July 17, 2020 / 8:24 PM / 25 days ago

Soccer-MLS delays launch of three expansion teams due to COVID-19

July 17 (Reuters) - Major League Soccer has unveiled a revised expansion timeline with three of its four new teams’ inaugural seasons delayed by one year due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Charlotte, originally scheduled to begin playing in the MLS next season, will now make its debut in 2022 while St. Louis and Sacramento will begin in 2023 instead of 2022.

Austin, which announced its formation earlier than the other clubs, remains on schedule to debut in 2021.

“We have always taken a thoughtful and strategic approach to our expansion planning and have delivered successful launches for every new club,” MLS Commissioner Don Garber said on Friday.

“It is important for each club to take the necessary time to launch their inaugural MLS seasons the way their fans and communities deserve.

“With the extra year to make up for what has been a challenging 2020, these teams will be well-positioned for their debuts and for long-term success.” (Reporting by Rory Carroll in Los Angeles; Editing by Ken Ferris)

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