MLS seeks to keep current player wage deal in place for further two seasons

January 6 – Major League Soccer is proposing no more pay cuts to its players for the 2021 season but in exchange is asking for a two-year extension to the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) as the organisation seeks to navigate the economic impact of the global health pandemic.

Last week, CBA negotiations were reopened as a result of MLS invoking a force majeure clause. America’s top flight is struggling to handle the financial fallout of the ever-lengthening coronavirus crisis which has claimed more than 350,000 lives in the United States.

“According to public health officials, the restrictions on attendance at live sporting events will continue far into the 2021 MLS season,” said MLS president and deputy commissioner Mark Abbott in a statement.

“In 2020, despite MLS and its clubs suffering extraordinary and unsustainable losses, players received 95% of their salaries. To address the ongoing impact of the pandemic in 2021, MLS is proposing to extend the term of the existing collective bargaining agreement for two years rather than seeking any salary reduction. This proposal will help ensure the long-term health of the League while paying MLS players 100% of their salaries.”

Last season, the MLS suffered from its dependence on matchday-revenues, which were decimated because of a lack of fans. MLS commissioner Don Garber stating during his State of the League address last month that the league had sustained a drop in revenues of “almost $1 billion.”

The players union MLSPA didn’t offer any comment but executive director Bob Foose said: “After making considerable concessions and sacrifices to come to an agreement in June, players intended to honor the commitments that were made in the renegotiated CBA. The league’s action last week, while not unexpected, was nonetheless disappointing in what it says about how the league views their relationship with players.”

The MLS was shutdown in March because of the coronavirus outbreak and returned with the ‘MLS is back’ tournament over the summer in Orlando in a bio-secure bubble. Players had agreed to a 5% cut in salaries and a 70% cut in bonuses and MLS succeeded in negotiating the inclusion of a force majeure clause, which allows both parties to reopen CBA talks in case of economic hardship.

The new MLS season is due to kick off in March.

Contact the writer of this story, Samindra Kunti, at moc.l1611419278labto1611419278ofdlr1611419278owedi1611419278sni@o1611419278fni1611419278