MLS players have voted to ratify an amended collective bargaining agreement (CBA) after the league and the union avoided a lockout by striking a deal that runs through the 2027 season.
“MLS players have made incredible sacrifices and overcome considerable challenges in the past year to continue doing their jobs during a difficult time for all of us,” the Major League Soccer Players Association said of the new MLS CBA in a statement Monday. “We owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to our player leadership for continuing to guide us during these unprecedented times.”
Statement on MLS Players’ Ratification Vote: https://t.co/Gqk3Ft50Iz
Players are ready to play. pic.twitter.com/y03JzafjV4
— MLSPA (@MLSPA) February 8, 2021
The agreement reached Friday night gives the players their full salaries this season and extends the current CBA for two seasons. The union had proposed a one-year extension through 2026. Additional details about the deal were not immediately disclosed.
Don't be surprised if the first dates of training camp (Feb. 22) and the regular season (April 3) are pushed back a bit. Nothing official yet, but the labor negotiations did put a hold on some aspects of league business.
— Steven Goff (@SoccerInsider) February 8, 2021
The league had invoked a force majeure clause in late December to reopen negotiations over the current CBA, citing ongoing uncertainty because of the COVID-19 crisis.
Major League Soccer has said it lost nearly $1 billion last season, due in part to the pandemic as teams played in mostly empty stadiums and with increased costs for testing and charter flights. The league said it expects similar losses this year.
The union and the league had two difficult negotiations last year – one in February before the start of the season and a second in June when players took a pay cut in order to resume the 2020 season.
The new agreement was also subject to approval by the MLS Board of Governors.