MLS, MLSPA agree on new CBA to run through 2024 season

                                                                                                                                                                                                   
  • Seattle Sounders captain Nicolas Lodeiro, right, lifts the MLS Cup trophy as he celebrates with teammates after the Sounders defeated Toronto FC in the MLS Cup championship soccer match in Seattle. Major League Soccer and its players have reached a new five-year collective bargaining agreement in time for the start of the season. The new contract must be approved by the MLS Board of Governors and the membership of the Major League Soccer Players Association.

    Seattle Sounders captain Nicolas Lodeiro, right, lifts the MLS Cup trophy as he celebrates with teammates after the Sounders defeated Toronto FC in the MLS Cup championship soccer match in Seattle. Major League Soccer and its players have reached a new five-year collective bargaining agreement in time for the start of the season. The new contract must be approved by the MLS Board of Governors and the membership of the Major League Soccer Players Association. Associated Press

 
 
Updated 2/6/2020 6:52 PM

Three weeks before the Major League Soccer season opens, the league and the MLS Players Association announced Thursday they have agreed to a new collective bargaining agreement.

"Through this work and our solidarity, we have been able to reach an agreement that will provide players with greater rights and increased compensation," said Jeff Larentowicz, a former Chicago Fire player and a MLSPA executive board member in a union statement, "and will ensure that the league's resources continue to be used to create a league of choice for players both on and off the field."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The agreement ends the possibility of a strike by the players.

"This agreement addresses key strategic priorities for the league and our players while also retaining the basic player compensation structure that has been the foundation for the growth and stability of Major League Soccer," added MLS commissioner Don Garber in a league statement.

The agreement reached in principle runs through Jan. 31, 2025. It will raise the minimum annual salary for senior roster players to $109,200 in 2024 and the salary cap to $11,643,000. The players also will for the first time share in TV revenue, starting in 2023 and 2024.

The agreement also includes greater use of charter flights for teams, which previously were capped at three a season. Teams will be required to use charters for eight legs of flight a season this season, 16 by 2024. Clubs also will be required to charter flights to MLS Cup and CONCACAF Champions League international games.

Players with five or more years in the league will be eligible for free agency after age 24. The league will continue to have designated players.

"Players have secured an agreement that will substantially change what it means to be an MLS player," said Bob Foose, MLSPA executive director. " ... We believe that the sweeping changes and increased investment in this agreement will not only be integral to the league's continued growth, but will also move MLS closer to the systems in place in overseas leagues with which we aspire to compete."

The Fire opens the MLS season March 1 at Seattle.

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