April 17, 2020 / 6:51 PM / 3 months ago

MLS extends moratorium on matches to June 8 due to coronavirus

(Reuters) - Major League Soccer said on Friday it extended its moratorium on matches until at least June 8 because of the coronavirus outbreak and is exploring a number of ways to play the entire 2020 season.

All MLS teams had played two of their 34 scheduled regular season games when action was suspended in mid-March as the league implemented measures in response to the pandemic.

MLS initially suspended its season until March 30 and then extended that stoppage until May 10 after updated guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention banning gatherings of 50 or more people.

The playoffs were originally scheduled to begin in October followed by the MLS Cup in early November but the league said in a statement it is exploring a variety of formats that could include pushing back the title game into December or later.

The league held its MLS Cup in December from 2012-2018 but brought in a new single-elimination playoff structure last year that wrapped up all the action before the November international break.

MLS also said it is discussing with players changes to their compensation due to the financial impact on the league and clubs from the COVID-19 crisis.

This year marked the launch of a milestone 25th season for MLS, an anniversary that coincided with the long-awaited launch of David Beckham’s Miami expansion team and one in Nashville.

Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Daniel Wallis

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