The news out of Washington D.C. is growing increasingly dire with reports that the Major League Soccer owners are dug in on their "no free agency" front and that the players are preparing to strike if some concessions are not made.
Of course, Steve Goff is on the scene in D.C. and has some important tweets for us.
Getting word MLS has rejected all of players' proposed compromises. Hardliners are "running league into ditch"— Steven Goff (@SoccerInsider) March 3, 2015
Says well-placed source: "It's shocking. Almost as if owners want a work stoppage. They see players as incidental to MLS' growth"— Steven Goff (@SoccerInsider) March 3, 2015
Owners' apparent lone proposal: player age 32 with 10 years' experience with same club can become free agent. #mls— Steven Goff (@SoccerInsider) March 3, 2015
Players appreciate MLS economics, not seeking big $ increase. Entering 20th year, they say, time to have some say in where they can play— Steven Goff (@SoccerInsider) March 3, 2015
The alleged "32/10" offer was later addressed, however, and has reportedly be improved upon by the owners.
Source close to negotiations on the 10 year/32 year old MLS FA proposal: "old info. we've moved and improved it since then."— Jorge Arangure (@jorgearangure) March 3, 2015
With all that in mind, it is hard to imagine that these talks suddenly wrap up nicely. The MLSPU representatives on each team have been reiterating the players' commitment since the start of the preseason.
Canadian Soccer News's Duane Rollins came at the negotiations from a different angle today, talking to several player agents. The outlook from them, however, has been even more dire:
Multiple player agents spoke to CSN off-record today to stress that the negotiations are close to breaking down. It's possible that the players may formally walk away from the table as soon as this afternoon.
All of this paints an unflattering picture of a league on the verge of a strike.
If that strike should occur, it appears that agents of players are prepared for the occasion, according to Jeffrey Carlisle.
I'm hearing agents are lining up training stints w/NASL foreign teams as we speak. #mlscba— Jeff Carlisle (@JeffreyCarlisle) March 3, 2015
Of course, there could be any number of unintended consequences from a strike. Again, Carlisle has the info:
I'm told that one wrinkle to this is that if a foreign player leaves country, they can't come back until strike is over. #mlscba— Jeff Carlisle (@JeffreyCarlisle) March 3, 2015