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5PM Deadline By Players Union Has Passed, No Strike For The Moment

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If you thought that all the posturing and the mudslinging in the electronic & print media would end up being a major negative on this day, there has been some form of common sense with the players union. All outlets have reported that the Players Union has decided not to strike and continue to negotiate for a new Collective Bargaining Agreement with MLS.

From MLSPU executive director Bob Foose reading a prepared statement.

“Effective at midnight tonight, our collective bargaining agreement with MLS will expire. While we expect that negotiations with MLS will resume at some point, there simply hasn’t been enough progress made in the negotiations to date to warrant an extension of the old agreement.

We have advised our players to keep working for the time being, but as of Friday they will be doing so without a CBA. In the meantime, all options are being considered as the process continues. We are completely committed to forging real changes to the way MLS players are treated.”

This has become good news for all of us that wants to see our North American First Division continue to perform and to allow the positives to be celebrated like the new stadiums in Red Bull Arena & PPL Field in Chester outside of Philadelphia. The American players that will be selected for the USA World Cup Team from MLS before they head off to South Africa.

An official statement has been made by Major League Soccer after the Players Union made their’s.

“During the last year, Major League Soccer has been negotiating with the MLS Players Union on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement. The current CBA expires today and the players Union would not agree to a further extension.

We have told the Players Union that the League does not plan to lock out the players and we are prepared to begin the season under the current CBA while we continue to bargain to reach agreement on a new CBA.

We have listened to the issues raised by the MLS Players Union and the League has made detailed proposals that have addressed these issues, including in the areas of economics, guaranteed contracts, options and the ability of a player to move to another MLS Club if he is released by his current Club. These proposals, which represent substantial changes from the current CBA, will significantly increase our spending and provide substantially more right to the players.”

For me personally the players have made the right decision, while I do understand they want the same rights as any professional athlete playing for a professional sports club. Not just like footballers all over the world, but professional Baseball players, Hockey players, Basketball players, & NFL Football players want.

While this league has made some strides and the American player has improved, there is still a feeling and in my opinion that one wrong move can crumble this entire operation. I do understand that the players are asking for better wages and to have their services won from the highest bidder in any of the clubs that are in MLS, but at this present time I’m afraid to say that this battle must be shelved for now.

This is not to say that I am for the league, against the players or I believe single entity should remain forever. I’m just saying that till every club has their own stadium and has the financial means to remain solid and grow these annoyances must remain. I am all for reducing some of the rules or erasing them for good, but for right now the major hurdles that the players are trying to knock down must remain.

At the moment the real people who have avoided being truly effected by this has been us. Cooler heads have spoken and hopefully these negotiations will remain positive till a brand new C.B.A. happens.

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  1. john

    March 11, 2010 at 12:12 pm

    I hope they strike!!! I am a fellow union brother. The MLS minimum compensation is $12,000/ yr. You can make more on unemployment or working @ Mc Donalds. A few years back they even had to bargain for health insurance! The MLS players are not looking to be millionaires, they just would like fair compensation. Since they play/practice 10 months a year, where else can they go to get work?

  2. Daniel Feuerstein

    March 2, 2010 at 1:13 am

    To Gazza: Sorry for the delay, my wife and I have moved into a new apartment and just waited for the deadline to come to write this one up. Will be writting another article based on this situation soon.

  3. Roger

    February 27, 2010 at 3:03 pm

    a CREW of WIZARDS magically designed a synthetic GALAXY that is not REAL.

    They should BURN on FIRE, sink on an EARTHQUAKE,get hit by RED BULLS or eaten by CHIVAS.

    fans and players should stay UNITED.This FUSION will be the DYNAMO that propels our soccer REVOLUTION.

    support the MUTINY!!!!

  4. Roger

    February 26, 2010 at 7:46 pm

    Players. Dont give up!!

    The REAL fans are with you 150%

    New NASL , if you do things right we could take this parasites away for good.

    If you implement promotion and relegation and no cap,you will win the harts of the fans.You are our best hope.

    Soccer in america will get nowhere with the bunch of lawyers/financial advisors/non-soccer people that have kidnapped it.

    We will never have a real soccer experience with “single entity”.We deserve to have Association Football in its real version…….no the “Milky way kickers” lie that is MLS

    you can fool some people some time…………

    • CoconutMonkey

      February 27, 2010 at 1:46 am

      Everybody really has a pickle up their butt for this new NASL. Let them finish a season before we start crowning them the saviors of American footy.

