Major League Soccer will continue with its regular season at the conclusion of the MLS is Back Tournament, but plans on how the league will continue the rest of year have not been determined yet.
Major League Soccer has announced its plans for its return to action after a three-month hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but what still isn’t known is just when the league’s actual regular season will return.
Speaking to media following the release of details of the MLS is Back Tournament — a tournament unrelated to the league’s regular season featuring all 26 teams, and set to be played behind closed doors in Orlando — MLS commissioner Don Garber had no concrete answer for when the league will be able to resume its actual regular season, but he did sound optimistic that the league would be able to finalize its regular season plans soon.
“We do not have yet exposure as to what the future for the MLS schedule will look like in 2020 and how many markets will have fans if any,” said Garber. “But I could assure you that we’re working closely with our clubs and clubs are working closely with local, state, and medical authorities to ensure when we do return, we’re doing it in accordance with local guidelines.”
Garber expects the league to return to its own respective markets later on, and even suggested the possibility of having some fans attend games.
“I expect that we will be back in our stadiums, we just don’t know the exact date,” Garber said. “Obviously this is all unfolding in real time and literally every day more and more markets are opening and what I find interesting is they are the markets that you expect to open up later.
“I do believe we’ll get back to our markets, [and] I think a lot of our fans should expect that to happen,” Garber said. “When that will happen is still uncertain, and whether or not we’ll have any markets with fans is also uncertain but we’re also hearing about different guidelines that have been established state by state where there’s even a possibility that some fans might be able to attend games.”
Just when that will happen remains unclear.
“We don’t have a start date yet as to when we would return, and I would imagine that sometime in the next probably not for the next four or five weeks that we will be able to actually provide that date.”
The MLS is Back Tournament will take place in Orlando from July 8 to August 11 at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.
Garber confirmed that MLS came to an agreement with PRO regarding the officiating, adding the video assistant referee technology will be made available at the MLS is Back tournament.