C.B.A. Update. A New Deal Is Almost Ready To Be Signed

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There is some major news coming from my good friend Duane Rollins up in Toronto. From his 24th Minute blog he has received inside information that progress is being made between the players union and the league with the new deadline looming for this Friday of a possible strike, lockout, or another extension to avoid a work stoppage.

So far it sounds like two major issues have been solved as there will be guaranteed contracts and a decent salary cap increase for the players. Duane reports that the salary cap will increase from $2.3 million to $2.6 million. If it doesn’t sound like a major increase to you, it does mean that those youth players who sign the Developmental contracts or Generations Adidas contracts could earn some more money than $18,000 a year.

But the one big final hurdle that is looming large is free agency which the league won’t give up on so easily. They are holding firm to that stance as they believe any type of free agency will automatically inflate the market and could doom the single entity structure. This once again is fabulous news to hear that the 2010 MLS Season is close to being saved and the pre-season for all the clubs will continue with out a work stoppage.

Give credit to both sides at the moment who understand that a single day of a strike or a lockout is not a good thing to have and any form of a work stoppage would be hurtful to the development of the American player and the top flight division of American football. Besides this summer’s World Cup and the first match of the group against England, the opening of Red Bull Arena this coming March 27th and a middle of the season opening of Philadelphia Union’s new stadium will be the highlights of this soon to be start of the season.

Now it’s time for both sides to finish off these negotiations and put their John Hancock’s to the official document. This new C.B.A. is a three year deal so somewhere before the final round of CONCACAF Qualifying for the 2014 World Cup is where re-negotiations will start for a new C.B.A. again.

This is a league that is growing up at a fast rate, but they have still found ways to slow the process down with some of these rules of acquiring players and a club holding on to their rights for a long period of time even if they have left for another country. While I do understand why MLS has done these things, it’s at a point where these restrictions must be scaled back, or removed completely.

But while some have criticized Commissioner Don Garber running the league you have to give him credit for understanding what the players wanted and to keep the interests of the league afloat. No one thought that he would allow a C.B.A. partnership with the players. He could’ve said no, but he realized that the players needed their own voice as well.

The man who use to run NFL Europe understands what has to be done to keep this league afloat and while there will be some kicking and screaming going on, Garber will be there to try and keep the peace and calm the nerves.

Duane Rollins

24 thoughts on “C.B.A. Update. A New Deal Is Almost Ready To Be Signed”

  1. Since when does the will of Don Garber supercede federal labor law? The National Labor Relations Act requires employers to “bargain in good faith” with their unionized employees. The commissioner could not have simply said no. I know this might be hard to believe for fans of MLS such as myself, but Don Garber is not bigger than federal law.

    1. MLS structure was formed with such laws and other sports league legal precedence in mind. It was very craftily formed to be stable and make money.

  2. Great news!

    MLS is not as stingy as some claim giving an increase of over 10% in salary and ensuring guaranteed contracts. Our league is quickly emerging as one of the strongest top to bottom in the world.

    Garber and the owners have acted in good faith and given up some control and now the MLSPU must back down on the lunacy of free agency. They already have free agency by virtue of going to Europe or like Ralston did, going to the NASL. But MLS operates as a LEGAL single entity and we don’t need free agency within a legal single entity system. Free Agency would ruin the system.

    1. Exactly. There are literally thousands of options for pro soccer players. Some of those options definitely feature higher salaries than MLS. NFL/MLB-style free agency in MLS (at this moment) could kill it. Let those who play merely for cash test the waters abroad.

    2. ” They already have free agency by virtue of going to Europe or like Ralston did, going to the NASL.”

      Totally agree, and unlike the propaganda spewing from somewhere in South Florida by the new NASL PR director, players have left MLS before for a HIGHER salary in USL or now NASL.

      I guess Krishnaiyer deserves credit for propagating a myth as if the Ralston signing was some sort of coup for his new employers. Players have left MLS for years to get a higher salary in USL. Essentially, that is the free agency and we do not need free agency within MLS. Free agency exists within the US. Take the Ralston case, where he rejected a deal from New England and signed the next business day with St Louis. That is free agency. So the MLSPU and its allies need to stop whining.

      1. I’m not that familiar with the various US leagues…have there really been many cases of players leaving MLS for other US leagues for higher salaries? Were these starters who had six figure salaries in the MLS?

