- Posted by Drew Epperley
- On January 7, 2015
- 1 Comments
The offseason has been rather quiet on the CBA front here.
Major League Soccer’s current collective bargaining agreement expires on Jan. 31 and the new season starts on March 6. Both the league and the players union are saying all the right things that would make you think the season will begin on time. A report from ESPNFC.com suggests that the main issues the players are looking to improve this winter are salary (duh) and free agency (double duh).
In terms of the salary issue, the MLSPU’s primary aim is to raise salaries for those at the lower and middle areas of the pay scale. When the first round of 2014 salary figures was released by the MLSPU last April, the average salary was $207,831, but the mean was $91,827.
The salary issue is one where there can be considerable give and take however, and it seems likely some sort of middle ground will ultimately be reached. It is free agency that will ultimately determine whether there is a work stoppage or not.
At present both sides are sticking to their respective starting positions on the issue of player movement. Abbott contends the league needs cost certainty, a curious statement when one considers that the salary cap — as flexible as it is sometimes with the shenanigans occasionally surrounding Designated Players — would appear to do plenty to keep costs under control.
The free agency side of things is something that could be the biggest deal breaker of them all. Players know they won’t get an out-right free agency system like in the NFL, NBA, etc., but will likely have to settle for some form of free agency for players that play a certain number of games or have been in the league a certain number of years.
“MLS is built on those players who have earned their way through the league,” said Dunivant. “Free agency takes the onus off paying players who are not proven and who are not a sure commodity in this league. That’s the system now, to squeeze the player that has done well in the league so that you can go and spend that money on new resources on say 10 players and hope three work out. We don’t think that’s a good model going forward.”
The league disagrees with this, naturally. Something about single entity structure and what not. The entire article is worth a read if you haven’t checked it out yet.