence the playoffs with 24 teams rather than 16.