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looks like a new CBA has been agreed


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http://www.cbc.ca/sports/soccer/story/2010/03/20/sp-mls-labour.html

Major League Soccer and its players called a joint news conference for Saturday and were near agreement on a five-year contract that would avoid a strike scheduled for next week, a person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press.

The sides were working on finalizing details, the person said, speaking on condition of anonymity because the announcement had not been made.

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I suppose this should be considered unequivocably to be good news, although in a perverse sort of way a strike might have done TFC good since our roster appears to be shrinking as it gets closer to the season, rather than getting up to full strength. ;)

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no boubt Gian-Luca

TFC is in trouble right now. on week away and they have that small of a squad, really whats going on there? im tired of hearing them say "we have a few trailists training with us" I sure hope so because with that squad TFC has they dont have even have enough players to pla a training match.

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According to a tweet by Steven Goff of the Washington Post there will be no more developmental contracts and the league minimum will be $40k.

http://twitter.com/SoccerInsider

According to Pat Onstad guaranteed contracts will increase from about 38% to 56%:-

“There were monumental changes,” Onstad said. “The biggest thing is when teams don’t want a player or decide not to pick up the option, that player now has an opportunity to go on the waiver wire twice, essentially.

“Another big issue for us was getting guarantees. Now well over 50 percent of our players will play under guaranteed contracts. That was real big for us, and I think the league understood that.”

According to the union, before the deal only about 38 percent of the players had guaranteed deals.

“With the players in the league now, we’re looking at 56-57 percent with guaranteed contracts, so a little over half,” Onstad said.

Jeff Carlisle of ESPN reveals some more details:-

http://soccernet.espn.go.com/columns/story?id=758937&sec=mls&root=mls&cc=4716

Multiple union sources who asked not to be identified added more detail, indicating that players who are aged 24 or higher, and who have three years or more of service in MLS will have guaranteed deals. In terms of unilateral contracts, the gains seemed minor, and the thresholds are slightly higher. Players 25 years of age or older with at least four years of MLS experience can have no more than two unilateral options written into their contract. The union was also able to extract some concessions in terms of wages although neither side would reveal how much.

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^^ There seem to be some good clauses that not only will be much better for the players, should also improve the level of play in the league. It seems at least a step towards removing what I think has always been the weakness of MLS in having very unbalanced teams with highly paid top players surrounded by a cast of poorly paid less skilled players who often aren't of the level to perform with the better players.

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Not a lot of details yet so I guess we'll find out more how much this new CBA changes things for MLS in the near future. Couple of thoughts based on the little we really know at this point.

Union didn't exactly win this one but they are seeing improvements so they should be happy. That's the way these things work, one contract at a time but to my mind, unless there is a significant increase in the salary cap, that is to say well above natural inflation, a 5 year deal is a mistake (although the timing isn't so bad when the CBA comes up for renewal).

The areas where the league moved maybe isn't exactly generous as it might seem. Even the "guaranteed" contract issue. Seems the league is just recognizing an already existing reality. Older players with experience and a bit of quality can leverage that experience & quality into a guaranteed contract. Still, fair enough that the condition applies through the collective agreement now.

Teams retaining a players league rights even after being released from their contract (outright release or completion of services) has been looking sort of hollow for the most part. I'd dare to say there is a friendly agreement off the books between the clubs and the players (along with other clubs) not to be overly stern in applying this prerogative. Those typical 4th round draft picks or a bit of allocation money for a players rights isn't exactly surrendering the crown jewels is it? But still, good job in setting up another alternative for acquiring player rights.

MLS HQ still has final say on player contracts, more a safety valve than anything, would dare to say the clubs mostly write up the contracts now and expect them to be rubber stamped in New York. Mostly, and with all the big money owners coming in over the years (and into the future) I expect that will be more and more the case going forward. And on that thought...

"MLS was founded on the principle that our owners would not be competing against each other for a player's services," Garber said.

Yikes. I hope that Mr Garber instantly wished he could take those words back as soon as they left his mouth. True or not, maybe not the best way of expressing the idea or entirely relevant in the MLS of 2010. At least one would hope not.

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^Well, there were accusations aplenty that the union was only acting in the interests of the older, American players and not genuinely concerned with the plight of the development players who were earning below the poverty line. The initial details that are emerging of the new CBA should hopefully prompt those sceptics to offer some form of apology to Pat Onstad, Kasey Keller, et al.

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More from Steven Goff of the Washington Post:-

http://twitter.com/SoccerInsider/status/10793932679

More unconfirmed CBA rumblings: Rosters remain at 24, salary cap going up slightly ($200,000?)

