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Crisis averted, there won’t be an MLS lockout

(Assuming all the final details are wrapped up).

SOCCER: DEC 22 Concacaf Champions League Final - LAFC v Tigres Photo by Joe Petro/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

MLS and the MLS Players Association came to a tentative agreement Friday night on a new collective bargaining agreement, to run through the 2027 season, which heads off the prospect of the league owners enforcing a lockout ahead of the 2021 season.

After extending the deadline more than once to negotiate, the league had rattled their sabers this week and threatened they were comfortable executing a lockout, which in other sports has wiped out entire seasons. MLS has never had a lockout or labor-related player strike in its history.

In exchange for the new CBA being extended through 2027 at the owners’ demand, the players will reportedly receive more favorable free agency terms and some improved financial terms that they relinquished during the coronavirus pandemic last year.

The CBA saga has been a surprisingly ongoing discussion for the past year. The last cycle of the CBA concluded at the end of 2019, and the parties agreed to a new CBA just before the start of the 2020 season. But they never fully ratified the agreement before the shutdown. So the league demanded a renegotiation to restart the season, which they managed to do, with many of the players’ gains from the original 2020 CBA being rolled back or put out further in the future.

You may have thought the summer 2020 CBA was the end of the story, nope, that’s how we ended up here. MLS owners demanded another CBA this offseason, which players did not want to deal with. But the threat of a lockout brought them to the negotiating table.

So the deal is not done-done yet, because it needs to be ratified by the MLSPA membership and the MLS owners. But this time, the players are trying to get their end done this weekend, and hopefully once that’s done, we don’t have to think about this for a good long while. Not because CBAs aren’t important — they’re very important! But I don’t know about you, I was not looking forward to an interminable lockout.

So this is good news! LAFC’s season is scheduled to start in April, with preseason slated to open on or around Feb. 22. Let’s get it.

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