Olivier Renard shares thoughts on Orlando tournament

Montreal sporting director satisfied with solutions for return to play

It’s now official. MLS is coming back and it’s doing so in less than a month, on July 8.

MLS announced today the details of a FIFA World Cup-style tournament set to take place at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando. You can find all the details here, including more on the competition format, how it will impact the eventual return of the season, and what it means for the Concacaf Champions League next year.

Sporting director Olivier Renard spoke to the media this afternoon to address the decision made by MLS and the eventual resumption of the 2020 season. 

“I’ll speak as a sports fan and not as a sporting director. We’re happy,” said Renard. “The players are happy to be back at training and see their teammates. I’m happy and excited to watch football again. I think this was long for everyone. We’re all impatient to get back to life as we know it, but also life with sports.”

The competition comes with a few rule changes, similar to steps adopted across other major soccer leagues around the world. Some of the changes include a 23-man squad, and up to five substitutions being allowed in a game.

“It’ll be the staff’s job to measure the level of fatigue and injuries in players. Good on the league for expanding the number of players allowed. It may be strange at first because it’s new for everyone, but we need to adapt, “explained Renard. “It’s a new life for everyone, and we need to find the right solutions. The most important thing was to start playing again. It wasn’t possible in every market, so the MLS decided on this format.”

The tournament is set to begin on July 8, with teams obligated to be in Orlando at least a week before their first game. The groups will be determined on Thursday, June 11, at 3:30pm.