Major League Soccer is coming back.
The MLS Players Association (MLSPA) announced on Wednesday morning that it voted in favor of a new collective bargaining agreement and a return to play. No exact date was given for when MLS would restart the 2020 season, which has been put on hold since March 12 because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The announcement came about an hour before a reported deadline that team owners had set for the MLSPA to make a decision.
“MLS players today ratified a new collective bargaining agreement, which will run through the 2025 season,” said the MLSPA in a prepared statement. “Today’s vote also finalizes a plan to resume the 2020 season and provides players with certainty for the months ahead. It allows our members to move forward and continue to compete in the game they love.”
While there were no exact details as to how the season will restart, sources tell SBI that MLS will return to action with the widely-reported tournament in Orlando, Florida, starting in July. All 26 teams are expected to participate in the competition. The event will reportedly be played behind closed doors in its entirety at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.
The CBA agreement helps MLS and its players avoid what would have been a messy situation if league owners had followed through with a lockout, which could have doomed the 2020 season.
According to ESPN, the MLSPA ultimately agreed to $100 million in concessions, including a 7.5 percent across-the-board paycut, as well as a delay in the salary increases agreed to in the original CBA agreed to prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.
MLS was two weeks into its 2020 season before coming to a halt nearly three months ago after the COVID-19 pandemic hit the globe. Teams began holding individual voluntary workouts in May, and some are expected to start training in small groups this week.