Major League Soccer and its players association have agreed on a new labor deal and a plan to resume play this season, according to a statement from the Major League Soccer Players Association (MLSPA) Wednesday. The league has been suspended since March 12.
“MLS Players today ratified a new collective bargaining agreement, which will run through the 2025 season,” the MLSPA said in its media release. “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.”
Columbus Crew SC has not responded to NBC4’s requests for comment, and MLS has not confirmed the agreement on its end.
The league has not officially announced its return-to-play structure, but it’s widely believed the MLS season will resume with a long-form tournament to be played in Orlando. The tournament could begin as soon as early as July. Teams would report to Orlando for training later this month. The tournament would unfold over six weeks and be staged similarly to a World Cup format, with pool play and then playoff-style eliminations. It is also possible the league could resume regular season games at home sites following that tournament. That would only happen if COVID-19 control measures are approved across the MLS markets.
The NBA is expected to announce a similar return to play plan as soon as Thursday, and that tournament would also unfold in Orlando.