MLS, MLSPA still in process of rat­i­fy­ing new CBA

Orlando Sentinel - - Sports Monday - By Luis Tor­res

Ma­jor League Soc­cer and the Ma­jor League Soc­cer Play­ers As­so­ci­a­tion are still in the process of rat­i­fy­ing the newly agreedupon col­lec­tive bar­gain­ing agree­ment, ac­cord­ing to MLSPA ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor Bob Foose.

“We fi­nal­ized our ne­go­ti­a­tion with the league by sign­ing a term sheet. Our re­spec­tive le­gal teams are now in the process of converting that agree­ment into a fully re­vised CBA. We don't yet have an es­ti­mate of when that process will be com­pleted, but as soon as it is we will re­lease the fi­nal doc­u­ment pub­licly,” Foose wrote in an email shortly af­ter sports league be­gan to feel the im­pact of the coro­n­avirus pan­demic.

While the play­ers as­so­ci­a­tion and MLS have re­ported no is­sues work­ing out how to han­dle the pan­demic, the ab­sence of a con­tract gov­ern­ing com­pen­sa­tion or con­di­tions in which a sea­son would be played could be more of a chal­lenge the longer the spread of coro­n­avirus shuts down nor­mal Amer­i­can life.

MLS and the MLSPA agreed to a new CBA in prin­ci­ple in Fe­bru­ary, cover­ing five full sea­sons from 2020 through 2024. The deal was agreed to 24 days be­fore the 2020 sea­son be­gan, which has come to a tem­po­rary halt be­cause of the coro­n­avirus pan­demic. COVID-19 has spread glob­ally and has brought most of the sports world to a sud­den halt.

The 2020 MLS sea­son was just in its third week when the league de­cided to sus­pend play for at least 30 days while de­ter­min­ing the best course of ac­tion in re­gard to the virus out­break. All other do­mes­tic soc­cer leagues, in­clud­ing the NWSL, USL Cham­pi­onship and the La­mar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, are on hold as well.

Euro­pean leagues such as the Pre­mier League, Serie A and La Liga have also de­cided to sus­pend their re­spec­tive leagues. The NBA was the first league in the U.S. to elect to halt its sea­son af­ter Utah Jazz player Rudy Gobert tested pos­i­tive for the coro­n­avirus. Since then, sev­eral other NBA play­ers have tested pos­i­tive, in­clud­ing the Brook­lyn Nets’ Kevin Du­rant.

A Ja­panese soc­cer of­fi­cial, who was in Or­lando and New York for the SheBelieve­s Cup, tested pos­i­tive for COVID-19.

MLSPA of­fi­cials said they are fo­cused on mak­ing sure play­ers are safe as the pan­demic con­tin­ues to spread.

“We are work­ing very closely with the league across many lev­els. Right now, our col­lec­tive fo­cus is on keep­ing play­ers and staff safe and healthy. At some point, hope­fully soon, we will get back to other busi­ness, but that's not hap­pen­ing right now. We are con­fi­dent that our part­ner­ship with the league will con­tinue to be strong,” an MLSPA spokesper­son wrote in an email.

High­lights in the new CBA in­clude in­creased in­vest­ment in player spend­ing, greater salary bud­get flex­i­bil­ity across ros­ters, play­ers shar­ing in me­dia rev­enue, an in­crease in char­ter flights and ex­panded free agency.

The new CBA is set to ex­pire in Jan­uary 2025, and the pre­vi­ous CBA, which ran from 2015-19, was ex­tended a week to Feb. 7 so both sides could con­tinue to ne­go­ti­ate a new deal.

“As we pre­pare to cel­e­brate our 25th sea­son, we are very pleased to fi­nal­ize a new five-year Col­lec­tive Bar­gain­ing Agree­ment with our play­ers,” MLS com­mis­sioner Don Gar­ber said in a state­ment when the deal was struck. “This agree­ment ad­dresses key strate­gic pri­or­i­ties for the league and our play­ers while also re­tain­ing the ba­sic player com­pen­sa­tion struc­ture that has been the foun­da­tion for the growth and sta­bil­ity of Ma­jor League Soc­cer.

“We had con­struc­tive, pos­i­tive dis­cus­sions with the lead­er­ship of the MLSPA and the play­ers’ bar­gain­ing com­mit­tee dur­ing the ne­go­ti­a­tions over the last few months, and I would like to thank them for their col­lab­o­ra­tion in con­clud­ing an agree­ment that will serve as the foun­da­tion for a new era of part­ner­ship with our play­ers.”


Or­lando City’s An­to­nio Car­los and team­mates de­fend the Lions’ goal dur­ing the team’s sea­son opener against Real Salt Lake. The mem­bers of the MLS Play­ers As­so­ci­a­tion have not yet rat­i­fied their col­lec­tive bar­gain­ing agree­ment with MLS.

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