CINCINNATI (FOX19) - Major League Soccer announced Wednesday the league plans to restart the 2020 season July 8 with a tournament in Orlando.
The league’s 26 teams will be divided into six groups for the opening round of the MLS is Back Tournament that will be played without fans at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports complex at Walt Disney World.
Teams only played just two games when the season began earlier this year when the league suspended play on March 12 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Group stage matches will count in the MLS regular season standings and the tournament winner will earn a spot in the 2021 Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League.
“We are pleased to team up with Disney to relaunch the 2020 MLS season and get back to playing soccer,” said MLS Commissioner Don Garber. "The opportunity to have all 26 clubs in a controlled environment enables us to help protect the health of our players, coaches and staff as we return to play.
“We also recognize that the death of George Floyd and others has focused our country on issues of racial injustice, inequality and violence against black men and women. Together with our owners, players and staff, the League and its Clubs are deeply committed to creating meaningful and impactful programs to address these issues that have plagued our society for far too long.”
The ones that can conduct full team training in their markets pursuant to the league’s medical and testing protocols must arrive no later than seven days before their first match.
Teams can arrive for training on June 24. The ones that have already been training in market must arrive no later than seven days before their first match.
Once players are in Florida, they will be sequestered in a resort with a rigorous testing protocol.
Each team will have three group matches that will be played during multiples daily games over 16 consecutive days. Group matches will count toward the regular season.
Sixteen teams will go on to the knockout round. The winner will earn a spot in the 2021 CONCACAF Champions League.
After the tournament, teams can resume the rest of the season in their home markets.