MLS, MLSPA agree to new CBA

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MLS and the MLS players’ association (MLSPA) have agreed to a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) which will run through the 2024 Major League Soccer season.

The CBA will run from Feb. 1, 2020 through Jan. 31, 2025 and it is widely believed that the players are the big winners here as MLS gets set for its 25th anniversary.

With MLS growing to 26 teams for the 2020 season as Inter Miami and Nashville SC join the party, Austin FC, Sacramento Republic, St. Louis and Charlotte will all be arriving in the next few years to take MLS to 30 teams by 2022. There is perhaps a realization that the league is willing to share some of the extra wealth coming into the league by adding so many new teams with huge expansion fees paid.

Some of the big wins for players include a share of media revenue for the first time in history, plus extra charter flights per season and expanded free agency.

“Players have secured an agreement that will substantially change what it means to be an MLS player,” said Executive Director of the MLSPA Bob Foose in a statement. “Over the past two years, we have engaged in a substantive, comprehensive negotiation process with the league. We believe that the sweeping changes and increased investment in this agreement will not only be integral to the league’s continued growth, but will also move MLS closer to the systems in place in overseas leagues with which we aspire to compete.”

MLS Commissioner Don Garber hailed the CBA as an agreement which “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.” Garber added that the agreement will “serve as the foundation for a new era of partnership with our players.”

Digging a little deeper into the details, this CBA will see increases in salary budget, General Allocation Money and performance bonuses for players with clubs able to spend $11,643,000 in 2024 on players compared to $8,490,000 in 2019. The minimum annual salary for senior roster players will increase each season to $109,200 in 2024.

Targeted Allocation Money (TAM) is a thing of the past as that $1.2 million per season for each club has been converted to GAM and may be used across the entire roster. In terms of travel, charter flights are up from four legs to at least eight per club for 2020 and that will grow to 16 legs for the 2024 campaign. All clubs in the MLS Cup playoffs and playing in CCL games outside of their own country are required to arrange charter flights.

The criteria for free agency has also changed with as players aged 24 years or older who have five years of service in MLS will bee eligible. Previously players had to be 28 years old with eight years of service. DPs and other players making above the maximum salary budget will also be available for free agency based on ‘specific guidelines’ adds MLS.