MLS and MLS Players Union Make A Deal, Game On
By Jeff Carlisle, ESPN // March 4, 2015
confirmed deal has a five-year agreement
ABOVE VIDEO: Major League Soccer and the MLS Players Union avoided the first work stoppage in league history on Wednesday, reaching an agreement in principle on a new collective bargaining agreement thanks to compromises on key issues, including free agency. (Video by ESPN)
Major League Soccer and the MLS Players Union avoided the first work stoppage in league history on Wednesday, reaching an agreement in principle on a new collective bargaining agreement thanks to compromises on key issues, including free agency.
The league confirmed the news of a five-year agreement on Wednesday night.
“We are pleased to finalize the framework for a new Collective Bargaining Agreement with our players,” said MLS commissioner Don Garber.
Pending formal ratification by the members of the MLSPU, the five-year deal allows the 2015 regular season to begin on time, starting with Friday’s tilt between the Chicago Fire and the reigning MLS Cup champion LA Galaxy.
The deal concludes a difficult negotiating period that began in earnest last December, and ended just two days before the start of the regular season. T
he last three days in particular involved some intense negotiations, with Tuesday’s session lasting deep into the night, and not concluding until 6 a.m. on Wednesday.
The two sides were back at it later on Wednesday morning and reached a deal that evening.
“We are pleased to announce that we have reached a new Collective Bargaining Agreement with the league,” said Bob Foose, executive director of the MLS Players Union.
“We are pleased to finally turn our fans attention back to our players and the competition on the field as we get started on the 2015 season.”
A source with knowledge of the negotiations confirmed that the CBA contains the first provision for limited free agency in the league’s history, with players who are at least 28 years old and with at least eight years of experience eligible to pick what team they play for when their contract expires.
A source of friction had been the league’s insistence that any raise for a free agency be capped at 10 percent, but the two sides reached a compromise by using a tiered system.
Players making over $200,000 will be limited to a 15 percent increase from their previous contract.
Players whose salary falls between $100,000 and $200,000 will be eligible for a 20 percent raise, while those players making $100,000 or less will be able to garner a 25 percent raise.
The minimum salary is now $60,000, which amounts to a 64 percent increase over the previous minimum of $36,500.
“We now enter our 20th season with enormous momentum with our new television partnerships, dynamic star players from the U.S., Canada and abroad, and two new expansion teams in New York City and Orlando that will debut in front of more than 60,000 fans on Sunday in the Citrus Bowl,” Garber said.
“This agreement will provide a platform for our players, ownership and management to work together to help build Major League Soccer into one of the great soccer leagues in the world.”