WKTV - There may be a date to circle on the calendar for the return of the Major Arena Soccer League (MASL).
The league's Board of Directors voted, Thursday, to begin the 2020-21 regular season as early as December 31.
Typically, the regular season would begin towards the end of November or beginning of December.
With this plan, the final date of the regular season would be April 18.
The league said that a playoff format will be announced at a later date, but that to qualify for the playoffs, a team must play a minimum of 12 games and a maximum of 24 games.
Due to the potential for an uneven amount of games between each team, final standings and playoff seeding would be based off of winning percentage in games played rather than by wins and losses.
Following the MASL's announcement, Utica City FC released its own update that said it hopes to be able to join the other teams as part of the upcoming season.
"We are excited to hear that the MASL plans to move forward with the 2020-21 season," said Tommy Tanner, Utica City FC General Manager. "I know that our players and coaches are eager to get back on the field, and we look forward to working with New York State to hopefully re-open safely and participate in the 2021 season."
The ability for UCFC to play may hinge on the spectator guidelines in place when the season is set to begin. Currently in New York State, spectators at professional sporting events are not permitted.
Void of any major TV deals, the MASL derives much of its revenue from spectator ticket sales. From a business standpoint, no fans in the stands would make it difficult to offset the costs of operation, travel, etc. to participate.
Along with the MASL, Utica City FC will continue to monitor guidance from state and local officials to be able to put together a plan for the safe return of fans into the Adirondack Bank Center for games.
The team plans to confirm its declaration for participation this season prior to the December 31 start date.
Mexico-based Monterrey Flash and Soles de Sonora have already opted out of this upcoming season.