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Flu prompts Canadian Tour to cancel Mexican events

SAN LUIS POTOSI, Mexico -- The Canadian Tour has postponed the final two events of its Mexican swing over concerns caused by the recent swine flu outbreak in Mexico.

Both the Yucatan Country Club Classic and the Iberostar Riviera Maya Open are being rescheduled and will take place on consecutive weeks later in the 2009 schedule.

Tour officials and players met Tuesday evening to confirm the decision. New dates for the events were expected soon.

"With the heightened alerts in Mexico, we have taken the precaution of protecting the health and safety of our members," tour commissioner Richard Janes said. "The Iberostar Resort and the Merida airport will be shut down as a safeguard and the Canadian Tour is making the necessary arrangements with its travel partners to bring our players home."

Swine flu is suspected of killing more than 150 people in Mexico.

The event scheduled for this week in San Luis Potosi was scheduled to go ahead, but with precautions. Those included the use of bottled water and hand sanitizers, the availability of medical practitioners and the recommendation that players stay at the club and host La Loma Resort and not travel into town.

Meanwhile, all nine Mexican first-division soccer games this weekend will be played behind closed doors, a move aimed at stemming the spread of swine flu.

Three games around the capital last weekend were played without fans, but the Mexican Football Federation said Tuesday it's closing off all nine games with the outbreak continuing to spread.

"This decision was made... in full awareness of the health emergency confronting Mexico," the federation said.

CONCACAF, soccer's governing body in North and Central America and the Caribbean, also said it's postponing its Beach Soccer Championship, scheduled to begin today in Puerto Vallarta.

The announcement came a day after the organization cancelled the remainder of its under-17 tournament "to safeguard the health of players, officials and fans." The semifinals, featuring Costa Rica, Honduras, Mexico and the United States, had been scheduled for today in the border city Tijuana.

CONCACAF said it was evaluating different options with local authorities and has not set a new date for the beach championship. Canada was among the six teams at the event.

The effort to contain the swine flu outbreak was hitting Mexico's 18 first-division clubs the hardest. Matches draw 200,000 to 300,000 fans each weekend.

-- AP-CP

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 29, 2009 C2

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