FC Dallas withdrawn from MLS is Back Tournament after multiple COVID-19 cases
Earlier last month, Dallas had seen three players test positive for COVID-19 before they travelled to the ‘bubble environment’ at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex in Walt Disneyland.
The club have since been the subject of regular PCR tests from the medical staff present at the location and it has now been confirmed that there has been a significant number of positive cases.
Out of the 557 players in the complex, only 13 have tested positive for COVID-19, but 10 of those are said to be Dallas players. Meanwhile, a coach from the Texas club has also been infected with the virus.
Hence, MLS Commissioner Don Garber has revealed that Dallas won’t take part in the World Cup-style tournament, considering the majority of the players are under quarantine and will be unable to train as per the protocol.
“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,” He said.
“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.”
The ‘MLS is Back Tournament’ has been scheduled to be played in a five-week period between July 8 and August 11 with the winner being granted a direct entry into next year’s CONCACAF Champions League.
Dallas’s opening game against Vancouver Whitecaps was previously postponed from July 9, but they have now been excluded from the competition, which was expected to be a 54-game event.
Dallas were placed in Group B alongside Whitecaps, Seattle Sounders and San Jose Earthquakes and it remains to be seen how the MLS will adjust their absence.
When compared to other groups, Group A alone has six teams and one of the clubs could possibly move into Group B. All teams are expected to play a maximum of three games during the first phase of the tournament.