      • Roger

        February 27, 2010 at 3:15 pm

        how about changing that to something like
        ” everybody is exited for this new……………”
        keep the pickle for yourself.No need to use that language in order to make your point.

  5. Gazza

    February 26, 2010 at 5:48 pm

    No. I am just surprised it is taking so long for Daniel to correct it.

  6. Ben

    February 26, 2010 at 4:14 pm

    Am I the only one bothered by the spelling of “passed” as “past”?

  7. DClee

    February 26, 2010 at 1:05 pm

    Good article and posts. The only thing that I think is worth adding is that you hear this term “It’s time to take the training wheels off” but the league has done that to some extent since 2007 when they implemented the DP slot which allowed clubs to pay any player they wanted to be a DP. I think that only 8 teams have used that slot and at the moment only 5 of the 16 teams are using that slot. So until all the teams are confident enough financially to do this and most if not all turning profits with Soccer Specific stadiums then i think that the fans and players need to relax about free agency and any other issue that might jeopardize what they have worked to build for the last 14 years.

    IMHO I feel that if the league has made some nice proposals and I don’t care if the 60 mil is an inaccurate number including the expansion teams because to me if they are getting even $1 additional dollar a year then it is progress and not worth risking losing everything they have worked for. To me almost 50-60% of these players wouldn’t be playing professionally anywhere or making near what they are(even as low as it is) if it wasn’t for this league and I hope that there never is a situation when there is free agency or the ridiculous spending that goes on in MLB, NFL, NBA and European football leagues that have clubs bankrupting themselves just trying to keep up with fans expectations and the few rich owners that can afford to spend. I believe in Unions but am not a huge fan because when you look at what is happening in these other pro leagues and the crazy spending that teams are doing even in a recession when most Americans are happy to have a job.

    I’m all for the players getting more money and the quality to improve on the pitch but now is not the time to risk it all especially if the part about players being allowed to sign with another team in MLS after being released is true. That is one of the rules that I feel is the most ridiculous and needs changing but the rest is gravy in my opinion. My 2 cents…

    • CoconutMonkey

      February 27, 2010 at 1:42 am

      “especially if the part about players being allowed to sign with another team in MLS after being released is true. That is one of the rules that I feel is the most ridiculous and needs changing”

      Correct me if I’m wrong. But isn’t that part of free agency? Regardless, I’m still don’t understand how free agency leads to financial ruin in a league with a hard cap.

      As for teams with outrageous spending and a few rich owners. I think that just comes with the territory of being a huge popular league.

      There’s gotta be some kind of middle ground. On one hand, we don’t want a league like the SPL where two teams dominate every year. But I also really don’t want a diluted league like the NBA where teams tank their seasons for draft picks, and franchises can be stolen.

  8. jleau

    February 26, 2010 at 11:14 am

    Personally, I think the owners are wrong. They need to treat the players better and by doing so they will start to attract retain better players and the quality of their product will go up.

    However, given the state of the league, it’s not realistic to assume the owners will concede much. Most of the teams draw poor crowds. The league has virtually no TV audience (iCarly has 5 times the number of viewers). Most teams are losing money.

    Things are getting better an shutting down during a WC year is suicidal. The players need to get what they can and comeback in 5 years when the owners have more to lose.

  9. Dutch

    February 26, 2010 at 11:06 am

    The players have decided not to strike AT THIS TIME. What’s the point. The season will start toward the end of March. Let’s see what the players decide to do when the games start and the owners will start to lose money?

  10. Charles

    February 26, 2010 at 10:19 am

    I think that the players should push for a battle they can win. Not free agency.
    Look if MLS was strong, ie drawing more than 16k per game and with even ok TV ratings, yeah, push for it hard, but it is not. Players are free to go to Mexico to play, Europe if they don’t mind travelling too much. Nothing stopping them, but as of right now…and it doesn’t seem to be improving in many cities anytime soon…even the single entity haters would have to say at least the single entity is working on keeping a league here.

    If I were them, I would look for a minimum salary to be raised to $50k, the maximum to be raised to $500k, and the league to promise that new money coming in ( Seattle, Vancouver ) be used to raise the salary cap.
    I bet Seattle put close to $10 million into the entity last year…but the salary cap only goes up $300k ? Split the money and force the spending of it, by making the teams pay for talent.

  11. Gazza

    February 26, 2010 at 9:45 am

    Really Brian? I know lots of people who live in NY who makes less than $30k. And they don’t get to fly to Arizona or Spain for 3 weeks every February on the companies dime.

