BOSTON (CBS) - The MLS season, set to get underway this weekend, is no longer in jeopardy.
Up until Wednesday night, Major League Soccer was operating without a collective bargaining agreement, after the previous one ended on January 31st.
The main issue between the players union and the league was free agency and minimum salaries, but a compromise on those issues and others were reached last night according to Julie Stewart-Binks of FOX Sports.
Here are the main points of the new CBA:
It's a five-year deal
The owners originally wanted an eight-year deal to coincide with the same length of their new TV deal, but the players union was successful in negotiating what they felt was fair.
Minimum Salaries Increased 64%
The lowest-earning MLS player will now take home $60,000 annually, a 64 percent increase from the old CBA ($36,500). This new figure still looks small compared to other professional sports leagues, which is one reason why the players union was adamant about sticking to a five-year CBA length. When the league grows in five years they'll ask for a bigger piece of the pie, and won't have to wait the extra three years that the owners originally desired.
Score this aspect as a win for the owners, because the players were reportedly very close to striking if some form of free agency wasn't implemented.
Players ages 28 and older and who have been in MLS for eight years or more can enter free agency. Free agent costs will be determined by a tiered system.
- Players earning more than $200,000 will be limited to a 15% increase from their previous contract
- Players earning between $100,000 - $200,000 eligible for 20% raise
- Players earning $100,000 or less eligible for 25% raise
Now that the dust has settled from the negotiations, MLS fans can sleep easy knowing the season is no longer in peril.
Here in Boston, the Revolution open the season Sunday night in Seattle to take on the Supporters' Shield-winning Sounders. You can listen to that game on 98.5 The Sports Hub starting at 9:30pm!
98.5 The Sports Hub is the flagship radio station of the New England Revolution! Listen to the Revs all season long right here on the Hub!
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