SBD/Issue 94/Leagues & Governing Bodies

MLS, Union Working Hard To Avoid Potentially Crippling Lockout

 
MLS and the MLS Players' Union met again yesterday in an effort to negotiate a new CBA before the expiration of the current deal on Sunday, and there are "promising signs that labor peace will land on time and that good sense will prevail," according to Steve Davis of ESPN SOCCERNET. The two sides have "never seemed that far apart, but they have drawn tough lines on sticking points of player rights issues." Media reports have "typically (and accurately) downplayed the strike or lockout factor, although the DEFCON level has risen lately." Both the league and union have handled the negotiations "privately and, by all appearances, professionally." Any rancor seems to be "coming from media or from peripheral voices." Negotiators for the MLSPU have been "mum on the process, keeping all negotiations behind closed doors and declining media interviews." So too have the "primary negotiators from the league." Davis noted MLS officials, "team owners and labor interests all understand how potentially destabilizing such action would be to the entire pro soccer platform." Dynamo G and player rep Pat Onstad said, "Obviously, we're not one of the bigger sports, where we can go by the wayside for a time and expect fans to come right back. In the last couple of weeks, I think both sides will tell you progress has been made, and we're all cautiously optimistic of getting a CBA in place before the deadline" (ESPNSOCCERNET.com, 1/27). ESPN.com's Andrew Hush reported "slowly but surely, an agreement is getting closer." It also seems that "even if this weekend's deadline passes, things will be sorted out well before the start of the new season on March 25" (ESPNSOCCERNET.com, 1/27).

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