The outbreak of swine flu, that has killed more than 150 people in Mexico, has also affected the football world with the semfinals and final of the CONCACAF section of the under-17 World Cup, scheduled for Wednesday and Saturday, having been cancelled — world governing body FIFA has confirmed on their official Web site.
CONCACAF, the confederation that governs football in central and north America, has decided to follow the lead of the Mexican government in order to safeguard the health of players, fans and those involved in the staging of the competition. Mexico, United States, Honduras and Costa Rica have all qualified for the finals of the tournament in Nigeria later this year, and the games would have decided the region’s champions. The matches were to have been held on the Mexican border city of Tijuana, which is adjacent to San Diego in California. Meanwhile, CONCACAF have also confirmed that the second leg of the of the Champions League final between Mexican sides Cruz Azul and Atlante, scheduled for Wednesday in Cancun, will be postponed until Tuesday May 12. Atlante won the first leg in Mexico City 2-0 and the winners will represent the region at this year’s FIFA Club World Cup in the United Arab Emirates. However, Mexican league games will not be cancelled with matches continuing to be played behind closed doors. A spokesman told Goal.com: “To suspend the league would be very complicated. According to the information we’ve been receiving, we’ll see if the possibility exists whether or not we can play a game or several games that would be open to the public.”
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CONMEBOL, the confederation that governs South American football, have not yet made a decision regarding matches in their flagship Copa Libertadores tournament, in which two Mexican teams are still involved. Mexican team Club Deportivo Guadalajara, commonly known as Chivas, are due to play Chilean side Everton this week and, on their arrival in Santiago on Monday, all the players were scanned by a device to detect high fevers and had to fill out health questionnaires — according to Web site Guardian.co.uk. Meanwhile, the outbreak has also affected Mexican players plying their trade in Europe, with Arsenal striker joining up with his team-mates for Wednesday’s Champions League semifinal against Manchester United, after spending a day in quarantine.
The 20-year-old was told to stay away from training on Monday after a visit by some Mexican friends last week, with manager Arsene Wenger telling media: “It looked to be a massive problem because we were asked to keep him at home and not get him to the training ground. “Now he has the all-clear and is free again to attend training. It was basically down to the fact he had visitors from Mexico, friends who came to visit him last week,” added Wenger.