Gemini 5, 2078, m249
In just 4 weeks, the MAFL will kick off season 2.
The league and the club owners have been quiet during the break, sharing little news or updates while training camp has been underway for weeks. Mr. Aiger, President of the MAFL, broke silence today to officially announced Mithuna the 7th to be the opening weekend of play.
He confirmed that the original 8 teams will be returning for season 2, but revealed that Wendland and Columbia Hills will be joining in the league expansion for season 3.
He called out a number of key points related to "build on the learnings" and making changes that will make the game "even better" than than the first season.
Restricted team changes
In the spirit of growing talent, clubs have agreed to limited player changes, including no more than 1 trade and a maximum of 2 new recruitments.
Club owners will be sharing final roster in the upcoming weeks as they continue to make adjustments. Several players have bowed out during the off season for personal reasons, but otherwise, virtually all of the familiar faces will be returning.
"Not all teams were made equal, but none of us wanted to see drastic changes.", said Matthäus Reinmann, manager of Europa United, "This seasons is about continuity and refinement. I expect that it is going to be different than the inaugural season as every club has had time to reflect and work out issues."
Though Tiangong Wuji restructured their management team and said good-bye to head coach Bobby Chung after finishing in last place last season, the club expressed support on the team change restrictions, ironically saying: "You never give up on your people. That isn't the Martian-way."
Aiger has implied that minor 'tweaks' have been made to the rule book, but here are a few notable outcomes:
- An actual referee on the pitch. The official will be supported by 2 members in the control room and the same distribution of robot officials.
- Ball deceleration – this one is a bit controversial among the clubs as this season's balls will be adjusted for programatic deceleration. The league claims this will improve safety, however, it seems counter intuitive considering boost propellent capacity will also be increasing this year.
- Life support requirement have also been upped after multiple incidents in season 1. In addition to a number of EV suit specifications updates to address safety concerns, tech packs must support greater oxygen supply and helmets have new requirements. Some clubs have have taken this opportunity for equipment redesign and branding.
- The Penalty Kick shootout will be replaced with Extra Time (AET) to resolve tied matches.
5 colonies have approved and have retrofit stadiums to support new outdoor seating, including Europa, Amrita, Marineris, Al'amal, and Tiangong. There will continue to be pitch-side viewing in the safety of the spectator vehicle, but these stadiums are provided covered bleachers where spectators will be able to enjoy the games in consumer-grade EV Suits that they can rent or buy. The canopies are required to provide additional radiation protection and the suits are also designed to plug-in to a the stadium seating which both augments the suits life support and provides a direct feed of programmed in-came content.