Tuesday, March 3, 2015

MLS Player Strike on Horizon

With teams looking to board planes Thursday for away games, Major League Soccer has about 24 hours from the time of this writing to get a deal done with the Players Union before the start of the season is pushed back.

From what I can gather, it's looking like the Union will instruct the players to strike. For how long is unclear but my guess is that it only lasts 4 to 8 weeks before it is settled. The major sticking point is Free Agency and MLS investors seems unwilling to budge much at the moment and players really want it.

Even though they are becoming extinct everywhere else, union labor disputes at the professional sports level are not unusual in the US. What makes MLS unique is that it is part of a global game with the top levels of it readily available at your finger tips. EPL, Bundesliga, LigaMX, La Liga, Serie A and more will all benefit a little if MLS has a work stoppage.

I don't think a strike hurts the overall game in the US or the rest of North America as the momentum is already there for pro soccer to survive. For the fan of domestic soccer - NASL, LigaMX and even USL stand ready to carry on even if MLS shuts down for an entire year.

A strike does, however, slow down the momentum MLS had. This hurts both the investors and players. We'll see how it plays out. Ultimately, a strike is sort of a futile exercise for the league. Greater change is needed in MLS - and that change comes in the form of the courts. Until the players realize they have greater powers as individuals in today's legal world - we will be right back here in a few years for the next CBA.

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