MLS delays the beginning of the 2021 season
Major League Soccer Commissioner Don Garber announced on Wednesday that the 2021 season opener will be delayed until 17 April.
This week Major League Soccer announced that they had reached a new deal with the Major League Soccer Players Association (MLSPA) and both parties agreed that the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) will be extended until 2027. With that off the table, the league was confident that they could start the season on 3 April, but things have changed.
MLS Commissioner Don Garber explained on Wednesday that the 2021 season opener will be delayed until 17 April due to the extended negotiations with the MLSPA that concluded on Friday night of last week. This means that the campaign will begin two weeks later than originally announced.
With this new announcement and with the CBA agreement, the league can now set new dates for the clubs to start the pre-season training camps and the new schedule of the regular season will be confirmed soon.
Unclear about fans in stadiums
Garber didn’t specify if the league will allow fans back in the stadiums for the 26th season of Major League Soccer due to the coronavirus pandemic because of the different state’s restrictions. Also he expects that the 2021 season will suffer the same amount of losses, estimated at $1 billion in 2020, that occurred last year due to the pandemic.
“I don’t have any sense that fans are going to be in our stadiums in large numbers for most if not all of our season. I think the good news here is that we have worked on a new long-term agreement that allows us to recoup some of the losses over time, from the losses that we’re going to incur this year. And we are forecasted to lose pretty close to that $1 billion, if not a $1 billion, that we had been talking about,” Garber said. “When you don’t have fans for the majority of your season, it’s just pure math.”