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CPL Players' Union

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Found myself smirking a bit this AM.  Usually do when my mind wanders more than usual.

Curious, I find it, that during this unique period in our lives when collective responsibility, actions and expectations are being shared and shamed upon the Canadian peoples, by their duly elected governments and by themselves, that the idea of a players union would solicit any sort of negative reaction.  Maybe its just my eye.

Anywho...its a done deal, it's a union shop now.  Fully expect that everyone is going to be disappointed in the 1st collective agreement that'll be negotiated.  Some by the simple fact there is going to be one and others by the modesty of the content.  Quite sure it's going to entirely underwhelming, they usually are.   


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...meanwhile CanPL is in Canada which didn't nationalize key industries to the extent the UK did from the 1940s to the 1970s and avoided destroying its manufacturing base and using deliberately created mass unemployment as a tool for social engineering in the aftermath of that in the 1980s due to not having a prime minister that idolised Augusto Pinochet. Canada has generally managed to avoid taking things to ideological extremes by having a different type of party politics from the UK that doesn't revolve around an entrenched social class system.

The only problem I see with CanPL having a union is that however much this is said to not be about salaries it no doubt ultimately really is, because that will always be the issue that matters most to a pro level soccer player. CanPL wants to act like a big budget D1 when it suits the owners and a low budget USL style D2/D3 development league when it suits the owners. Launching a union so soon looks like the players way of saying you can't have your cake and eat it too.

Understandable that there would be resentment over burger flipping level salaries when there is so much talk about D1 level $200 million deals with Mediapro. However, the players need to realize that despite that sort of exagerated hype the league isn't anywhere close to being the Canadian version of MLS and actual paid attendance was clearly well below break even in most markets last year. All higher salaries would do at this point is create possibly unsustainable annual financial losses hence why treading lightly is an understatement. The cross-border comparisons made should be with what happens in USL.

Edited by Ozzie_the_parrot
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Looked like it from the start and now its clear..marcel de jong completely out of touch with reality..over and over talking about bundesliga and netherlands..and this paul champ guy ready to go to war..saying it could be costly for both sides..and pacific who didnt get back to de jong a couple days after he told them..seems like a complete lack of understanding that some owners are fighting for survival of their businesses and add that to some probably not being even close to break even last year and probably not getting a large amount of the projected revenue this season specially if played in empty stadiums or less home games..not looking good..the wrong voices in de jong's head


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Usually if a union or collective bargaining position gains widespread support, the other parties have made it easy. This is an indictment against the clubs and the league. A player who perceives the assistant marketing manager for a team drawing 4000 fans is making more than he is as a starter is bound to wonder about how a club is distributing its value.

The retrograde mentality of outgoing Beirne supports this perception, that there is more than meets the eye, and that disparity and perceived unfair practice is present.

 All leagues have players associations and some have collective agreements. Usually they do enter into negotiation on salary minimums, scheduling (Christmas or not, for example); many are active now on the question of player safety going back to training or playing with the pandemic still strong. I can say that in Spain, for example, they are usually just a piece in the puzzle, and not the most powerful; there is a reason for this.

In the powerful leagues, it is actually tv and sponsorship money driving salaries, so players rely on league negotiated tv contracts and club-negotiated sponsorship deals to ensure a generous base for salaries, only rivalled by leagues with a similar revenue structure. As you go down divisions, players are indeed more dependent on the league's and club's particularities, which would be the case here. 

Although CPL is a low level league with weak income base, it has an apparently strong tv deal, which undoubtably had made setting up the union easier. Even if you don't know how the pie is being divided up, you are not going to sit there in the dark while someone else is getting full on it.

The Spanish women's league recently signed a collective bargaining agreement, negotiating in a union format (there are actually more than one players associations). This was after actually striking one weekend and threatening to do so a number of times, after a long negotiation. It is really bare bones regardless, but does establish some minimums, like a salary minimum (very low), ensuring players have full year-round social security coverage (even if contracts are not 12 month), including full medical, and also establishing raises for seniority.

Mediapro actually helped broker the women's deal in Spain by putting a few more millon euros on the table, as a sort of "gift" in fact, just to make it viable for the clubs to agree--they are a forward looking enterprise. This means they would not, in principle, be against the union in CPL. At Madrid was also in favour of the deal for their women, partiallly because as a bigger club, they met all the minimums anyways. Of course At Madrid are in for a longer-term investment too and can weather the current mess, for them it is a minor question financially. Other CPL clubs might be in more dire circumstances even with the Mediapro money.

My perception is that CPL clubs with an intelligent business mentality who are able to be somewhat transparent and not bunker down, will do better in the long term, as they will be able to attract better players. While those acting in antagonistic fashion will hurt themselves. 

Regardless, you have to remember that in a league with a salary cap, a collective action by players has very limited effectivity. It will likely limit the sort of salary negotiation that would favour a few players over the majority (yes, De Jong for example would be making less). It might tend towards what would actually benefit the CPL, a league with salaries that are tiered although without major discrepancies between categories or levels.

Edited by Unnamed Trialist
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  • 1 month later...

USL will be returning to the field in July, and at home stadiums not one or two central locations. Some of their teams will even have fans in attendance at some level, so paying for no play will not happen anyway and they knew this going in, not like a majority of their owners have deep pockets.


Edited by CDNFootballer
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  • 4 months later...
  • 1 year later...
13 minutes ago, CanadaFan123 said:

Excellent and spot-on thread on the issue of the players union and the potentially negative implications for the league (and CanMNT).

Thanks for that.

I was actually thinking about that too.

Some players are actually being exposed as not good enough for the CPL. Yet anytime one of them retires the trope is that the league doesn't pay enough.

I want the salaries to increase too. But that will also mean some current players may be pushed out by better players who finally decide to come back.

Edited by narduch
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