(Los Angeles) The NFL and the players' union have confirmed the cancellation of the August preseason games due to the rampant COVID-19 pandemic.
The news leaked into the American media on Tuesday, the NFL confirmed it 24 hours later.
The Kansas City Chiefs, Super Bowl winners, are scheduled to open the season at home against the Houston Texans on September 10. A meeting which should be played behind closed doors or, as the NFL still hopes, in the presence of spectators in a limited number.
In addition to concerns over the dramatic and uncontrolled upsurge in COVID-19 in the United States, the preseason cancellation is based on the fact that players may not be in the physical form necessary to play games as early as August: they cannot train in their facilities yet and it is difficult to know when they will be able to.
As such, the NFL and the players' union are continuing their discussions on the conditions for the training camps, although a health protocol of testing players daily for COVID-19 has been validated.
The Players' Association wants a longer preparation period for players to adjust to the physical demands of these camps, while other issues - including the payment of salaries - remain unresolved.
95 players contracted COVID-19
The union further announced on Tuesday that 95 NFL players had tested positive for the coronavirus at some point in the pandemic. And he has validated the NFL's emergency infectious disease response plans for eight teams, with the remaining 24 yet to be approved.
"Our union has pushed for the most rigorous screening and treatment protocols to ensure the safety of our players," the NFLPA said in a statement.
“The testing protocols that we have accepted are a deciding factor that will help us get back to work safely and give us the best chance to start and go to the end of the season,” she added.
In the meantime, the team coaches will have to quickly make choices for the composition of their squad, without being able to see the players in match situations.