MLS, play­ers reach deal for sum­mer tour­ney

Richmond Times-Dispatch - - SPORTS -

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

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