MLS and the MLS Players Association came to a tentative agreement Friday on a new collective bargaining agreement, to run through the 2027 season. The agreement ends threats by MLS team owners to start an immediate lockout, which would have put some or all of the 2021 MLS season under threat.
The big concession in favor of the team owners appears to be extending the agreement to 2027, while the players will reportedly get improved free agency terms and improved financial terms over the life of the deal. The new CBA is effectively the third in a year for MLS, which typically goes at least a few years between new agreements.
While the coronavirus pandemic has hurt most aspects of the economy, including operating budgets for MLS teams, in fact most MLS team owners have increased their wealth during the pandemic and this latest attempt to rewrite the CBA was perceived from the outside as an attempt to really squeeze the players. In the end, with the threat of putting the league on ice for an indeterminate period and most players in the league making lower middle class salaries, players didn’t have a ton of leverage and tried to do the best they could under the circumstances.
The situation is not completely confirmed because the MLSPA membership and MLS team owners all need to ratify the agreement, but it appears the new CBA will be ratified. If labor relations make your eyes glaze over, the big points for us who aren’t players or team owners is this: There won’t be a lockout, the season is on track to begin in April as scheduled, and preseason for the LA Galaxy is scheduled to begin on or around Feb. 22. Bring it on.
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