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MLS to Start As Scheduled

March 20, 2003

NEW YORK (AP) _ Major League Soccer’s schedule will not be changed because of the threat of war in Iraq.

``Based on the information we know today, through consultation with the appropriate local and federal authorities, the 2003 MLS season will begin as scheduled on April 5,″ league commissioner Don Garber said Wednesday.

``Currently, four MLS teams are in Central and South America, and will maintain their travel itineraries,″ he said. ``If the situation should change drastically, we will act accordingly to ensure the safety of our players, staff, fans and their families.

``We are confident in the security procedures established at our teams and venues, which were intensified late in the 2001 season.″

The MLS season starts when defending champion Los Angeles plays at Columbus, the U.S. Open Cup winner. The other eight teams start play a week later.

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