Tag Archive | "MLS collective bargaining agreement"

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MLS players union ratifies agreement, releases terms

Posted on 04 May 2010 by ASN Staff

The Major League Soccer Players Union announced today, May 4, that its members had ratified the agreement with the league. Most of the terms of the agreement were released in fits and starts since the two sides agreed to a deal on March 20. The one new item is that the “joint labor-management committee will be formed to study the re-launch of a
reserve division.” (see below)

The union’s player-only bargaining committee unanimously recommended the ratification of the
agreement to all MLS players. The players recently completed voting on the agreement, with 84% voting in favor of
ratification.

“We are pleased to announce that our members have ratified the agreement,” said Bob Foose, the Union’s Executive
Director. “The process of negotiating this agreement was long and challenging, but we were able to make real
improvements for players, and we look forward to turning our attention back to the continued development of the
sport and the league.”

Key points of the agreement, which will run through the 2014 season, follow:
• GUARANTEED CONTRACTS: All players who are at least 24 years old with three years of MLS service
will have guaranteed contracts. As a result, for the first time in League history, the majority of its players will
have guaranteed contracts.

• PLAYER MOVEMENT: The League will establish a re-entry draft (the “Re-Entry Draft”) for players who
are out of contract, ending the system where teams retained rights to players indefinitely. Although the specific
parameters of the Re-Entry Draft are being finalized, it will address players in each of the following categories:

• Option Not Exercised
A player who is at least 23 years old with three years of MLS service and whose option is not exercised
may choose to enter the Re-Entry Draft and be made available to all clubs at his option salary. If the
player is not selected in the Re-Entry Draft and subsequently re-signs with the league, he will be made
available to all teams through waivers, with his prior team at the bottom of the priority list.

• Contract Terminated
A player who is at least 22 years old with one year of MLS service and who is asked to take a pay cut
after contract termination will be placed on waivers and made available to all clubs at his current salary.
If the player is not selected, his former team will no longer have any rights to him.

• Contract Expiration
A player who is at least 30 years old with eight years of MLS service and whose contract has expired
may choose to enter the Re-Entry Draft unless his team makes him a qualified offer, which must be
equal to at least 105% of his last salary. If he enters the Re-Entry Draft, the player will be made
available to all clubs at a salary equal to 105% of his salary in the final year of his contract.
A player who is at least 25 years of age with at least four years of MLS service and whose contract has
expired may choose to enter the Re-Entry Draft unless his team offers him a base salary of at least as
much as the base salary paid to him in the last year of his contract. If he enters the Re-Entry draft, the
player will be made available to all clubs at a salary equal to his salary in the final year of his contract.

• SALARY BUDGET: The salary budget will increase from $2.315 million per club in 2009 to $2.55 million in
2010 (10.15%) and will increase by roughly 5% per year thereafter, as follows: 2011 – $2.675 million; 2012 –
$2.81 million; 2013 – $2.95 million; 2014 – $3.1 million. In addition, salary budget and allocation rules are now
locked in under the agreement.

• MINIMUM SALARIES: The minimum salary for senior roster players will increase from $34,000 in 2009 to
$40,000 in 2010 (17.64%) and will increase by roughly 5% per year thereafter, as follows: 2011 –$42,000; 2012
– $44,000; 2013 – $46,500; 2014 – $48,500.

• OPTIONS IN PLAYER CONTRACTS: For the first time, there will be a limit on the number of unilateral
options that may be contained in a player’s contract. For players who are at least 25 years old with 4 years of
MLS service when their contact is signed, any new contract may contain no more than two years of options.
New contracts for all other players may have no more than 3 years of options.

• BONUSES FOR WINS AND EXHIBITIONS: The agreement includes an increased package of bonuses
for wins in MLS games and international tournaments as well as appearance fees for exhibition games.

• PLAYER BENEFITS: The agreement includes a package of benefits that include increases in 401(k)
contributions by the league, termination pay, appearance fees, per diem when traveling, and relocation expense
reimbursement, as well as an increase in time off for players.

• RESERVE DIVISION: A joint labor-management committee will be formed to study the re-launch of a
reserve division. In the event rosters are expanded to facilitate this re-launch, the minimum salaries for
additional players beyond the first 24 per club will be as follows, with additional bonuses for players who
appear in a first-team game: 2010 – $31,250; 2011 – $32,600; 2012 – $33,750; 2013 – $35,125; 2014 – $36,500.

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MLS gets (more) serious on youth development players

Posted on 08 April 2010 by ASN Staff

Finally, Major League Soccer appears to be taking its youth development programs seriously. Or at least more seriously than before, when MLS clubs had very little chance of signing players developed in their own youth systems.

For starters, MLS will add two roster spots to each club’s limit, with the spots reserved for home grown players, which the league defines as “players registered for at least 12 months in an MLS youth program.”

MLS clubs may also sign home grown players from their youth development programs to Generation adidas contracts without those players having to go through the SuperDraft.

The result is a Byzantine roster and salary structure that is best quoted verbatim from the league’s press release:

Senior Roster (Slots 1-20)
MLS teams may have 18-20 players on their senior roster. These players will make no less than $40,000 per year and count against the 2010 team salary budget of $2,550,000.

Protected Roster (Slots 21-26)
Teams may have up to six players that do not count against the salary budget. Players on this roster may include Generation adidas players, players earning the 2010 league minimum player salary of $40,000 per year, and two of these six slots are reserved for home grown players who earn a minimum of $31,250 in 2010.

Teams are not required to fill all 26 slots at any given time.

Perhaps just as significantly, MLS increased the portion of a transfer fee that a club receives in the event that one of its home grown players signs abroad. The league also increased the amount of that revenue that can be used as allocation money.

