MLS lockout looms as negotiations reach stalemate

Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Major League Baseball isn’t the only big North American sports league that is in the throes of labor unrest. It’s even worse with soccer. 

Major League Soccer (MLS) is on the verge of a potential lockout as the league and its players’ union have reached a stalemate in negotiations, as first reported by ESPN

On Sunday, the players’ union accepted a counteroffer to the league in a vote on economic concessions for the 2020 season, Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) modifications, and their agreement to participate in a summer tournament in Orlando. 

Play has been halted since March 12 due to the coronavirus outbreak, just two weeks into its campaign.

But the MLS is reportedly not willing to budge from its previous proposal, which is headlined by a disagreement of a force majeure that would allow either party to back out of the CBA during a calamitous event such as a pandemic.

The league proposed it should be able to invoke the clause if five teams suffer an attendance drop of 25% or more from the previous season. The players did not include that in their counter offer. 

Another glaring point of contention is salary reductions that the players will experience. MLS wanted to enforce a pay cut of 8.75% rather than the players’ proposed number of 7.5%. 

Per ESPN soccer analyst Herculez Gomez, the league has given the players until noon Tuesday to accept their final proposal. If they don’t, the players will be locked out.