Soccer-Henry cooks and waits for MLS to make decision on season

By Steve Keating

By Steve Keating

April 28 (Reuters) - All Montreal Impact manager Thierry Henry says he can do is train, cook and wait to see when or if the Major League Soccer season will resume as countries ease novel coronavirus lockdown measures that have brought global sport to a standstill.

"I'm trying to train in the morning, train in the afternoon and cooking that takes a lot of time already," said Henry, summing up his day during a Zoom conference call on Tuesday. "I know it sounds kind of boring but the situation makes it like that.

"That's about it."

Like much of North American sport, MLS shut down in mid-March and ever since has been planning for a return to action that remains far from certain.

MLS had targeted a May 10th restart but has since conceded that may have been overly optimistic, last week extending a training moratorium through May 15 with reports the league is now looking at a June return.

"I am sure the commissioner (Don Garber) and whoever is making that decision are working extremely hard to figure out what we are about to do," said the Frenchman, who spent five seasons in the MLS with New York Red Bulls as a player.

"All we can do on our side is prepare for whatever is going to come our way.

"I don't know what is going to happen."

Canada's three MLS franchises, Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver will present additional challenges for commissioner Garber.

Canada and the United States, who closed their border to non-essential travel in March, have agreed to extend the closure until May 18 and could extend it even further.

More problematic, Quebec, the hardest hit of the Canadian provinces by the COVID-19 pandemic, last week announced there would be no sports, festivals and cultural events until Aug. 31.

Soccer has ground to a halt in all major leagues in Europe and none have yet to resume.

Leagues, governing bodies and clubs have said they will only return when play is safe and that they will take medical advice.

Last week the top-flight league in the Netherlands, the Eredivisie, cancelled the remainder of its season after the Dutch government extended a prohibition on public events to Sept. 1.

France's Ligue 1 appeared to have its season come to an abrupt end on Tuesday when Prime Minister Edouard Philippe announced all sports leagues will not be allowed to return before September.

It all paints a bleak and uncertain picture but MLS continues to be upbeat about the possibility of squeezing in a complete season.

If, however, MLS is unable to restart it would be a huge disappointment for Henry and the Impact after getting the campaign off to a good start, picking up a win and a draw in their first two matches.

"It’s a world problem at the moment," said Henry, the former-Arsenal striker who helped France to the 1998 World Cup and remains his country's all-time leading scorer. "We’re all one country right now.

"In a way wherever you are, we’re all worried about our families, thinking about how everyone is, making sure we’re respecting the rules by staying home.

"We all need to be together as human beings." (Reporting by Steve Keating in Toronto. Editing by Toby Davis)