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MLS: tournament; neutral-site games if season returns

MLS will try to get in as many games as possible

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MIAMI, Fla. — (14 April 2020) Major League Soccer remains determined to play in 2020. MLS commissioner Don Garber said that the league is “focused at getting in as many games as possible” but the season’s suspension due to the coronavirus pandemic has necessarily altered how those games will be played.

Don Garber exploring options for MLS when season resumes
Don Garber exploring options for MLS when season resumesMLS commissioner Don Garber spoke to Taylor Twellman about the league’s plans to restart the season.

Speaking to ESPN’s Taylor Twellman, Garber said the league is exploring alternative formats to completing the season, which has been suspended until at least May 10.

“From tournament formats and neutral locations, ultimately playing an abridged regular season, but doing everything to get as many games,” Garber said.

Garber admitted the likelihood of fans attending games is virtually zero. If the season can be restarted, games would mostly be played behind closed doors in what he dubbed “MLS Studio” games.

Garber added that MLS is closely monitoring its counterparts in England and Germany in regards to how those leagues are implementing testing and training protocols.

MLS has a training moratorium for its players until April 24, but Garber said that would be extended “at least a couple weeks.”

Garber also said “nothing formal” has been discussed as far as a reduction of player wages but that those talks likely will take place. MLS Players Association executive director Bob Foose said last week that the league had not approached the union about players taking salary cuts, and added that MLS teams are better equipped than others throughout the world to cope with the effects of the pandemic.

Following Real Salt Lake’s decision to cut the salaries of some employees and furloughing others, Garber said he expected more clubs to make decisions on the salaries of non-playing staff.

MLS announced last week that it cut the salaries of its top three executives, including Garber, by 25%, while also reducing management and other staff pay.

By Ken Russo

My work in the business of soccer applies skills acquired in law practice with a focus on the sport's commercial, communications and sporting components. Russo Soccer aims to inform, educate and engage in dialogue on news and relevant issues in the game.

Um advogado por formação, concentro meu trabalho nos negócios, comunicações e operações de equipes no futebol mundial. | Abogado con fundación avanzada en comunicaciones, enfocado en los negocios del fútbol y las comunicaciones. | Je suis un avocat experimenté dans les affaires de football.

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