At least one professional sports organization in North America seems poised to make a “bubble league” happen to finish its schedule amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The Athletic reported on Tuesday that Major League Soccer is finalizing a proposal to move its entire operation to Florida and play out its schedule in a single location: Orlando.
According to reports from both The Athletic and Washington Post, the league will attempt to make a “bubble league” happen at Disney’s Wide World of Sports, sending all players to Orlando to stay and play while the schedule is played out. According to the proposal, the timeline is actually pretty tight to make this happen. According to The Athletic’s Sam Stejskal, sources indicated the league wants players in Florida by June 1 and hopes to resume the 2020 campaign by June 22 and has submitted the plan to players and clubs.
The sources said that the league is proposing that all teams travel to and begin training in Orlando by June 1st, which is just under three weeks away at time of this publication. Players, coaches and staff would essentially be quarantined for the first week in Florida, during which players would only be able to train individually. Small group training would begin in the second week and run for seven days. Only in the third week would teams be allowed to hold full training sessions. Games would begin on June 22nd and likely run for four or five weeks, putting players, coaches and staff in Orlando for around two months in total. Family members would not be allowed to travel with teams to Orlando.
The games played in Orlando would not be part of a regular season, but would instead be a tournament format, according to Steven Goff of The Washington Post, who emphasizes that these are tentative plans.
Competitive matches would not be part of regular season. Rather, it would be a tournament format in which teams advancing would play additional games. Again, these are tentative plans.
— Steven Goff (@SoccerInsider) May 12, 2020
Other neutral sites were considered throughout the process, but it seems that Disney’s hotel space and sports facilities won out in the end. Whether a bubble league can safely isolate the entire league and its 26 clubs is unclear — as is whether MLS’s plans impact or prohibit other leagues like the NBA to set up shop at Disney as well — but it certainly seems like at least one league is going to try facilitating one of the oddest seasons in league history in a few short weeks, pending the approval of the teams and players, of course.