MLS extends season suspension to June 8

Credit: Alyssa Pointer

Credit: Alyssa Pointer

MLS on Friday extended its moratorium on games until at least June 8.

The league hasn't had a game played since March 8 when it finished its second round. MLS announced its first suspension related to coronavirus on March 12. Atlanta United is 2-0-0 with wins at Nashville and at home against Cincinnati.

The league schedule is supposed to include 34 rounds. In Friday’s statement, the league again said it is considering playing the MLS Cup in December in order to accommodate as many games as possible.

It is estimated that teams would need at least three weeks of training to get ready to play games when the season resumes.

A report by ESPN published Friday said that the league is negotiating with the MLS Players Association executive board on a reduction in player salaries of as much as 50 percent because of the shortened season and the possibility of playing fewer games. Atlanta United's Jeff Larentowicz is a member of the MLSPA executive board. An Atlanta United spokesman has been asked if Larentowicz would discuss the negotiations.

"Like all leagues, we are in discussion with our players about changes to player compensation due to the financial impact on the league and our clubs from the COVID-19 crisis,” MLS Deputy Commissioner Mark Abbot told ESPN. “We are seeking to work collaboratively with the MLSPA to find a solution that provides a safety net for all players, opportunity to earn full salary in the scenario where all matches are played with fans, and in particular provides protection for the players at the lower end of the salary scale."

A pay reduction would only take place if games are canceled. Players whose salaries are less than $100,000 wouldn’t be affected. Players whose salaries are greater than $100,000 wouldn’t see reductions below that threshold. According to ESPN, salaries in MLS this season exceed a total of $310 million.

A possible issue could be that the Collective Bargaining Agreement agreed to by MLS and MLSPA in February has yet to be ratified.