By ANNE M. PETERSON
The Associated Press
Major League Soccer is pushing back restarting the season to at least June 8 and says it is also discussing possible salary cuts with the players’ union.
Teams had played two matches before the season was suspended on March 12 because of the coronavirus pandemic and the league had been looking at possibly resuming play in mid-May. The league would still like to play a full season.
MLS also said it is exploring possible “changes to player compensation” because of the financial hit the league and teams are facing.
“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,” the league said in a statement Friday.
The Major League Soccer Players’ Association did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Possible salary cuts of as much as 50% for some players were first reported by ESPN, which cited sources. But those cuts would only kick in if games or the season were canceled.
A person with knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press that players would not be furloughed. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the information is not being made public.
MLS and the players’ union agreed to terms of a new contract in early February, but it had not been ratified when the season was put on hold.
The league has long maintained that it prefers to play a full season. Possible scenarios include extending play into December and canceling non-league matches like the Leagues Cup between MLS and Liga MX teams. Games could also be played without fans in attendance.