MLS discusses upcoming CBA talks

MLS discusses upcoming CBA talks

  • Posted by Drew Epperley
  • On August 6, 2014
  • CBA Discussions

One big topic of conversation yesterday with MLS Deputy Commissioner Mark Abbott was centered around the upcoming CBA discussions with the players. The current CBA runs out at the end of this season and the two sides will have to come together on a new deal before the start of the 2015 season. That window will be awfully short compared to the last go around in 2010 that nearly saw a work stoppage.

“The CBA is about investing in players,” said Abbott. “Those discussions sometimes will be about in what way will you invest in players or how much will you invest in players. Those are discussions we will have to have. Obviously, we can’t make any final decisions about investments until all of that is done.

“We’re not going into it looking for a work stoppage. That’s not our plan. It’s nobody’s desire. It’s nobody’s objective. I think it’s way premature to be talking about anything like that. First, I would say that we have a good partnership with our players and our players’ association, and we talk a lot to them about a lot of things. I think in the last CBA, we were able to resolve a lot of issues that made life better for our players. I think that helped with some of the flashpoints that we had.”

There really hasn’t been a ton discussed up until now about a new CBA. We’d expect a salary cap raise of some sort with two new teams coming in but the amount is still pretty undetermined at this point according to the league.

“Over time, we’re going to continue to invest more and more in players,” explained Abbott. “And I think we’ve shown that consistently. So there is no specific formula that I can give you, but we recognize the continuing importance of growing the product on the field. And there are different ways to go about that. I have not specific approach other than to say that I think we’ve shown in the last couple of years the continuing desire to invest in the players and that’s not going to go away.”

The league and players are arguably in a much better position than they were before the last CBA discussions. There hasn’t been a ton of noise about what players want or need this time around as compared to last time. If you recall, last time there was a lot of noise for getting something in place to allow players to move from club to club easier when their contracts ran out. This created the Re-Entry draft that we’ve had these last couple of seasons. If anything we may see some improvements to that.

“In terms of the underlying facts, there are many good news stories that we have, and we continue to face financial challenges at both the league level and the team level,” said Abbott. “We will be very open with our players about that and we will be very clear about the financial condition of our teams and our league and clear about the type of investments we can make and clear about the type of investments that we can’t make. We don’t go into looking for a fight, and neither do they. We’ll see how it plays out.”

My one hope for the players is that they lobby for more transparency with how deals are announced with trades and what not. No one knows what allocation money means or how much is actually traded each time we see it mentioned in a press release. Then you have these random allocation lists and DP lists that are floating around. While I am all for protecting players in some senses, I do hope getting those little details out in the open will help things out a bit.