'Our intent is to play as many games as we possibly can' - MLS commissioner Garber vows to complete coronavirus-hit season

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MLS is hopeful that clubs will play a full season of games despite the current coronavirus pandemic, according to league commissioner Don Garber.

The league has been put on hold, along with other major competitions around the world, due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

However Garber says the league will resume as soon as it is safe, and he is commited to ensuring all teams play enough games to finish the campaign.

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Speaking on ESPN , he said: “Once we are comfortable that we can get our players with three to four weeks of training, and that we have the guidance that we can get crowds back into our stadiums, then we will then begin the relaunch of our season.

“Our intent is to play as many games as we possibly can.”

Garber, however, did admit that the structure of the MLS season will have to be altered and extended to allow for the current disruption.

Michael Bradley Lodeiro MLS Cup
Michael Bradley Lodeiro MLS Cup

MLS Cup - the championship match which decides the overall winners of the season - could be held in December as it has in previous years, before being moved to November in 2019.

Garber also said that the league was prepared for the rearrangement of the Tokyo Olympic Games, which have been postponed by a year until summer 2021 due to coronavirus.

It means the MLS season will be disrupted by the Games next year, but Garber said the rearrangement of the Olympics was "not surprising at all."

He said: “Many of the national governing bodies have been putting pressure on the IOC to postpone the games in Japan so I’m not surprised in the slightest.”

Garber said he is in contact with all the MLS clubs during the enforced break, and called on the franchises to provide leadership and set an example to supporters during difficult times.

He said: “It is an important statement of the power of sport — whether that’s soccer or any other sport — of all coming together to have a very very strong and powerful voice to ensure that people are staying home, that they’re staying safe, that they’re staying clean, and that they’re prioritizing the things that really matter which is social distancing and also connecting to their families and connecting to their loved ones.”

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