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MLS and players union strike collective bargaining agreement
Deal raises salaries, expands free agency
Published Thursday, February 6, 2020 11:25 am
by Herbert L. White | The Charlotte Post

Major League Soccer and its players union have reached a labor deal that expands club spending on players and free agency eligibility.

Major League Soccer and its players will have labor peace for five more years.

MLS and the Major League Soccer Players Association announced a deal in principle on a new collective bargaining agreement that starts with the 2020 season. The agreement is subject to approval of the MLS Board of Governors and the players association.

“As we prepare to celebrate our 25th season, we are very pleased to finalize a new five-year Collective Bargaining Agreement with our players,” MLS Commissioner Don Garber said in a statement. “This agreement addresses key strategic priorities for the league and our players while also retaining the basic player compensation structure that has been the foundation for the growth and stability of Major League Soccer. We had constructive, positive discussions with the leadership of the MLSPA and the players’ bargaining committee during the negotiations over the last few months and I would like to thank them for their collaboration in concluding an agreement that will serve as the foundation for a new era of partnership with our players.”

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The deal, reached three weeks before the 2020 season kicks off, includes:

• More investment in player spending per club from $8.4 million in 2019 to $11.6 million in 2024.  The minimum annual salary for senior roster players jumps to $109,200 in 2024 and 401(k) contribution and other benefits also will increase with the new CBA.

• Expanded flexibility for teams to use financial resources across the entire roster. Under the new CBA, $1.2 million annually will be converted to general allocation money for use across the entire roster.  

• Players will get a share of the league’s media rights deals for the first time starting with the 2023 and 2024 seasons. MLS will increase player spending by an amount equal to 25% of the increased media revenue above what's generated by the league in 2022 plus $100 million. The current media deal ends in 2022.

• Charter flight requirements. Teams will be required to use charter aircraft for eight legs during the 2020 regular season, and expands to growing to 16 legs for the 2024 season.

Under the previous guidelines, teams could opt to use charters for up to four leagues per season. Teams will be required to charter air travel for all MLS playoff matches and Concacaf Champions League games that require international flights.

• Expansion of free agency. Eligibility now includes players who are at least 24 years of age and have five years of MLS service in MLS. In the previous CBA, players who were at least 28 years old with eight years of service were eligible.  

• Clubs still have the right to sign up to three designated players under the new agreement.


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