[MLS]With no agreement in sight and the expiration date for the current collective bargaining agreement looming, MLS and the MLS Players Union have agreed to continue negotiating until Feb. 12.
In a statement released by MLS late Thursday afternoon, Commissioner Don Garber said, "While we still have areas of disagreement, the talks have been constructive and both parties believe it makes sense to continue to work hard to reach agreement. This extension provides both MLS and the players the opportunity to continue our discussions while clubs are in training camps preparing for the 2010 MLS season."
Though a few teams have already begun preseason training, and the Red Bulls have been training and playing games in Spain for the past week, most camps officially open Monday, a day after the current CBA expires. MLSPU had already advised its players to attend training camps.
"Both the Players Union and MLS have concluded that a new agreement will not be reached by February 1, but we have agreed to continue to talk and we will be meeting over the next two weeks to determine if a new agreement can be reached," said MLSPU Executive Director Bob Foose. "In the meantime, MLS Players are reporting to training camp, and preparations for the 2010 season will continue."
The current CBA, the first in MLS history, is a five-year agreement that had been scheduled to expire on Jan. 31, 2010.
Requests sent to MLS president Mark Abbott and MLSPU General Counsel Jon Newman seeking additional information were not granted. The two sides met for eight hours Tuesday at the MLS offices in New York, and held another round of talks Wednesday. It isn't known when the two sides reached an agreement to continue negotiating beyond the CBA expiry date.
The players are seeking the right to bargain with multiple MLS clubs once their contracts expire, longer terms for guaranteed portions of contracts, and the establishment of a 401(k) retirement plan. Increases in the minimum salary and per-team salary cap have also been proposed by the players.