Spreading Swine Flu Forces Soccer Postponements in Mexico

AP Photo

Azteca Stadium in Mexico City sat eerily empty Sunday during the game between Club America and Tecos because of the swine flu outbreak.


CONCACAF today canceled the remainder of the Under-17 championships in Tijuana and postponed the second leg of the Champions League final because of escalating fears of a swine flu pandemic.

The U.S. Under-17 team, which includes midfielder Carlos Martinez of San Pedro, is returning to its home base in Florida.

The U.S. is advising residents not to travel south of the border.

Professional games in Mexico City were played behind closed doors over the weekend.

Here’s the (edited) CONCACAF press release:

Due to the growing concerns about the outbreak of swine flu in Mexico, CONCACAF General Secretary Chuck Blazer announced Monday that the remainder of the confederation’s Under-17 Championship in Tijuana has been canceled and the second-leg of the CONCACAF Champions League finals has been postponed.

Mexican authorities previously had closed schools in Mexico City and on Monday extended that decision nationwide. Based on the actions of the Mexican government, CONCACAF responded to safeguard the health of players, officials and fans.

Costa Rica, Honduras, Mexico and the USA all had clinched berths the FIFA U-17 World Cup 2009, and were to play the semifinals on Wednesday with the championship and third-place match scheduled for Saturday. The four semifinalists will advance to the U-17 World Cup in Nigeria from 24 October – 15 November.

The second-leg of the CONCACAF Champions League finals between CD SC Cruz Azul (MEX) and Atlante FC (MEX) was to be played Wednesday in Cancun, but that game now will be delayed until Tuesday, 12 May at 9 p.m. local (10 p.m. EDT). Atlante leads the two-game title series 2-0 from its opening win in Mexico City last Wednesday.

The CONCACAF Beach Championship in Puerto Vallarta, scheduled to begin Wednesday and continue through Sunday, is under review with a final decision expected Tuesday.

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About Nick Green

South Bay-based Los Angeles News Group soccer columnist and blogger Nick Green writes at the 100 Percent Soccer blog at www.insidesocal.com/soccer and craft beer at the Beer Goggles blog at www.insidesocal.com/beer. Cheers!