LOS ANGELES — It’s January, the month of the MLS calendar in which teams kick off preseason.
This year, it’s also the time for the MLS Players Association and Major League Soccer to come to an agreement on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement, after the last one recently expired. Negotiations are ongoing, but as teams prepare for the season ahead, the CBA will be a hot topic until a resolution and the parties come to an agreement.
Philadelphia Union midfielder Alejandro Bedoya is hopeful of a deal, and speaking to reporters at Banc of California Stadium Wednesday morning, the veteran gave a glimpse into the status of negotiations and what the union is looking for.
“We’ve got the new CBA coming too, there’s going to be improvements there as well, it’s 25 years [of MLS], I think it’s special for everyone who’s been involved from day one,” Bedoya said, at the announcement event to name Bodyarmor the official sports drink of MLS.
“I’m not going to get into too many specifics, as they are ongoing, but I will say the offers we’ve made as a union, as a players association, have been very reasonable with the growth and the numbers that we’ve seen the league have historically. So we just hope we can get a deal done before the season kicks off,” Bedoya added.
When asked what the top priorities were for the union this time around, with the notable change made in the last CBA being a new free agency system for veteran players, Bedoya mentioned free agency again, but it appears to be among several issues the MLSPA is targeting.
“Fair competition in terms of every team being able to access the same kind of dollars, whether that’s just cash or GAM, all these three-letter acronyms,” he explained. “Also increased transparency, free agency is big for us, let the players control over where they’re going to play, where they’re going to live, where they’re going to move their families. Increased transparency, too, let the clubs do more of the work. We want that to be something the clubs have more handle over, not really something that [the league in] New York is telling a team how to run.
“Also the increased investments in terms of salary caps, budgets and travel, as well. Those are all resources that we think need greater investment, and is just going to take the league even further.”
Another player, Montreal Impact goalkeeper Evan Bush, told Yahoo’s Doug McIntyre this week the MLSPA’s deadline for a possible work stoppage is Feb. 29, when the season is scheduled to kick off, Bedoya reiterated that deadline and also expressed optimism a deal would be done in time for the 25th season to begin without any stoppage.
“I’m confident, yes,” Bedoya noted. “Like I said, we’ve made very reasonable proposals. You never know, but there’s concessions on both sides, of course, that’s how negotiations work. But like I said we’ve made some very reasonable proposals that match up with the historical growth of the league and we definitely hope we can get it done before the season starts.”
What do you think? Leave a comment below!