The MLS will invoke a force majeure clause in its collective bargaining agreement with the union that obligates both sides to negotiate modifications to the deal.
"Unfortunately, based on the assessment of public health officials, it is clear that the impact of COVID-19 and the restrictions on attendance at sporting events will continue into the 2021 MLS season," deputy commissioner Mark Abbott told ESPN. "We recognize the impact that the pandemic has had on our players and appreciate their efforts to restart and complete the 2020 season, but, like the other leagues in the United States and Canada, MLS needs to address the ongoing challenges caused by the pandemic and will engage in good-faith discussions with our players about ways to manage the significant economic issues we are facing."
MLS commissioner Don Garber said that the league lost nearly $1 billion in revenue in 2020, and the source stressed to ESPN that the league couldn't afford a second successive season suffering such losses.
The MLS is heavily dependent on match day revenue and fans are not expected to attend sporting events in large numbers until the second half of 2021.