Coronavirus Outbreak: Major League Soccer intent on playing full 34-game schedule despite delayed start

Eales says Major League Soccer is more fortunate than other leagues around the world that play the traditional fall-to-spring schedule and may have trouble completing their seasons in such a compressed time frame

The Associated Press March 30, 2020 23:51:11 IST
Coronavirus Outbreak: Major League Soccer intent on playing full 34-game schedule despite delayed start

Atlanta United President Darren Eales says Major League Soccer still intends to play a full 34-game schedule this season, even though the league will be shuttered for at least two months because of the new coronavirus.

Coronavirus Outbreak Major League Soccer intent on playing full 34game schedule despite delayed start

Representational image. Reuters

Eales says MLS is more fortunate than other leagues around the world that play the traditional fall-to-spring schedule and may have trouble completing their seasons in such a compressed time frame.

MLS was just two weeks into its season when play was halted 12 March because of the pandemic. The league has set a tentative return date of 10 May, though the growing death toll in the United States could force that date to be pushed back.

Eales says everything is on the table, including the possibility of resuming league play in empty stadiums.

"We're fortunate that we had just started our season," he said Monday during a teleconference with Atlanta media. "We have the whole calendar year to reschedule the games we missed. The emphasis is on playing all 34 games plus the playoffs."

MLS will likely schedule more midweek games and push back its MLS Cup championship game into mid-December in a bid to play a full season, according to Eales. He added that the playoffs could begin in mid-November — around the time MLS had been planning its title game.

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