  12. Brian

    February 26, 2010 at 9:09 am

    They have to raise the minimum salary. It’s insane to expect any so-called professional in a so-called major league sport to live on $30,000 in a place like New York City or Los Angeles.

  13. fnord

    February 26, 2010 at 3:24 am

    It’s also quite common for Latin Americans to refer to citizens of the USA as “North Americans” (“Norte Americanos”); I don’t know if they include Canadians under that term. They certainly aren’t including Mexicans.

    Personally I don’t care about the politically correct hangup some people have with citizens of the USA calling themselves “Americans”; I have no trouble distinguishing, in context, between “America” (as in the United States of…) and “the Americas” (as in the continents of…). It’s a pretty simple distinction to grasp, really.

    People get WAY too upset over the fact that the same word can have multiple meanings in different contexts. Try not being so literal minded, guys. It won’t hurt your brain.

  14. dhines

    February 25, 2010 at 7:45 pm

    north american first division? was i the only one that was educated to include parts of latin america in ‘north america’?

    hmm . . . .

    • Lars Lowther

      February 25, 2010 at 7:58 pm

      Yep. Up until recently, North America has generally been used to describe Canada and the United States.

      Greater integration with Mexico has lead to common usage of the term to describe the 3 countries.

      But hey, if we really want to do a bang up job on politically correct stupidity, we have to include France (St. Pierre & Miquelon) and Denmark (Greenland) as North American countries.

    • totoro

      February 25, 2010 at 9:32 pm

      dhines, I think it varies. A lot of political institutions (I’d include sports organizations here) classify Mexico as “Central America.” But not all…I mean, look at NAFTA. I’m guessing that many contexts Mexico included in North America since that’s the major continent, since I know I’ve heard it that way, too.

      Lars, I’m sure it’s tiring taking shots from the peanut gallary, but your response seems a bit harsh. Including Mexico in North America hardly seems on par with including Denmark and France.

  15. Rex

    February 25, 2010 at 7:08 pm

    I am sorry, but the players are playing with fire here. Their reps are talking tough and trying to be like the big boys but the fact is they arent. They aren’t NFL players, they arent NBA players, they are EPL players, heck they arent even postal workers. Their profession is just not significant right now, and because of that most of Americans will just let it die.

    And yes, i will go out and call the players greedy at this point. I know the owners are greedy too but we expect that from owners not from the players. They are just ignorant if they think the league is going to change make major changes like free agency.

    I hope Pat Onstad is happy that he is going be a major part of killing the stadium deal in Houston. I guess he doesnt care.. he will be retired by then living up in canada off of his pension that hes screwing everyone else for now.

    • Adam Edg

      February 25, 2010 at 8:50 pm

      I avoided taking sides b/c both were partially right and partially wrong. But I agree that the players come off as the bad guys here – in any sport when they talk of strike. We do expect the evil owners to be greedy, but then again it’s their money on the line. The players have to remember at the end of the day that they are getting paid to PLAY A GAME. I know it is a lot of hard work, etc, but when John Q Public hears ANY pro athletes bitch about being underpaid, it is put in the context of “real work.”
      Thank god a workable compromise was decided upon for now. A stoppage stood about 98% chance of killing the league and setting pro soccer back about 26 years.

      • CoconutMonkey

        February 26, 2010 at 12:50 am

        Word. I wish we had more information that support the league’s assertions, though.

        I’m aware that we’re still small potatoes in the American sports landscape. I’m aware that the majority of teams have yet to make a profit. And I’m also aware that a lot of teams don’t have their own stadiums. And yes, I remember that the NASL crashed and burned.

        BUT I’m still not quite sure that I’m on board with the notion that free agency (or a form of it) would be financial suicide, especially since we have a hard cap in place. It seems to me that they’re actually more worried about the MLSPU using free agency as a dent in the single entity armor.

        Any insights out there?

    • totoro

      February 25, 2010 at 9:25 pm

      There’s no strike yet. No games cancelled. The players are negotiating, and it makes sense not to show all their cards to start. Same for the owners.

  16. Ivan

    February 25, 2010 at 6:12 pm

    Both sides have to come to terms. No MLS season will be devastating to both the league and football in the US. Even though MLS is a baby league, it has done well to establish a core following and successfully expand its product. I do see both sides to the dispute, and won’t go into detail about why free agency is right or wrong, but, the fact of the matter is, MLS needs to start its regular season on time.
    Compromise must be reached; another failed professional football league in the US will be awful.

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