Major League Soccer (MLS) has reportedly begun discussions with the MLS Players’ Association (MLSPA) regarding potentially significant salary cuts to players as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 global outbreak.

The talks are said to have taken place late last week on a conference call which featured MLS commissioner Don Garber, deputy commissioner Mark Abbott, and the MLSPA executive board. 

A host of topics are thought to have been addressed during the meeting, including return-to-play scenarios and competition format. Moreover, a broad outline of what the MLS is seeking in terms of salary reductions was also discussed. 

Speaking to ESPN, Abbott stated: “MLS remains focused on exploring a wide variety of formats for playing the entire 2020 season, including pushing back MLS Cup into December or later. Based on the most recent government guidance, we have extended the moratorium on matches until at least June 8.

“Like all leagues, we are in discussion with our players about changes to player compensation due to the financial impact on the league and our clubs from the COVID-19 crisis. 

“We are seeking to work collaboratively with the MLSPA to find a solution that provides a safety net for all players, opportunity to earn full salary in the scenario where all matches are played with fans, and in particular provides protection for the players at the lower end of the salary scale.”

As it stands, the proposed plan would see players making less than $100,000 remain unaffected, with players making above $100,000 not having their salaries fall below that threshold.

That said, it is being reported that the league is asking the bulk of its players to take as much as a 50% pay cut. However, this would only come into effect if future season games are canceled, with the potential of playing games behind closed doors also impacting the extent of player wage cuts.

With the current total league payroll estimated to be over $310m the plan, if implemented, would see the league reduce its total player payroll by $150m.

The MLSPA is yet to respond or provide any statement regarding the reported player wage cuts.