New MLS agreement reached, strike avoided

23 Mar

A strike by Major League Soccer players has been avoided after a collective bargaining agreement was reached between the players union and the league this weekend.


MLS maintained its single-entity structure without compromising its core principles. Free agency remains a distant pipe dream for the players, though the league permitted some internal freedom of movement by agreeing to the Union’s proposal of a yet-to-be-defined “re-entry draft” for out-of-contract players. League officials handed traction to the Union in other areas – player salaries, for example – where they were plenty willing to find common ground and even assented to changes in at least one department – wider access to guaranteed contracts – where they weren’t as keen to allow the Union to grab a foothold. The concessions facilitated the present deal while ensuring the overall structure would not fall under threat in the short- or medium-term future.

It was more important this year, more than any other year, to get a deal done and avoid a stoppage.  It’s a World Cup year.  You can’t expect to field a competitive team on the world’s biggest stage if half your players aren’t playing at all.  MLS has been booming in popularity and a strike would have killed the momentum the league has worked so hard to build up.  The World Cup will only serve to increase the popularity of soccer in this country and MLS needs to be poised to take advantage of the uptick in interest.


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