Thu, 21 Jan 2021

WASHINGTON, July 6 (Xinhua) -- Major League Soccer (MLS) Commissioner Don Garber made it clear on Monday that the MLS is Back Tournament is a full go after FC Dallas withdrew from the tournament due to the impact of COVID-19.

The league said Monday that 13 of 550 players have tested positive ahead of the MLS is Back Tournament, a restart tournament in Orlando after the MLS season was suspended by the pandemic in March.

A total of 10 Dallas players tested positive while two from Nashville and one from Columbus also tested positive, the league added.

"We have 550 players that have already been tested and 13 of them have tested positive," Garber said. "Right now, it's an extremely low percentage. The players that are there in Orlando are safe; they're comfortable, they're training, they're eating, they're recreating. They're doing the things in accordance with our protocols - they're wearing masks, they're socially distancing. They're managing their lives in a bubble."

"Now if that bubble is suspect and something should happen, then we're going to have to address that. Right now, we're in a pretty good spot, although Dallas will not be participating in the tournament. We'll have to replace those regular-season games they're going to miss and continue to monitor the rest of the arrivals very closely. 13 of 550 player tests is relatively low. But in the days leading up to Wednesday's opener, we're going to have to keep a close eye on it," he added.

The MLS is Back Tournament kicks off on Wednesday with the first-ever meeting between local side Orlando City SC and fellow Florida expansion club Inter Miami.

"It is a full go," Garber said when asked if the MLS is Back Tournament is proceeding as planned. "We've got a great matchup with our new team in Miami playing against Orlando. And we have 50 other games that are going to take place throughout the tournament. And I just want to reiterate: We're going to make the right decisions as it relates to the health and safety of our players. And right now, the protocol is working."

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