NewsJan 28, 2021

MLSPA Statement on Proposal to MLS

In February 2020, Major League Soccer and the Major League Soccer Players Association reached a tentative agreement on a new five-year collective bargaining agreement. As the pandemic unfolded and jeopardized the 2020 MLS season, players agreed to salary reductions, bonus reductions, and other economic concessions, as well as an extension of the CBA through the 2025 season. These concessions, felt directly by players in 2020 but with a financial impact on all players that stretches throughout each remaining year of the CBA, totaled over $150 million dollars.

Amid a cloud of uncertainty over the 2021 season, players have once again been forced back to the negotiating table. Today, after discussion and approval by the MLSPA Bargaining Committee, a proposal has been presented to MLS that includes a second extension to the current CBA term to include the 2026 season. Coupled with our agreement last June, this proposal will result in over $200 million in economic concessions and the addition of two years to the CBA - one year for each of the years substantially impacted by the pandemic. It will also reduce the impact of revenue sharing that was such a hard-fought gain in the original CBA.

Players and staff have clearly borne substantial risk to their physical health because of the pandemic. With these concessions, players have also unquestionably borne a substantial portion of the league’s Covid-related financial losses. To the extent that those losses continue beyond current expectations, the CBA allows teams to further reduce expenses by adjusting their discretionary spend. Most importantly, this offer creates a revised CBA framework to ensure the continued growth and stability of MLS in the years to come. In exchange for and in recognition of these concessions, the proposal includes modest non-economic changes for the 2025 and 2026 seasons, changes that would benefit players by reducing the age for free agency eligibility by one year and decreasing some of the restrictions on free agent earnings.

While concessions are always difficult to make, players have seen first hand the severe impact the pandemic has had on MLS. They recognize and appreciate the collective sacrifice that was required from league staff, club staff, matchday employees, ownership groups and fans to complete the 2020 season, and they recognize that this impact will continue to be felt by all as the 2021 season gets under way. Today’s proposal will allow players, fans and the entire MLS community to get back to the crucial business of building this league for the years and decades ahead. A work stoppage at this time and in this environment would be catastrophic for the standing of MLS, both domestically and internationally. It is our sincere hope that it can be avoided. Players are ready to play.