Canada Soccer cancels upcoming CanMNT and CanWNT friendlies

Canada Soccer has cancelled a set of west coast friendlies for its senior men’s and women’s teams in the latest round of sporting events affected by the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic.

A pair of friendlies between the Canadian men’s team and Trinidad & Tobago at Westhills Stadium, and a Canada women’s tilt vs. Australia at Vancouver’s BC Place were both postponed on Friday, a day after the British Columbia government announced they would not allow public events with 250 or more people to be held.

“With the best interest of the safety of players, coaches, officials, staff, and fans, Canada Soccer has canceled upcoming home international matches in British Columbia on the FIFA calendar,” a Canada Soccer statement read.

“As the national governing body for the sport of soccer in the country, Canada Soccer has been and will continue to closely monitor all COVID-19 developments in consultation with the Public Health Agency of Canada and relevant governing bodies through the Canada Soccer Sport Medicine Committee.”

Friday’s announcement is the latest in a string of COVID-19-related announcements in the soccer world, with the Premier League, La Liga, Serie A, Bundesliga and many more top European leagues cancelling matches and suspending their seasons.

The Canadian women’s team was set to host the Aussies on April 14, one of several tuneups for this summer’s Olympics and a home soil celebration for Christine Sinclair, who became world football’s all-time leading goalscorer during its Olympic qualifying campaign in January.

Meanwhile, John Herdman was set to bring the Canadian men’s side to Pacific FC’s home stadium on March 27 and March 31 in pursuit of FIFA world ranking points and a spot in “the Hex,” a shortcut to qualifying for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. Canada’s first date at Westhills Stadium was sold out.

The Canadian men’s Olympic qualifying camp was also ended prematurely Friday when Concacaf suspended all competitions for 30 days, delaying the 2020 Concacaf Men’s Olympic Qualifying Championship in Mexico, as well as the Concacaf Champions League.