The Latest: No fans at Mercedes-Benz Stadium through Sept.

MLS

The Latest on the effects of the coronavirus outbreak on sports around the world:

There will be no fans at Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium for NFL and MLS games played in September. The Atlanta Falcons and Atlanta United say the coronavirus pandemic forced the decision.

The teams say they will continue to collaborate with local and national health officials before deciding on the possibility for fans in games after September.

The Falcons will play at least two home games without fans – against Seattle on Sept. 13 and against Chicago on Sept. 27.

”The health and safety of our fans is our top priority,” said Steve Cannon, CEO of the Falcons and Atlanta United owner Arthur Blank’s sports and entertainment group. Cannon said the decision was made ”after thoughtful consideration and collaboration.”

Atlanta United previously announced there would be no fans for three games: Aug. 22 against Nashville SC, Aug. 29 against Orlando City SC and Sept. 2 against Inter Miami CF.

Soccer’s U.S. Open Cup has been canceled this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 2020 tournament was suspended in early March shortly before it was supposed to kick off. The final was to be held on either Sept. 22 or 23.

Officially called the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, it is the longest-running soccer tournament in the United States and gives amateur teams a chance to take on the pros, setting up the chance for an intriguing Cinderella team to advance far into the tournament. The winner earns a spot in the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football’s Champions League.

The U.S. Soccer Federation announced Monday that the Open Cup couldn’t be staged this year because the pandemic affected teams’ ability to travel, limited or eliminated fans at games, and necessitated strict testing protocols.

The teams that were invited to participate this year will be invited next year instead.

There is no decision yet on how to allocate the CONCACAF Champions League slot that typically goes to the tournament champion.

Kansas State will allow 25% capacity at its football stadium for games this season after getting approval Monday from the county commission. That means a maximum crowd of just under 15,000 fans.

The Big 12 Conference is allowing schools to set their own attendance policies based on local jurisdictions.

The Riley County Commission reviewed the rest of Kansas State’s return-to-play protocols, too. Fans will be required to wear face coverings where 6 feet of social distancing cannot be maintained. Tailgating will not be permitted in parking lots controlled by the school. There will be no reentry. There also will be hand sanitizing stations and other protective measures.

One plus for fans: With the elimination of tailgating and reentry, the school will allow beer and wine to be purchased in general seating sections for the first time. Alcohol sales had been limited to luxury suites.

The CFL has canceled its 2020 season because of the COVID-19 pandemic. It marks the first year the Grey Cup won’t be presented since 1919.

The nine-team league announced the move Monday, dashing hopes of a shortened season in the hub city of Winnipeg, Manitoba. The decision comes after the CFL couldn’t solve a number of issues in an effort to try to salvage a season.

”Our league governors decided today it is in the best long-term interests of the CFL to concentrate on the future,” Commissioner Randy Ambrosie said in a statement.

”We are absolutely committed to 2021, to the future of our league and the pursuit of our vision of a bigger, stronger, more global CFL.”

Unlike other major leagues in North America, the CFL does not have the luxury of a billion-dollar television contract. While its deal with TSN has become more lucrative over the years, the CFL remains a gate-driven league – a major problem when fans aren’t allowed in the stands.

Mississippi starting center Eli Johnson says he won’t play football this season.

Johnson announced on Twitter that he’ll sit out the season and focus on completing his master’s degree in criminal justice in December.

The Southeastern Conference allows players to opt out of the season because of COVID-19 and remain on scholarship.

Johnson started all 12 games last season, allowing only one sack. His father, David, was hospitalized this summer because of the virus.

”I will be forever grateful for my time here at Ole Miss,” Johnson wrote Sunday night on Twitter. ”God bless and Hotty Toddy.”

More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

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