If the sports world is any indication, things are finally starting to calm down a little after the coronavirus debacle. The past couple of months have been rough for athletes and sports fans, with virtually no activity taking place since March. However, almost all major sports leagues are starting to put their plans together to make a return, and the NBA, the NFL and the NHL are ready to go – only MLB is still fighting over how to proceed. One more piece of the puzzle has been put into place, as MLS has announced that teams will soon be restarting able to start training once again.
MLS Restarting A Kick In The Grass
Like all sports leagues, MLS took a huge hit when COVID-19 rolled in and turned everything upside down. By the league’s account, it stands to lose more than $1 billion because of the suspension of games, but there’s hope on the horizon. Yesterday, the league announced that it has cleared teams to begin full training once again, subject to approval by club medical staff and infectious disease experts, as well as MLS leaders.
The training is a step toward what should be the restarting of MLS games, which is expected to begin in about three weeks. Just like the NBA, MLS plans on holding games at Disney World in Orlando, FL, settling on a tournament that will finish up the season. The tournament will take place at the Wide World of Sports Complex at Disney.
New CBA Signed, As Well
Not only was MLS able to come to terms with restarting and how to finish the season, team owners and players have been able to reach an agreement on a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA), which will run through January 2026. The MLS Players Association explained in a statement, “MLS Players today ratified a new collective bargaining agreement, which will run through the 2025 season. 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.”
The CBA reportedly includes economic concessions of more than $100 million, and includes across-the-board salary reductions of 7.5%, although it isn’t retroactive to March 12, when the league suspended its games. Instead, it will begin as of the May 31 payroll, and players have the option to defer the deduction until after the Orlando tournament. Salary increases that would have been seen this year will be delayed until next year, and the increases expected in 2021 will be put off until 2022.
The union added in its statement, “We recognize that we are all moving forward — as players, as fans, as societies, as a world — into a future that looks much different than the one we envisioned a few months ago,” the MLSPA added. “There are problems we face collectively that are both more urgent, and more important, than competing on the field… We are committed as a group to doing all that we can — both as leaders in our sport as well as leaders in our communities — to help carry our countries, our communities, our league, and our sport forward.”
Durant Spread His Wings Off Basketball Court
As the league is preparing to get back on the field, it will count on support from NBA two-time champ and Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant. Durant has reportedly purchased a minority stake in the Philadelphia Union, but the amount of the purchase wasn’t known. It was the third time he has tried to buy a stake in an MLS team, having twice pursued interest in DC United.
MLS Restarting Not The Only Soccer Game In Town
In addition to MLS players restarting and getting ready to get back on the field, the United Soccer League (USL) is running right alongside. The league announced this week that it will hold its Challenge Cup beginning on June 26, and that the Championship season could relaunch as of July 11. The USL added that “additional information on competition format, scheduling, broadcast and other important details will be made available in the coming weeks” and that its return to the field “will be conducted in strict alignment with all local and state public health guidelines.”