By Amy Kaplan
The MLS Players Association approved a proposal from MLS, which avoids a lockout that had been threatened by MLS and enables the league to soften the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
The league has been shut down since March 12.
“MLS Players today ratified a new collective bargaining agreement, which will run through the 2025 season,” the MLSPA said in a statement. “Today’s vote also finalizes a plan to resume the 2020 season and provides players with certainty for the months ahead. It allows our members to move forward and continue to compete in the game they love.”
The approval opens the door for the league to return to the field next month with a tournament to be held at the Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World. (ESPN is owned by the Walt Disney Co.) The teams are expected to arrive in Orlando, Florida, in three weeks.
“We recognize that we are all moving forward — as players, as fans, as societies, as a world — into a future that looks much different than the one we envisioned a few months ago,” the MLSPA added. “There are problems we face collectively that are both more urgent, and more important, than competing on the field.
“We are grieving, we are fed up, we expect change, and we expect action. This change won’t come on the field, but it will come partly through the force and determination of all who seek justice and equality. We hope our return to the field will allow fans a momentary release and a semblance of normalcy.
“We are committed as a group to doing all that we can — both as leaders in our sport as well as leaders in our communities — to help carry our countries, our communities, our league, and our sport forward.”