Major League Soccer and the MLS Players Association announced a tentative agreement on a new collective bargaining agreement on Friday, a key step toward training camps possibly opening later this month.
ESPN reported that the union’s executive board and bargaining committee backed the agreement by a 24-11 vote. The next step would be approval of a simple majority when the players vote. Balloting could happen by Saturday.
The league’s Board of Governors would then need to add its approval, which is expected.
The last point of contention, according to multiple reports, was the length of the CBA. The league wanted — and received — seven years. The players wanted the agreement to end before the 2026 World Cup, to be played in the United States, Mexico and Canada, while the league wanted extra years to limit salary-cap increases, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Friday’s agreement, the third to be negotiated in the last 13 months, improves salaries and free agency considerations for the players, per multiple media outlets.
The first of the negotiations yielded an agreement in February 2020, but it never received ratification before the pandemic struck, with the league threatening to lock out players if they did not grant concessions.
The second pact allowed either side to demand a redo in the event of a catastrophic event, and the league invoked that clause in December. The 30-day deadline to reach a new agreement which was triggered by that clause was twice extended.
Camps are scheduled to open Feb. 22, and the season is to start in early April.
–Field Level Media