MLS to allow individual player workouts from 6 May

Scott Halleran/Getty Images

MLS players can begin individual workouts at team training fields from 6 May provided plans comply with comprehensive safety protocols set out by medical and infectious disease experts, the league confirmed.

Only two rounds of matches were played in MLS before it was suspended on 12 March as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

It was hoped originally that action could resume by May 10 but last month MLS said it may have to play a shortened scheduled.

While it remains unclear when play will begin again, MLS released a statement confirming a step forward in a return to training, with all workouts on a voluntary basis.

"Major League Soccer today announced that as of Wednesday, May 6, players may begin to use outdoor team training fields for individual workouts, in compliance with detailed health and safety protocols that were created in consultation with medical and infectious disease experts," The statement read.  

"All individual workouts are voluntary and may not be in conflict with local public health official or government policies.

"By allowing players, on a voluntary basis, to utilise team-operated fields for individual workouts, MLS clubs will be able to provide a controlled environment that ensures adherence to safety protocols and social distancing measures for players and staff.

"The individual player workout protocol prohibits access to club facilities including but not limited to locker rooms, team gyms, and team training rooms. Team gyms and training rooms may still only be accessed by players receiving post-operative and rehabilitation treatment, as directed by the club's chief medical officer.

"The league-wide moratorium on small group and full team training remains in place through, and including, Friday, May 15."

The statement said every team must submit a club-specific plan detailing how they plan to adhere to health and safety protocols.

The criteria included the restriction of training facility access to essential staff only, plans for sanitisation and disinfection of equipment, a screening assessment for each player prior to arrival and temperature checks at the facility.

It added there should be staggered player and staff arrivals and departures with each designated parking spaces. Furthermore, personal protective equipment (PPE) should be used from parking lots to the field, while staff should use PPE through training and keep a distance of 10 feet from players.

Clubs can use outdoor training facilities, with each field divided into a maximum of four quadrants and only one player per quadrant can participate per session.

All teams must create an emergency action plan for all COVID-19 related issues, which is to be approved by the club's medical staff and local disease expert before being submitted to MLS.