Sun, 12 Jul 2020

Report: MLS changing proposed travel requirements ahead of return

Field Level Media
28 May 2020, 03:40 GMT+10

Major League Soccer is adjusting its timeframe for its proposed return to competitive play, potentially in late June in Orlando, Fla.

ESPN reported Wednesday that the league is reducing the time teams need to spend in Orlando, Fla., where a World Cup-style tournament would take place between all 26 teams.

Instead of requiring all teams to report to Walt Disney World's Wide World of Sports Complex at the start of June for a minimum three-week training camp, teams instead would train in their home markets in advance of the tournament.

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, MLS competition was halted on March 12, with teams having played just two games at the outset of the 2020 season.

Under the Florida plan, teams would be divided into groups, where a five-game group stage would commence. That would lead into a knockout stage, similar to how the World Cup advances after a three-game group stage. Games would be played without fans.

Group-stage games would count in the regular-season standings. Teams that do not advance to the knockout stage would play each other in consolation games.

The original plan of having teams report to Orlando to start training camp would have kept them away from their home markets for up to 10 weeks. The new plan significantly reduces that travel requirement.

The Chicago Fire, D.C. United and San Jose Earthquakes, however, potentially could train at Orlando beginning in early June since their home markets still have stay-at-home restrictions.

MLS also is negotiating salary reductions with its players because of a reduced schedule of games. The league is seeking a reduction of 10 percent, while the MLS players union is considering a counteroffer of 7.5 percent, ESPN reported.

--Field Level Media

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