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MLS, players discussing pay cuts as restart date moved to June at earliest

Minnesota United supporters celebrate following the game against Columbus Crew SC at Allianz Field on Saturday, May 18, 2019. Brace Hemmelgarn / USA TODAY Sports

Major League Soccer announced Friday, April 17, it has extended its shutdown for games due to the coronavirus pandemic until at least June 8.

“MLS remains focused on exploring a wide variety of formats for playing the entire 2020 season, including pushing back MLS Cup into December or later,” the statement said.

ESPN reported Friday the league and the players’ union are discussing “significant salary cuts” due to COVID-19. While there is no formal proposal, the league is asking most players to take a 50 percent pay cut if games are canceled. That percentage could change based on games played and games played without fans in attendance.

Players making less than $100,000 this season would not be affected. And players making more than that would not have wages cut below $100,000, ESPN said.

MLS acknowledged the negotiations in its statement: “Like all leagues, we are in discussions with our players about changes to player compensation due to the financial impact on the league and our clubs from the COVID-19 crisis. We are seeking to work collaboratively with the MLSPA to find a solution that provides a safety net for all players.”

MLS Commissioner Don Garber and other top executives would take a 25 percent cut in salary starting Thursday, the Associated Press reported. Other managerial staff would take cuts of between 10 and 20 percent.

On March 12, MLS suspended its season and later shared a tentative plan to restart on May 10. MLS said then it wants to play each club’s remaining 32 games, but admitted Tuesday that it may “become difficult to do so.” The league is discussing a tournament as a contingency plan.

MLS’ training moratorium in place through April 24 will be extended “at least a couple of weeks.”