‘The Players Are Ready To Play’: MLSPA Issues Letter To League
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The Major League Soccer Players Association (MLSPA) has issued a letter directed to the league regarding the uncertainty surrounding the 2021 season.
The letter states that the “players are ready to play,” and that the players recognize the financial strain the global pandemic has had on the league. A lockout would be “catastrophic for the standing of MLS both domestically and internationally.”
Furthermore, “a proposal has been presented to MLS that includes a second extension to the current CBA term to include the 2026 season. Coupled with our agreement last June, this proposal will result in over $200 million in economic concessions and the addition of two years to the CBA – one year for each of the years substantially impacted by the pandemic. It will also reduce the impact of revenue sharing that was such a hard-fought gain in the original CBA,” the letter states.
“Players and staff have clearly borne substantial risk to their physical health because of the pandemic. With these concessions, players have also unquestionably borne a substantial portion of the league’s Covid-related financial losses. To the extent that those losses continue beyond current expectations, the CBA allows teams to further reduce expenses by adjusting their discretionary spend.”
“Most importantly, this offer creates a revised CBA framework to ensure the continued growth and stability of MLS in the years to come. In exchange for and in recognition of these concessions, the proposal includes modest non-economic changes for the 2025 and 2026 seasons, changes that would benefit players by reducing the age for free agency eligibility by one year and decreasing some of the restrictions on free agent earnings,” the statement reads.
The negotiations between the two parties began on December 29th when the league invoked a force majeure clause following the 2020 season that wreaked financial havoc on the league as a result of the global coronavirus pandemic; an estimated $1 billion in revenue was lost.
Earlier this week, the league announced plans to begin preseason training on February 22nd with the season to start on April 3rd.
If a lockout ensues, it will be the first lockout in the league’s history.
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