On Friday the 2015 Major League Soccer season is set to kick off.
However the Major League Soccer’s Players Union (MLSPU) and MLS are still locked in talks, with little progress being made, as the negotiations regarding a new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) is going down to the wire.
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An update first arrived on Tuesday, as a source has confirmed to ProSoccerTalk that the MLSPU and league officials are still locked in discussions and are failing to make progress on key issues as the 2015 season kicks off in just over 72 hours time.
Later on Tuesday more information arrived, as MLS owners present at the latest set of meetings aren’t willing to budge on the issues regarding free agency as they suggest that only players who are 32 years old and have given the same club 10 years of service would be able to choose where they could be traded to. MLS players want much more than that, as the situation seems to be careering towards a work stoppage and the start of the 2015 MLS season is in serious doubt.
With reigning champions LA Galaxy hosting the Chicago Fire in the season opener on Friday at 10 p.m. ET at StubHub Center, on Wednesday Chicago checked in at the airport and set off on their journey to California despite no agreement being reached.
MLS and the MLSPU are still said to be trying hard to come to an agreement, but the clock is ticking and the threat of the players being locked out by owners is increasing as the CBA negotiations continue.
Plenty of other teams are set to embark for away games on Thursday, but teams will not travel if a new CBA deal isn’t arranged before then. Reports suggest that Wednesday evening is the hard deadline for knowing whether or not this dispute will be solved and a strike averted for the start of the 2015 season. Another report also claims that mediator Scot Beckenbaugh, who was appointed by both sides to try and end the dispute, has only just started to mediate as the clock continue to tick.
Tuesday was the last of three days of scheduled meetings in Washington as several players, league officials and, for the first time during these talks, club owners, have all met to try and agree on a deal which will save MLS from having its first-ever work stoppage in the league’s 20-year history.
It is believed that the afternoon session on Tuesday was crucial to deciding which way the talks will veer, as players are understood to have given up some demands on key issues and are now waiting for the league to follow suit.