Join Now  | 
Home About Contact Us Privacy & Security Advertise
Soccer America Daily Soccer World Daily Special Edition Around The Net Soccer Business Insider College Soccer Reporter Youth Soccer Reporter Soccer on TV Soccer America Classifieds Game Report
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalk Soccer America Confidential Youth Soccer Insider World Cup Watch
RSS Feeds Archives Manage Subscriptions Subscribe
Order Current Issue Subscribe Manage My Subscription Renew My Subscription Gift Subscription
My Account Join Now
Tournament Calendar Camps & Academies Soccer Glossary Classifieds
MLS and Players Union stage marathon talks
by Ridge Mahoney, January 27th, 2010 7AM
Subscribe to Soccer America Daily



[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



Recent Soccer America Daily
What They're Saying: Franz Beckenbauer    
"Carlos Alberto was like a brother to me, one of my best friends." -- Former German ...
MLS: Pending Barnetta exit adds incentive for Union    
Of the 12 playoff qualifiers, Philadelphia compiled the fewest points (42) and drew a daunting match ...
What They're Saying: Sacramento planning and design commissioner Cornelious Burke    
"This project in my opinion is a game changer." -- Sacramento planning and design commissioner Cornelious ...
USL Expansion: Tampa Bay and Ottawa leave NASL    
As the USL and MLS grow, the NASL shrinks. From its membership of 12 teams for ...
MLS Moves: Jahn's goals net him new contract in Columbus    
A rough season for Crew SC did yield some hope for the future, and as part ...
MLS Playoffs: Teams limp into Knockout Round    
Between them, the LA Galaxy and Real Salt Lake have made 11 MLS Cup appearances and ...
Video Pick: Carlos Alberto's wonder goal    
Carlos Alberto, who died at age 72 on Tuesday, scored one of the greatest World Cup ...
Video Pick: Sweet solo strike from Leipzig    
One of the reasons newly promoted RB Leipzig is only two points behind Bundesliga leader Bayern ...
U.S. Abroad: Big night for Americans in DFB Pokal    
Bobby Wood scored two goals for Hamburg, his first since the second week of the Bundesliga ...
Double DUII arrests add to Portland's nightmare week    
In the space of a week, the Portland Timbers, the 2015 MLS champions, failed to reach ...
>> Soccer America Daily Archives