United’s Finlay discusses MLS labor negotiations, upcoming league-wide tournament in Orlando
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MLS teams will report to Disney World in Orlando in late-June ahead of the anticipated early-July start of a league-wide tournament that will mark the league’s return to action.
Click the video box on this page to watch Minnesota United midfielder and MLS Players Association Executive Board member Ethan Finlay discuss the good and bad of the collective bargaining agreement between players and owners, as well as the format and safety plans for the upcoming league-wide tournament in Orlando
Just days after MLS owners threatened a potential lockout, and hours before a deadline for a resolution – players and owners came to an agreement on modifications to the league’s collective bargaining agreement that opened the door for a return to competition.
MLS teams had been holding individual, socially-distanced practices for a couple weeks. Minnesota United’s first day of permitted small group practices came on Thursday, the same day the league gave teams a green light to submit plans to begin full-squad practices in the coming days.
Competition will resume as MLS teams will gather in Orlando in late June for training and a brief preseason period ahead of a tournament that will have teams back in action.
Health safety protocols will be followed as teams will all remain in Orlando throughout the tournament. Players will be tested for Covid-19, teams will have their own floors in hotels and additional precautions will be taken to make the gathering as safe as possible.
Tentatively slated to begin July 9th, the tournament will break the MLS into a series of four-team groups that will play a three-game round robin. Teams will advance from that to a 16-team elimination bracket.
The tournament is just the first phase of MLS’ return. Hope is by the time the 46-day tournament is complete, teams might have a go-ahead to host matches at home stadiums – albeit, likely without fans in attendance – to complete the regular season.