The MLS players have been pretty open about their willingness to strike if they don’t get what they want from labor discussions with Major League Soccer, and one of the key areas is free agency.
And if you believe the words from Real Salt Lake owner Dell Loy Hansen on local radio last night, you probably want to prepare for a work stoppage in MLS.
[ MORE: Geoff Cameron on CBA discussions ]
Hansen said nothing’s going to change, and it implies that it’s an impossibility.
From RSL Soapbox, here’s Hansen:
“That’s a ‘go-nowhere’ conversation. When you look at all the owners, they’ve all been in pro basketball, baseball, football, and that was the one thing they all vowed they’d never do is go through that again.
“They’ve tried it twice, it’s been defeated by the courts. It’s just a foolish place to waste time. If that’s still open, it’s just foolish.
“The rest, there’s some great agreement everyone can reach, but every time I read ‘we’re going to work on free agency,’ well, you know, that’s one of those real waste-of-time conversations. I think everyone’s very intense on it. I know that the league and the owners are seriously looking at that.”
Obviously, there’s nothing impossible about changing policy, but the owners have to come with strong words about their single entity ownership. But players want to be able to choose their destination a little more freely at some point. Owners want it closer to pre-Curt Flood.
Seems like we could be headed for that sort of standstill that has socked other leagues, especially the NHL and MLB, in the face so many times.