Major league soccer players face salary cut

Ross Houston
June 2, 2020

Minnesota United players didn't participate in voluntary workouts Monday at the team's Blaine training facility, while a reported Tuesday deadline looms for MLS and its players to reach an agreement that would resume a season suspended since March.

The two sides have been engaged in negotiations over the past several weeks after MLS shut down on March 12 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The proposal, made public by the union on Sunday night, was sent back to the league for approval by team owners.

"While a hard vote in incredibly challenging times, it was taken collectively to ensure that players can return to competition as soon as they are safely able to do so", the players union said.

Because games will be played for the foreseeable future without fans in the stands, MLS clubs are going to see a heavy reduction in income. Teams must follow a strict protocol, as well as local public health and government restrictions. Not all the teams have returned to training.

The sticking points involve the inclusion of a force majeure clause which is tied to attendance in 2021, the size of player pay cuts across the board for 2020, and changes to a revenue-sharing plan related to a new broadcast rights deal that will begin in 2023.

Before proposing a CBA extension, the union's previous proposal already called for $100 million in concessions.

Now under consideration for the restart is to take all 26 MLS teams to Orlando, Florida, for a tournament in late June, making it the first major professional league in the U.S. or Canada to return to play. Details were not immediately available.

MLS and the players' union agreed to terms of a new contract in early February, but it had not been ratified when the season was put on hold.

MLS players have approved taking part in a summer tournament in Orlando, agreeing to a "package of economic concessions" for the revamped 2020 season in the process.

Multiple sources told ESPN that the breakthrough came as MLS backed down from having aforce majeure clause tied to attendance, and instead opted for an MLSPA proposal that used a more industry-standard approach patterned after the National Basketball Association.

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