June 11, 2020 12:09:09 am
Major League Soccer announced Wednesday that its season will resume starting July 8 with a tournament in Florida.
The league’s 26 teams will be divided into six groups for the opening round of the tournament played without fans at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World.
Teams had played just two games to start the season when the league suspended play on March 12 because of the coronavirus outbreak.
While in Florida, players will be sequestered in a resort with a rigorous testing protocol. Each team will have three group matches, played over 16 consecutive days with multiple games a day.
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The group matches will count toward the regular season.
Sixteen teams will advance to the knockout round, with the winner earning a spot in the 2021 CONCACAF Champions League.
“From the very beginning we said anything we do has to ensure that we’re going to protect the health and safety of our players, all of the staff that will be accompanying them and those that are going to be working the tournament,” MLS Commissioner Don Garber said in a statement.
“There will be testing for those who are traveling down to Orlando before they leave and when they arrive. There will be testing regularly during the competition in the training that will precede it. And staff will be tested as well.”
The prize pool for the MLS Is Back Tournament is $1.1 million, the league said. The title match will be played on August 11.
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