MLS, players reach deal for summer tourney
Major League Soccer and its players’ union reached an agreement that paves the way for a summer tournament in Florida after the season was suspended by the pandemic.
The deal was announced by the Major League Soccer Players Association on Wednesday following tense talks that led to some players skipping voluntary workouts and the league threatening a lockout.
MLS and the union agreed Feb. 6 to a five-year labor contract, but the deal had not been ratified when the season was stopped on March 12 after only two matches had been played by each team.
The ratified collectivebargaining agreement was announced in the midst of nationwide protests over police brutality and injustice against African Americans sparked by the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Both sides noted the unrest in announcing the contract.
“There are problems we face collectively that are both more urgent, and more important, than competing on the field,” the union said in a statement.
MLS commissioner Don Garber said the league expects to take a $1 billion revenue hit because of the coronavirus.
The revised CBA, a sixyear deal through 2025, includes across-the-board pay cuts and reduced bonuses.
The agreement also changes the players’ share of media rights negotiated in the original CBA. The share will drop from 25% to 12.5% in 2023, but will be restored to 25% in 2024.
Details of the Florida tournament were still being finalized. The league’s 26 teams and limited staff would be based in the Orlando area and matches played without fans at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports