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MLS delays season opener until April 17

MLS commissioner Don Garber made the announcement during a conference call today

Chicago Fire FC

Major League Soccer will push back the start of the 2021 season by two weeks, the league announced today. Games are now expected to begin on Saturday, April 17, and MLS will announce the schedule in the coming weeks.

League commissioner Don Garber made the announcement today during a conference call with reporters. Garber said the reason for the delayed start was, in part, due to the recent collective bargaining agreement negotiations, which just wrapped up. Citing financial losses from the pandemic, MLS invoked a force majeure clause in December, which ended the previous CBA and triggered a 30-day window to negotiate a new one. That deadline was extended twice, and ultimately ended with the parties reaching a new contract late last week.

That deal was ratified on Monday, ending the threat of a lockout.

Training camp had been scheduled to open Feb. 22. It appears that’s also been pushed back, but there’s been no official announcement on that yet.