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NWSL announces Washington Spirit forfeit match against OL Reign

Citing “breaches of the league’s medical protocols by the Spirit,” the NWSL has definitively called off tomorrow’s game

Kelley Piper / Black and Red United

The NWSL, citing league Covid-19 protocols, has cancelled tomorrow’s game between Washington Spirit and OL Reign, declaring that the Spirit must forfeit the game and awarding the result as a 3-0 win for the Reign.

The league’s full statement is as follows:

The National Women’s Soccer League announced today that the league has declared the Washington Spirit match against OL Reign, originally scheduled to be played September 12, 2021 at 5 p.m. ET at Audi Field, a forfeit due to breaches of the league’s medical protocols by the Spirit. OL Reign will receive three points in the league table and per FIFA guidelines the game will be recorded as 3-0 in favor of OL Reign.

Last week, the Spirit’s game against the Portland Thorns was postponed due to a Covid-19 outbreak within the Spirit’s traveling party. A decision regarding that game has yet to be announced. Notably, the wording of the NWSL’s announcement on that game did not include anything about breaching protocols, whereas today’s announcement clearly says that the league found the Spirit to be in violation of medical guidelines.

The Spirit’s new club president Ben Olsen released the following statement via the team’s social media platforms:

It is unclear at this stage what the violations of league protocols were. The Spirit told Black and Red United on Thursday that they had no new positive tests after the initial wave of four in Portland, and multiple sources today have confirmed that that continued to be the case over the last two days.

The forfeit has a major impact on the NWSL playoff race. The Reign move into a tie atop the standings with Portland, while the Spirit — who earlier this season had a home game with the Houston Dash moved to Houston due to concerns over the readiness of Segra Field — are now on course to play just ten home games out of 24 this season. At the moment, Washington holds the sixth and final NWSL playoff spot via a tiebreaker advantage over Houston.