Ladies and gentlemen, we might be have ourselves an MLS season.
After another week of high-stakes negotiations between the MLS Player’s Association and the league, the MLSPA bargaining committee and executive board have tentatively approved a revised Collective Bargaining Agreement proposal from the league. The agreement will now be put to a vote by the MLS player poll, needing a simple majority of votes in order to be approved and locked in.
Statement on tentative agreement reached with MLS: pic.twitter.com/5EAk5fWjxv— MLSPA (@MLSPA) February 6, 2021
The player vote will take place over the weekend, likely on Saturday. An approval by the majority of the player pool will be the last hurdle to clear in order for the new CBA to be ratified, avoiding a lockout and allowing the 2021 MLS season to proceed as scheduled.
CBA negotiations were set off after the league invoked the force majeure clause in the CBA back in December, bringing MLS and the MLSPA back to the bargaining table to renegotiate the CBA initially agreed to in June of 2020. The main point of contention in the negotiations appeared to be a two-year extension of the terms of the CBA, put forth by the league.
After the league rejected the MLSPA’s proposal and the negotiation deadline of last Thursday night came and went, both parties announced a one week extension, and last night announced a 24 hour extension to reach a deal, or the league was prepared to lock the players out. It seems now like that dubious consequence has been avoided, and a new CBA deal has tentatively been put in place.
What is in the new deal? We will get full details once the agreement is (presumably) ratified by the players, but reporting from Jeremy Filosa of 985 Sports in Monteral suggests that the two-year extension of the CBA is included.
Hearing the 2 year CBA extension is still on the table in the latest league proposal.— jeremy Filosa (@JeremyFilosa) February 6, 2021
Jeffrey Carlisle of ESPN has also reported that in exchange for the extension, the players will receive an adjusted share of revenue from new broadcast deals the league agrees to in the coming years, expanded salaries in 2027, and expanded free agency terms in 2026 and 2027.
The final details of the deal will be revealed in the coming days, so it’s hard to say who gains the most at this juncture. Although, the two-year extension appeared to be an absolute sticking point for the league that MLSPA accepted in return for more revenue and salary concessions. More to come on that front pending the final vote.
Nothing is officially ratified yet, and final approval is pending the player vote over this weekend. But as per the approval by the player’s union, it appears that we are on track for CBA ratification, and the league avoiding the first lockout in its history.