Start date for Atlanta United training camp unclear

Atlanta United midfielder Mo Adams #29 works with the ball at training during the MLS is Back Tournament at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex Sunday July 5, 2020, in Orlando, Fla. The MLS is Back Tournament kicks off July 8 and is the resumption of Major League Soccer’s 25th season after a three-month postponement during the Covid-19 pandemic. (Jacob Gonzalez/Atlanta United)
Atlanta United midfielder Mo Adams #29 works with the ball at training during the MLS is Back Tournament at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex Sunday July 5, 2020, in Orlando, Fla. The MLS is Back Tournament kicks off July 8 and is the resumption of Major League Soccer’s 25th season after a three-month postponement during the Covid-19 pandemic. (Jacob Gonzalez/Atlanta United)

Credit: Jacob Gonzalez/Atlanta United

Credit: Jacob Gonzalez/Atlanta United

Atlanta United’s training camp may not start Jan. 25.

A team spokeswoman said Thursday that the start of the camp is now unknown. A reason wasn’t provided.

In December, Atlanta United vice president Carlos Bocanegra announced the club’s camp start date as Jan. 25. MLS then enacted the force majeure clause in the collective bargaining agreement a few days later. However, there is still an existing CBA.

MLSPA Executive Director Bob Foose said Wednesday that the league told the union that teams aren’t supposed to set dates for the start of camps until the schedule is released. The league has yet to release its schedule for this season. The schedule is typically released in mid-January. Training camps typically open six weeks from the start of the league season.

The Champions League, in which Atlanta United will participate, also has not released its schedule. That the tournament may start in mid-March or early April, a person with knowledge of that situation said Tuesday.

MLS Commissioner Don Garber on Tuesday said his league is targeting a start date of early to mid-March and that the hope is to play a normal, 34-game schedule. Additionally, there will be the Champions League, Leagues Cup, All-Star game, Campeones Cup and Gold Cup all scheduled to be played this year. If the league’s schedule doesn’t start in March, it could be difficult to play all 34 games, particularly if there are pauses for COVID-19.

“We have a schedule that is as crowded and as busy as any perhaps in the history of the league, and as we learned from last year, and as we’re seeing play out with the other North American leagues and even now with the Premier League and other European leagues, our schedule must provide us with the opportunity to make up any matches in the event that we have postponed games due to COVID, positive COVID tests,” Garber said.

“To make sure, again, that we have the ability to fit it all in, but also very importantly, and this was a big part of our discussions with our players in the spring and with our chief soccer officers and our team presidents, we need to have a long enough preseason to get our players back healthy, ready to play, to get back into training camps as early as mid-February.”

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