Major League Soccer and the MLS Players Association agreed to extend the deadline by one week to discuss revisions to the collective agreement in hopes of preventing a work stoppage.
“Major League Soccer met with MLSPA and players yesterday to continue discussions on how to address the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic,” MLS said in a statement released on Friday. “Even if we stay far apart, we are extending the negotiation period by 30 days by one week to give everyone the opportunity to conclude an agreement.”
The negotiation period now expires at 23.59 ET on February 4th. The league announcement states that MLS’s working committee voted unanimously to authorize the league to end the CBA and lock out the players if the two sides do not agree to a revised deal.
MLS said the league and union also agreed to continue talks and a “regular meeting schedule in the coming days.”
On Thursday, MLSPA submitted a proposal for the league that would extend the current CBA to 2026. Combined with concessions made in June last year after the COVID-19 pandemic forced the 2020 season to pause, players would make $ 200 million in concessions in total, said the union in a statement.
“Players and staff have clearly had a significant risk to their physical health due to the pandemic,” the MLSPA statement said. “With these concessions, players have also undoubtedly borne a significant share of the league’s Covid – related financial losses. … In exchange for and recognition of these concessions, the proposal includes modest non-economic changes for the 2025 and 2026 seasons, changes that would benefit players by lowering the age of free agency by one year and reducing some of the restrictions on revenue from free agents. “
The league is seeking an extension until 2027 to help MLS recover some of the losses due to the pandemic.
“It is more important that MLS’s proposal does not include structural changes in the CBA and does not seek any further restrictions on players’ free trade rights during the period,” the MLS statement said of its proposal.
MLS and the players have been in negotiations since the league invoked the force majeure clause in the CBA on December 29. The league said it lost nearly $ 1 billion by 2020, about three-quarters of those linked to the pandemic.
Liga continues to worry about finances as it seems that fans will not be able to fill the stands in the coming months, given the continued pandemic and the slow expansion of the COVID-19 vaccine.
(Field level media)
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