ARLINGTON, TEXAS - MARCH 07: Mekale McKay #1 of the New York Guardians dances on the field after a win over the Dallas Renegades at an XFL football game on March 07, 2020 in Arlington, Texas.
(Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images)

The XFL officially pulled the plug on its debut season, but players can begin signing with NFL squads next week.

The XFL announced on Friday that it would officially end its 2020 season. This news comes in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic that has led to the postponement or cancellation of numerous sporting events across the world.

The announcement was made in a league statement written by Commissioner Oliver Luck and President Jeffrey Pollack.

“The COVID-19 pandemic, and the most recent local and state regulations, have left the XFL no choice but to officially cancel the remainder of the 2020 season,” the statement reads. “This decision has been made with the health and safety of the entire XFL family as our top priority.”

Thus ends the seasons of the league’s eight teams, including the local New York Guardians. The XFL had played gotten halfway through a 10-game schedule before Week 6 games were called off on March 12. It originally appeared that the league would attempt to stage at least a championship game, but Friday’s announcement eliminated that possibility.

“When our teams return to the field, we’ll make every effort to ensure your faith in us is rewarded with even more fun and excitement,” Luck and Pollack’s statement continued. “Your passion is our purpose, and everything we do, every day and for every season to come, is For the Love of Football.”

The XFL began play in February, nearly two decades after a previous league that went by the same name lasted a single season in 2001. This revival boasted new innovations like in-game interviews, tiered extra points, and a shootout-style overtime system.

Unlike the original version, this XFL fully anticipates a return to the field in 2021.

“While we are disappointed to not complete the 2020 season, our hearts are full of appreciation for your overwhelming support,” the statement said. “We’re grateful for the incredible response and look forward to playing full seasons for you, and with you, in 2021 and beyond.”

While their season ends prematurely, XFL players might not have to wait long to get back to work. The NFL stated that their teams will be permitted to sign XFL players beginning on Monday at 9 a.m. ET.

The local Guardians amassed a 3-2 record during the first half of the season. Their inaugural trek ends in a first-place tie with the DC Defenders and St. Louis BattleHawks.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

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