The executive director of the MLS Players Association says delaying the start of the 2021 season would be the “best solution” for Canadian teams given the pandemic-related border issues.
Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver were forced to relocate south of the border for much of the 2020 campaign due to travel complications caused by COVID-19.
Toronto played just four games at BMO Field before heading to East Hartford, Conn. Montreal moved to Harrison, N.J., while Vancouver went to Portland.
“There is no question that our players on Canadian teams, in a year that was brutally difficult for all players, it was even more so for them and what they had to go through and what they did go through to get the season played was extraordinary,” MLSPA executive director Bob Foose told reporters on a conference call Wednesday.
Foose, however, said the MLSPA has not had any discussion with the league on the matter.
“Because we haven’t had any real conversation with them about what the schedule’s going to look like, what pre-season’s going to look like. So unfortunately I can’t report any kind of progress or news there other than to say I certainly understand the importance of the question and I certainly understand what is a very good argument for delaying the season. Particularly since my understanding is that we can get the full season in even if we start later than normal.
“So that would be logical and the best solution obviously for the Canadian teams and for us. We’ll have to see if that’s the solution that wins the day.”
On Tuesday, MLS commissioner Don Garber said the league plans to start the season in mid-March.
Garber said while he felt for the challenges facing the Canadian teams, the league had to abide by made-in-Canada health guidelines.
“So I can’t say anything else other than I do agree that it does have an impact on them and I’m hopeful that we’re able to get through this in a way that’s going to be a little easier for our Canadian teams and our Canadian players,” he said.