MLS agrees pay deal with players’ union to 2027 and stays on course for April kick off

February 9 – Major League Soccer (MLS) and the players union (MLSPA) have voted to ratify the amended collective bargaining agreement (CBA) that will govern their relation until 2027, avoiding a potential lockout or strike before the new season kicks off.

“MLS players have made incredible sacrifices and overcome considerable challenges in the past year to continue doing their jobs during a difficult time for all of us,” said the MLS in a statement. “We owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to our player leadership for continuing to guide us during these unprecedented times.”

Relations between the MLS and the union have been fractious, with two deadline extensions needed to reach an agreement. Last January, the league decided to reopen CBA negotiations, invoking a force majeure clause due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. The MLS has said that it expects to lose $1 billion because of the global health pandemic and losses will keep mounting this season with no end to the Covid-19 crisis in sight.

The MLS proposed to freeze players’ salaries for the 2021 season, but in exchange demanded a two-year extension to the CBA. In that scenario, the CBA would run through to 2027. With the 2026 World Cup on the horizon, due to be hosted by the US, Mexico, and Canada, the extension would extinguish leverage for the MLSPA to negotiate improved terms. Last week, the MLSPA offered to extend the length of the deal by one year to 2026.

The new agreement reached grants the players their full salaries this season and extends the current CBA for two seasons. With a new deal in place, all parties will breathe a sigh of relief. The new MLS season is due to kick off on April 3.

Contact the writer of this story, Samindra Kunti, at moc.l1614300242labto1614300242ofdlr1614300242owedi1614300242sni@o1614300242fni1614300242