MLS teams allowed to resume small-group training

New York (AFP) –


Major League Soccer said Thursday teams can now hold outdoor training sessions with groups of up to six players as the sport gradually moves towards a return from the coronavirus shutdown.

A league statement said teams were now free to conduct small-group training sessions as long as they did not conflict with local public health regulations.

The sessions must also comply with protocols drawn up by the league in consultation with medical and infectious disease experts.

The MLS season was suspended on March 12 as the coronavirus pandemic swept across the United States.

Players have been allowed to train individually at team facilities since May 6, but larger sessions remained forbidden.

A moratorium on full team training remains in place until at least Monday, MLS said Thursday.

MLS chiefs are reportedly planning to resume play in a 26-team tournament staged entirely in Orlando, Florida, expected to kick off in July.

MLS would put its clubs into three groups of six teams and another of eight for the tournament, which would be staged at ESPN's Wide World of Sports complex at Disney World.

MLS have sent teams a plan which details safety protocols, delegation limits of 45-47 people per club and a format that would send the two top squads from each group into an eight-team tournament knockout round.

The MLS moves come as leagues around the world are slowly finalizing plans to return to play.

Germany's Bundesliga has already resumed while England's Premier League and Spain's La Liga are scheduled to return to action next month.