After the new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) was agreed by MLS and the MLS Players Union on Wednesday, just two days before the start of the season, it’s fair to say MLS commish Don Garber is a relieved man.
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Garber, who leads the league as it enters its 20th season in 2015, spoke with ESPN about the CBA negotiations as he hailed all parties coming together.
“It required a lot of hard work and commitment from our players, the Players Union, league owners all coming together to capture this lighting in a bottle we have and build the momentum we have been able to achieve over the past 20 years,” Garber said. “Every time you have CBA negotiations between players and management, there are so many different issues. Everybody is trying to create an agreement that allows everybody to feel good. In this case, the players feel good. They got more movement than they had before and more than we probably thought we would provide when this league was launched. They will make more money and have more benefits.”
As for the owners, Garber believes they also benefited from the new CBA deal and touched on the free agency aspect.
“Our owners will have stability and a system that will allow them to invest very smartly and strategically into making this one of the best soccer league’s in the world,” Garber said. “It [free agency] gives players the opportunity to have a bit more choice, to pick some markets at a certain age that they might want to play in and to be able to make a bit more money than they were able to in the previous system. It also allows our league to capture some of the exciting moments that come with that. If you think about ‘the stove top’ and the fantasy programs and all the preseason buzz, that’s something that we hope to be able to achieve.
“We love our players and appreciate all they have done and they appreciate our owners have invested many billions of dollars into MLS. We are all working hard to continue this growth pattern and changes that have come in during this new system are something the players have achieved and I applaud them for that.”
What do you think of Garber’s comments?
Earlier here at PST, we asked you who won, if anybody, in the CBA battle. Did the league or the players prevail?