The MLS joined most other major sporting leagues in the world by shutting their doors on March 12, initially for 30 days, in a bid to halt the spread of COVID-19.
The league’s self-imposed suspension was later extended as the impact of the virus on the sporting world became clear, but league officials announced on Wednesday that plans are in place to get the show back on the road.
The tournament will kick off on July 8 at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida with a hastily-assembled format of six groups, with results being recorded as part of the regular season, followed by knockout rounds which will eventually crown a winner.
“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,” said MLS commissioner Don Garber.
“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 return of the league, or more specifically the location of its return, has predictably led to a few jibes on social media from fans.
The Walt Disney World resort in Florida was also recently confirmed as the host of the resumed NBA season, with games set to begin at the facility on March 3.
Much like the NBA, the MLS will put in place a series of health and safety protocols designed to protest their athletes while minimizing the risk of further spread of the virus, with officials saying they will have “extensive medical protocols and a comprehensive COVID-19 testing plan developed by infectious disease experts.”