Join Now | 
HomeAboutContact UsPrivacy & SecurityAdvertise
Soccer America DailySpecial EditionAround The NetSoccer Business InsiderCollege Soccer ReporterYouth Soccer ReporterSoccer on TVSoccer America Classifieds
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalkSoccer America ConfidentialYouth Soccer InsiderWorld Cup Watch
RSS FeedsArchivesManage SubscriptionsSubscribe
Order Current IssueSubscribeManage My SubscriptionRenew My SubscriptionGift Subscription
My AccountJoin Now
Tournament CalendarCamps & AcademiesSoccer GlossaryClassifieds
MLS and Players Union stage marathon talks
by Ridge Mahoney, January 27th, 2010 7AM

MOST READ

MOST COMMENTED

[MLS] The news from the collective bargaining agreement between MLS and the MLS Players Union isn't really newsy, but might be interpreted as encouraging. Representatives of the two sides met for eight hours yesterday at league headquarters, and discussions are scheduled to resume Wednesday.

On hand for MLS were Commissioner Don Garber, President Mark Abbott, Executive Vice President Todd Durbin, and others, including members of the league's legal firm, Proskauer & Rose. Jon Newman, General Counsel to the MLSPU, was among those on the players' side of the table.

Progress, or lack of same, has been hard to track, yet eight hours is a long time for two opposing sides, regardless of the issues, to tolerate each other. Some incentive to cut a deal is certainly being provided by an expiration date of Jan. 31, this Sunday, for the current CBA, yet other forces are wielding influence as well.

FIFA reiterated two weeks ago it wouldn't intervene in negotiations after the international players' union, FIFpro, issued proclamations that league policies violate FIFA statues regarding the transfer of players and administration of player contracts. This move, a dubious one at best, failed to strengthen the players' leverage, and their occasional public ripostes at what they perceive to be the league's onerous policies regarding freedom of movement hasn't seemed to sway league officials.

On the management side, while Garber and Abbott present a united front, there's some sentiment among certain ownership groups to get a deal done while retaining the league's structure and philosophies. A low-paying league can't really throw down the greedy-players card to gain public sympathy, and they can point to the recent rapid rate of expansion, which opens opportunities for players to get jobs, even if most of them don't pay very much.

Time lost with players on strike and/or locked out can't be recaptured, and the league took severe enough hits last year in season-ticket sales and other revenue streams to fear any more disruptions. If the economy is recovering, it is doing so very slowly, which both management and labor are acutely aware of.

Rebuffed by FIFA, the players may have to give up on any form of free agency for the time being, even for players who re-enter the league after leaving it to play overseas. Its onerous policies of one-way options and impairment of player movement aren't likely to change. Adding a second fully guaranteed year to contracts would give the players some added security - most contracts are guaranteed only for the first year and semi-guaranteed for the second - and so would a retirement plan.

A viable retirement plan along with incremental increases in the minimum salary and salary cap might be the best they can achieve this time around. Yet a week or two of impasse and pickets outside training grounds might be needed to achieve such modest gains, and neither side can really tolerate anything longer or more vitriolic than that.


No comments yet.

Sign in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join Now




AUTHORS

ARCHIVES
FOLLOW SOCCERAMERICA

Recent Soccer America Daily
A back-heel sombrero from Greek boy     
[VIDEO PICK: Skills] Greek youth soccer, in a game between AO Ioannina and Agia Eleousa, delivers ...
What They're Saying: Jose Mourinho    
"Obviously they must be very sad with the result but when we lose against a team ...
Report: W-League champion Pali Blues are folding    
The LA Blues won W-League titles as the Pali Blues in 2009, 2009 and 2013 and ...
The Messi files: Eight amazing scoring records    
Lionel Messi holds all the single-season scoring records. Now, he is cleaning up on the all-time ...
Mulroy departs NASL runner-up Ft. Lauderdale Strikers    
Tommy Mulroy, the longtime soccer promoter, is out as the president of the NASL Ft. Lauderdale ...
Business Reporter: adidas to open store in Orlando stadium    
MLS sponsor adidas will operate the league's first in-stadium store starting in 2016 with the opening ...
Three takeaways from Manchester City-Bayern Munich     
The Champions League actually includes runners-up and third- and fourth-place finishers, but this Group E game ...
Marshall becomes first three-time top MLS defender    
In his first season with the Seattle Sounders, Chad Marshall has been named the MLS Defender ...
Copa America: Brazil and Colombia will meet again    
Brazil and Colombia, which faced each other in a hotly contested quarterfinal match at the 2014 ...
Referees grab the spotlight in MLS playoffs    
If the goal of a referee is to go unnoticed, the two referees in Sunday's MLS ...
>> Soccer America Daily Archives