Superliga Begins Amidst Controversy
Pachuca’s Players split a $1 million bonus for winning the Superliga in 2007. Had the LA Galaxy won, their players would have split $150,000 /Photo from the AP
The MLS Players Union has rained on the Superliga parade set to begin today. The union released the following statement which I reprint from Steve Goff’s Washington Post story:
“MLS is misleading its great fans. What has not been revealed by the league is that its New York office has unilaterally set its own bonus structure for players, who will receive only a small fraction of the $1 million. On top of that, the league has gone even further by prohibiting its teams from providing their own bonus pool for their players, despite the fact that this right is protected under the league’s CBA. The Union has filed a grievance regarding this issue, which will be arbitrated later this year.”
“Given the time and travel requirements and injury risk for players, the prize money at stake (which MLS has consistently touted in the press), and the revenue generated through home games, it is entirely reasonable for players to expect a larger bonus pool. The Union and the players participating in this tournament believe that SuperLiga is a great tournament and hope that it will be around for a long time. It’s a shame that MLS doesn’t pay its players – the persons responsible for making the tournament exciting – their fair share of the proceeds. Their refusal to do so has left the players with a bitter taste in their mouths as they enter the tournament.”
“As a result, if an MLS team wins SuperLiga the players on that team won’t split $1 million. Instead, they will receive only 15% of the prize money. This puts MLS players at a significant competitive disadvantage as the Mexican clubs are not operating under the same rules. Indeed, it is our understanding that the players on last year’s winner Pachuca split the entire $1 million prize amongst themselves.”
So essentially what appears to be a great tournament and concept is amounting to little more than a cash grab by SUM and MLS? Perhaps not, but the appearance is not good from this vantage point. Even more troubling is that MLS congested its most successful clubs schedules during FIFA international breaks forcing clubs to play multiple games a week shorthanded to clear the calender for this tournament. I for one enjoy all international competitions and will continue to give Superliga coverage befitting of a champions league like tournament for this region, which it is, but those who take the event less seriously given this revelation can be forgiven.
More on this story can be found thanks to our friend Luis Bueno’s excellent reporting at Sideline Views.