        1. No. There haven’t. USL is in smaller markets and doesn’t have the same revenue streams that MLS does. Few players make more in USL than they do in MLS.

          Some might make the same as they would, but few make more.

        2. The players making top salaries in MLS don’t move to USL/NASL because USL/NASL can’t match or exceed those kinds of salaries.

          However, there have been plenty of players making minimum MLS salaries who have moved to USL (and now NASL) for higher salaries, because USL/NASL can offer better salaries to players making MLS minimum. So USL/NASL can poach some players from MLS who can’t make more in MLS due to the constraints of the salary cap.

          Ralston is probably a special case as he wants to start a coaching career and he’s from the St. Louis area originally, so it might not have been a case of higher salary (or it might have been) alone but rather a chance to return home to St. Louis and he might have decided he had a better chance starting his coaching career in USL/NASL rather than in MLS.

    3. Are MLS players really free to leave for Europe? Every guy I’ve read about has gone to their European club either on loan or after MLS agreed to a transfer fee.

      1. They are free once their contracts are up. Sometimes MLS shoots itself in the foot by not agreeing to a transfer, only to see the player leave anyway a year or two later when the contract is up, on a free transfer.

  3. Once your contract is done you should be free to move. Period. Anything less is unfair to the players. Yes this won’t happen, but in a capped league they can’t inflate their values too much. If a player has family in KC, for example, why shouldn’t he serve his team for his contract term and move back home if he so choses?

    1. They are free once their contracts are up, if they transfer outside of MLS. This happens quite often.

      They are only constrained under the existing system if they want to transfer inside of MLS, or if they leave MLS and want to come back within a certain period of time.

      This happened for instance to McBride when he came back – he wanted to go to Chicago, but Chicago couldn’t sign him until they did a deal with the MLS club who still retained rights to McBride.

      I’m all for having MLS give up all rights once the contract is up. Other MLS clubs shouldn’t have to bargain for the rights to former MLS players who have been out of MLS contract for years. This is one part of the existing MLS structure which has to go.

  4. garber used to run NFL europa. do you know what happened to nfl europa? they crashed and burned. i have faith in garber and i think he’s doing a good job but soccer is a different game, business wise and worker rights wise, than football.free agency is a must. but since its only a 3 year deal im sure if they dont get the free agency they can wait 3 yrs and ask for it again, if garber is dead then yes, if he’s still alive then all he wants is power

  5. also theyre arnt as many options on the table for the player if the league holds the players rights. yes you can go to europe or us second division but its hard when your rights are still in theyre hands. plus a player cant merely say “oh mls sucks, im going to europe” and go. he has a family.

  6. This article is inaccurate and a joke. The deadline will get moved back a couple weeks as reported and we’ll see from there.

    1. Cap increase has been confirmed through secondary sources.

      The only thing really left on the table is free agency. The deal is very close to be done.

  7. I would have liked to see a higher minimum salary, not so the big teams can dominate, but I think the league needs to be able to keep some of the national team members at home.

    Lets face it, if we WIN the World Cup it doesn’t do much for our soccer league. It might help the FSC, but none of the players play here…outside of Landon.

  8. You know, I would love to watch at least ONE MLS GAME some day, but with those new salary cap rules it is sure I won’t be watching any game soon. With this money it is impossible to have a good team. The MLS never will be recognized worldwide or even respected if doesn’t change its mind set completely. You must first invest in good players and salaries to have a good show, then you will negotiate better TV deals and have more tickets sold. Like in any other business, you should first invest to collect profits later. The new MLS salary cap, if used in Brazil, where we operate, would not be able to pay the salaries of Sao Paulo’s under 17 roster. Don’t you think there is something wrong here? Is much better not having a league if the league is an international joke.

    1. The problem, sergio, is that outside of a handful of markets in America, most teams are losing money as it is. Seattle, Toronto, L.A., and Houston are the only teams making money. These teams are covering the costs of all the other teams in the league.

      There is a serious hope that Philadelphia will be another successful market. It is presumed that Portland and Vancouver, in the US Northwest & British Columbia, respectively, will be finacially successful, just like the similarly located Seattle Sounders.

      Until there are more successful markets to help out on the revenue sharing, the league will continue with baby steps. 300,000 should be a welcome increase to the cap, for any fan of the game, as it means one more higher quality player, or a whole bunch of better quality, depth players.

      Oh, and Go Botafogo.

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