Tuesday’s soccer news starts with the US Open Cup Committee announcing the schedule for the 2021 US Open Cup. With last year’s tournament lost to the pandemic, the committee is making changes for this edition. The Open Cup will run from May 4 through June 30, playing out over five rounds.
“As we looked at our scheduling options, the Open Cup Committee first prioritized the health and safety of the players and decided against scheduling matches in both March and April due to the ongoing circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic,” US Open Cup commissioner Paul Marstaller said in the press statement announcing the schedule. “We also took into consideration the extended June FIFA window and the Concacaf Gold Cup taking place through August 1, along with the semifinal and final rounds of the 2021 Concacaf Champions League scheduled for the fall. In the end, we all felt a shortened version for this year was the best format….”
This version of the Open Cup will limit the number of teams for all leagues. NISA will get two entrants, two from USL League One, and eight each from USL Championship and Major League Soccer. It isn’t clear how those leagues will decide on their participants.
For Major League Soccer, it’s at least a slight return to an earlier era where participation in the Open Cup for all teams wasn’t compulsory. Given the unknowns of the pandemic, the Open Cup committee already has contingencies in place if the tournament is unable to start on time.
Also in the soccer news, the MLSPA and MLS announced the ratification of the new collective bargaining agreement. “The MLS Players Association would like to thank our Executive Board and Bargaining Committee who worked tirelessly over the last six weeks to represent and protect the interests of their teammates,” their statement read. “MLS players have made incredible sacrifices and overcome considerable challenges in the past year to continue doing their jobs during a difficult time for all of us. We owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to our player leadership for continuing to guide us during these unprecedented times.”
In a separate statement, MLS commissioner Don Garber said, “We thank the MLSPA leadership and the players for their thoughtful and collaborative approach on the new CBA. We worked together to address the ongoing impact of COVID-19 on the League, and we appreciate the players’ efforts to develop a CBA that deals with the uncertainty of the pandemic while also providing stability during the next seven years to enable further growth. We look forward to seeing the players on the field in a few weeks as we launch the 2021 season.”
The Athletic’s Paul Tenorio and Sam Stjeskal work through the changes to the CBA. Reuters explains the situation with Serie A’s media rights. BBC Sport with the English Football League losing an arbitration over a planned salary cap in League One and Two.
— Paul Arriola (@PaulArriola) February 8, 2021
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