MLS Rejects Latest Union Proposal

Sources from ESPN have indicated that Major League Soccer will the latest MLSPA proposal indicating that their last offer was the final one. The latest negotiations have reached a wall where, unless there is an easing of tension, an owner lockout of the players looms on the horizon.

The latest MLSPA proposal asked for a reduction in salary of 7.5% as opposed to the 8.5% the owners indicated. Along with that, there was an ask for planning around testing staff workers at hotels for COVID-19 and how the players would be kept safe while being quarantined during the proposed Orlando tournament. Revenue sharing increases could also be deferred, which was a point of contention during the CBA but now appears to have resurfaced.

Another major block is the majeure clause that the owners can use to back out of the CBA entirely. It is a clause that can be invoked should a catastrophic event force the decline in attendance of five teams or more to below 25%. If this is used, all leverage for the players is gone and the agreements made during the last CBA would become void.

This leaves the players at a serious disadvantage and nearly all the leverage with the owners. Should the players not agree, they are within their right, although not an popular one, to lock the players out of the league. If this were to happen, the chances of there not being an MLS season at all in 2020 grow significantly.

The coming week should shed more light on whether any form of an MLS season happens at all. If the owners do destroy the CBA, the negotiations could be far more contentious than in the past and result in a work stoppage that could last well into next year as well.

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