So the development roster spots are now effectively senior roster ones with a total of 24 available and the salary cap is now around $2.5 million

Edit: Soccer America has subsequently provided more details:-

http://www.socceramerica.com/article/37335/behind-the-scenes-of-cba-negotiations.html

For 2010, the salary cap will be $2.55 million per team (it was $2.32 million in 2009) and the minimum salary for non-developmental players is $40,000 ($34,000 in 2009). Each will increase at a basic five percent per year, though for older players the minimum will be greater. At that growth rate, the salary cap will be approximately $3.1 million in the final year of the CBA, and the minimum will be slightly more than $46,000.

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Another snippet from Steven Goff is that teams are allowed two homegrown players over and above the 24 man roster. That could be very good news for TFC Academy players:-

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/soccerinsider/2010/03/najar_signs_with_dc_united.html

As homegrown players, Najar and Bill Hamid, an academy goalkeeper who signed last fall.....

will not count against the 24-player roster limit and are eligible for all competitions, United officials said. The homegrown roster rule is incentive for clubs to develop their own talent. Each club is permitted two homegrown exemptions.

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The official CBA press release:-

http://blogs.thescore.com/footyblog/2010/03/23/cba-details-press-release/

PRESS RELEASE

NEW YORK (Tuesday, March 23, 2010) – Following Saturday’s announcement of a new collective bargaining agreement between Major League Soccer (MLS) and the MLS Players Union (Players Union), the League today announced key elements of the five-year agreement.

Under the new collective bargaining agreement, player salaries are guaranteed to increase each year league-wide, and the individual minimum player salaries also will continue to grow. The new agreement also includes improvements to players’ quality of life such as meals, hotel accommodations, reimbursement for relocation costs and player appearances.

The agreement is subject to the approval of the MLS Board of Governors and the membership of the Players Union.

The following are the key points agreed to by MLS and the Players Union in their new five-year collective bargaining agreement:

  • TERM: 2010 – 2014.

  • GUARANTEED CONTRACTS: The CBA provides for guaranteed contracts for all players who are at least 24 years old with three years of MLS service. The majority of the players in the League will have guaranteed contracts each season.

· SALARY BUDGET: An increase of the salary budget from $2.315 million per club in 2009 to $2.55 million in 2010 (10.15%) and an increase of 5% per year thereafter.

· An increase of the minimum salary for senior roster players from $34,000 in 2009 to $40,000 in 2010 (17.64%) and an increase of 5% per year thereafter.

  • PLAYER MOVEMENT: While there will be no bidding by MLS clubs against each other for out-of-contract players, the League will establish a “re-entry draft” for players who are out of contract. Although the specific parameters of that draft are being finalized, it will address players in each of the following categories:

  • Option Not Exercised

A player who is at least 23 years old with three years of MLS service and whose option is not exercised will be placed in a re-entry draft and made available to all clubs at his option salary.

  • Contract Terminated

A player who is at least 22 years old with one year of MLS service and who is asked to take a pay cut after contract termination will be placed in a re-entry draft and made available to all clubs at his current salary.

  • Contract Expires

A player who is at least 30 years old with eight years of MLS service and whose contract has expired will be placed in a re-entry draft unless his team makes him a qualified offer that must be at least 105% of his last salary. If placed in the re-entry draft, the player will be made available to all clubs at a salary equal to 105% of his last salary.

A player who is at least 25 years of age with at least four years of MLS service whose contract has expired will be placed in a re-entry draft unless his team offers him a base salary of at least as much as the base salary paid to him in the last year of his contract. If placed in the re-entry draft, the player will be made available to all clubs at a salary equal to the salary in the final year of his contract.

  • OPTIONS IN PLAYER CONTRACTS: A limit on the number of options in player contracts to two for players who are at least 25 years old with four years of MLS service. Contracts for all other players may have up to three options.

  • For players whose annual compensation is less than $125,000, the minimum increase in base salary will be 10% for players who play in at least 66% of his club’s games and 12.5% for players who play in at least 75% of his club’s games.

· PLAYER BENEFITS: The CBA includes a package of benefits that include increases in 401K contributions by the League, appearance fees, per diem when travelling and relocation expense reimbursement. Among the additional player benefits in the CBA are full health care benefits for every player and his family at no cost, 401(k) contributions and expanded insurance benefits.

· BONUSES FOR WINS AND EXHIBITIONS: The CBA includes a package of bonuses for wins in MLS games and international tournaments as well as appearance fees for international exhibitions.

  • GROUP LICENSE: The League and Players Union reached agreement on an extension of the Group License that will run through 2015 (a year longer than the CBA).

  • RESERVE DIVISION: MLS and the Players Union will establish a joint committee to study the re-launch of a Reserve Division. In the event the rosters are expanded, the salary for those players will be a minimum of $31,250 with additional annual increases.

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