CBA preserves 2010 season for MLS
The MLS and its players union came to an agreement Saturday on a new collective bargaining agreement that ensures games will be played through the 2014 season.
After two days of talks, both sides reached satisfaction and the looming strike was cancelled, allowing the first game between the expansion Philadelphia Union and the Seattle Sounders to take place at its originally scheduled time Thursday.
The union’s goal of allowing free agency was turned down, however, as all players will remain under contract from the big boss, the MLS. Players do have more rights under the agreement, and signing players will be given those same rights, but it will be no easier to get out of or renegotiate a contract.
Clubs in Europe facing financial woes have the opportunity to sell players to interested clubs to boost their revenue, even if the player is under contract. European players generally have much more freedom to pursue better offers they might receive from other teams.
This is not the case in the MLS, even though only two clubs turned a profit last season. MLS commissioner Don Garber feels his league will make more money by keeping fans coming to see big names than by selling players outright to different leagues. I wonder how much David Moyes would have spent to keep Landon Donovan at Everton.
According to the MLS Web site, the agreement also includes a higher minimum salary for players. The previous agreement set its minimum at $34,000.
Let’s just hope that the MLS, which pays the players, is taking care of star players such as Brian Ching and Donavan, both who have stayed loyal to the MLS rules and their clubs.
With all politics aside, there will be a 2010 season after all, and it will start on time. For players, this is what is most important. While going on strike to send a message to the MLS that it needs to take better care of its players could have accomplished something eventually, the wait would have done nothing for the league or American soccer.
It’s not growing as fast as some would like, but at least we have a season’s worth of quality soccer to look forward to. For now, it is up to the players to perform their best and for fans to pack the stadiums of their home teams.