Major League Soccer (MLS) has sent a memo to its teams and staff to brief them on a possible labor dispute.
According to information released Thursday by the ESPN network, the president and deputy commissioner, Mark Abbott, contacted the clubs in the league a few hours before the deadline set by the MLS for the negotiation of a revised collective agreement. His boss Don Garber had set at midnight (on the night of Thursday to Friday) the limit to settle the file with the Players Association.
However, the MLS athletes submitted an offer to the opposing camp in the afternoon. Everything provides that the contract binding the parties would be valid until the end of the 2026 campaign, it was said in a press release. The Association estimates economic concessions at over $ 200 million, taking into account the agreement reached last June.
If the circuit decides to lock out its athletes, it will be the first labor dispute in its history.
“The deadline of January 29 gives enough time to the parties concerned – the league, the clubs and the players – to prepare for the next season, it was indicated in the text which ESPN obtained a copy. At this point, however, we must have a plan for the possibility that the agreement will be terminated and a business shutdown will occur. We will specify to the clubs the rules to follow during any stop. “
Nevertheless, the MLS remains hopeful of reaching a happy ending.
“We want to be clear: our will is to strike a deal and avoid conflict. However, we must be prepared if we ever cannot come to an agreement. We fully understand the challenges that COVID-19 has created in Canada and the United States, around the world, and within the MLS community. Even though we don’t have to, in the event of a work stoppage, we will continue to provide health insurance and pay for the care of players and their families. ”
The league invoked the force majeure clause provided for in the employment contract on December 29. Used in the event of an economic disaster, it forces the parties to agree on amendments within a 30-day window.
As mentioned by journalist Dave Lévesque of the “Journal de Montreal” on Tuesday, the gamer clan rejected a MLS proposal by submitting a counter-offer on Friday. The MLS thus provided in its offer that the athletes will receive 100% of their salary in 2021, while asking them to extend the employment contract by two years.
The two sides agreed on a new deal shortly before the start of the 2020 season, but the pandemic has complicated the consequences. The deal is due to end in January 2025, so MLS is demanding that it extend until January 2027.
Due to the pandemic, the MLS suffered significant losses. In 2020, she lost nearly $ 1 billion according to her statements, including $ 725 million directly related to the crisis.
Normally, training camps are scheduled to start on February 22 and Day 1 of the regular calendar is April 3.