Major League Soccer’s negotiations regarding economic concessions, a restart plan and major changes to the collective bargaining agreement has apparently turned sour quickly. According to ESPN’s Herculez Gomez, the league has turned away the MLSPA’s latest proposal, which it voted to approve over the weekend. The league has not only rejected the offer, reports say that they are threatening a lockout of the players if they don’t agree to the league’s latest proposal.
I’m hearing @MLS has given @MLSPA till Tuesday noon to accept their final proposal. If they refuse the players would be locked out.— herculez gomez (@herculezg) June 1, 2020
I reached out to a high ranking official within the league who respectfully declined to comment.
According to ESPN’s Jeff Carlisle, one major sticking point in the negotiations is the owners’ insistence of having a “force majeure clause” in the deal, which I have definitely heard of before and did not have to google to learn what it was.
A bigger sticking point relates to the force majeure clause that would allow either side to back out of a CBA in the case of a catastrophic event like a pandemic. MLS’s proposal gives it the right to invoke the clause if five teams suffer an attendance drop of 25 percent or more from the previous year, while the MLSPA’s doesn’t have that stipulation.
Other potential stumbling blocks include pay cut percentages and a revenue sharing plan for the league’s upcoming TV network negotiations.
While a plan to restart play in Orlando for a mini-tournament in late June seem to be on track, these issues seem like they could create much bigger problems for the league.
We’ll have to wait until the supposed Tuesday deadline to see if this is all a negotiating tactic by the league or if they’re ready to dig in their heels for a dirty fight.