Major League Soccer is reportedly seeking a 20 per cent pay cut from its players to help deal with the financial consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The MLS season was indefinitely suspended after just two weeks of play in March due to the health crisis. It remains unclear if and when the league will resume activities and in what format, though some clubs have allowed players to return to voluntary individual training.
According to ESPN, MLS has made a formal proposal to the MLS Players Association for a 20 per cent pay cut across the board – including players on the lower end of the pay scale – which could save approximately $31m from its player payroll costs.
Additional financial reductions are being sought, the report added, without specifying how these savings would be made.
“MLS continues to engage in productive conversations with the MLSPA over ways in which we can collectively address challenges presented by the Covid-19 pandemic,” said MLS president and deputy commissioner Mark Abbott.
The vast majority of MLS head office staff, including MLS commissioner Don Garber, are already taking enforced pay cuts due to the league’s shutdown.
The ongoing health crisis could potentially cost MLS teams billions of dollars, Seattle Sounders majority owner Adrian Hanauer has claimed. “The losses at the team level in MLS will be astronomical. Hundreds of millions, billions, really big numbers,” Hanauer told the Sounder At Heart podcast.
ESPN also reports that MLS is looking to return to action with a mini-tournament in neutral locations, most likely without spectators. Orlando, Dallas, and Kansas City are possible locations.
MLS wants the matches to count in the league standings, while the winner could gain qualification to the Concacaf Champions League. It is hoped that teams will be able to play in their home markets later in the year.
The United Soccer League is also seeking pay cuts from players in the second tier USL Championship, The Athletic reports.