Previously, an MLS club received 2/3 of any fee collected for one of its players transferring (or being loaned) abroad, with the league distributing the remaining third among all owners. Now, revenue from player transfers and loans will be divided as follows (again, best to quote the league’s own words on this):

Home Grown Player:
• Club receives 3/4 of transfer fee revenue and the League receives 1/4

Generation adidas players & non home grown players acquired in the SuperDraft:
• 1 Year of service: 1/3 to Club and 2/3 to League
• 2 Years: 1/2 to Club and 1/2 to League
• 3+ Years: 2/3 to Club and 1/3 to League

All other players:
• Club receives 2/3 of the transfer fee revenue and the League receives 1/3

The maximum amount of a given transfer fee’s revenue that may be used by a club as allocation money has increased from $500,000 to $650,000. Allocation money may be used to reduce the portion of a player’s compensation that counts against a club’s salary budget in connection with signing players new to MLS, or re-signing existing MLS players to a new contract.

If you find this confusing you’re probably not alone. The rules are surely tough enough for the league itself to keep track of. For fans and journalists and the general public, who are not provided information on individual salaries or contracts, it’s downright befuddling.

Still, the important thing is that clubs will be compensated more, and better, for developing players in-house. Give the league credit for that.

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Not an April Fool’s (we think): MLS to allow second DP slot

Posted on 01 April 2010 by ASN Staff

Major League Soccer announced today, April 1, that it would double the amount of designated players to two on each club, with the option of clubs even “purchasing” a third slot. The Designated Player Rule is a mechanism that in 2007 began allowing an individual club to pay one player any amount above a fixed salary budget charge. The club salary budgets are an expense shared by all MLS owners.

Under its new parameters, the Designated Player Rule also gives clubs the option of “purchasing” a third Designated Player slot for $250,000 that will be dispersed in the form of allocation money to all clubs that do not have three Designated Players. Designated Player slots may be used to sign and retain existing MLS players, but they are no longer tradable.

“Expanding the Designated Player Rule is another example of MLS’s commitment to providing top-level soccer for our fans,” MLS EVP of Player Relations and Competition Todd Durbin said. “After three seasons, we have seen that the Designated Player Rule improves the quality of play, creates intrigue and discussion, and enhances our clubs’ distinct on-field identities. We will continue to see varied approaches from our clubs in assembling their rosters, and these changes will give them increased flexibility.”

A club’s salary budget will be charged $335,000 for its first Designated Player under contract, $335,000 for its second Designated Player under contract and $335,000 if it signs a third Designated Player. If a Designated Player joins a club’s roster in the middle of the season, that club’s salary budget for the year will be charged $167,500.

The previous budget charge for a club’s first Designated Player, $415,000, accounted for approximately 18 percent of that club’s salary budget. The current rules reduce that budget charge to approximately 13 percent of a team’s salary budget.

Additionally, clubs have the option of “buying down” the budget charge of a designated player with allocation money. The reduced charge may not be less than $150,000. Allocation money are funds, separate from the club salary budgets, provided by the League based upon finish in the previous season, fees collected for the transfer of a player abroad, expansion or exceptional circumstances. Allocation money may be used to reduce the portion of a player’s compensation that counts against a club’s salary budget in connection with signing players new to MLS, or re-signing existing MLS players at the end of their contracts.

In the event that an MLS club transfers a Designated Player under contract to a club in another country, that MLS club will recoup the amount it has spent on that Designated Player before any additional transfer revenue is shared with the League.

These changes to the Designated Player rule are effective immediately. The Primary Registration Window — in which MLS clubs can conduct transfers to acquire players under contract in leagues of other countries — concludes April 15. The Secondary Registration Window opens July 15 and closes August 14, 2010. Registration windows always apply to the country of destination in a transfer. Players out of contract may be signed at any time.

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Wednesday audio news update

Posted on 24 March 2010 by ASN Staff

Subscribe to ASN's Audio Soccer News Daily for free! (Just this audio feed, no other ASN items!)

For more information on your hosts Zach and Jason visit AmericanSoccerShow.com, home of the popular American Soccer Show weekly podcast. Be sure to listen in every Monday!

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MLS releases (some) details of new collective bargaining agreement

Posted on 23 March 2010 by ASN Staff

Following Saturday’s announcement of a new collective bargaining agreement between Major League Soccer and the MLS Players Union, the league today announced a few key elements of the five-year agreement.

Notably missing from the league’s announcement are provisions on roster sizes, including exemptions for home grown players, injuries and others.

Under the new collective bargaining agreement, player salaries are guaranteed to increase each year league-wide, and the individual minimum player salaries also will continue to grow. The new agreement also includes improvements to players’ quality of life such as meals, hotel accommodations, reimbursement for relocation costs and player appearances.

The agreement is subject to the approval of the MLS Board of Governors and the membership of the Players Union.

The following are the key points agreed to by MLS and the Players Union in their new five-year collective bargaining agreement:

  • TERM: 2010 – 2014.
  • GUARANTEED CONTRACTS: The CBA provides for guaranteed contracts for all players who are at least 24 years old with three years of MLS service. The majority of the players in the League will have guaranteed contracts each season.
  • SALARY BUDGET: An increase of the salary budget from $2.315 million per club in 2009 to $2.55 million in 2010 (10.15%) and an increase of 5% per year thereafter.
  • An increase of the minimum salary for senior roster players from $34,000 in 2009 to $40,000 in 2010 (17.64%) and an increase of 5% per year thereafter.
  • PLAYER MOVEMENT: While there will be no bidding by MLS clubs against each other for out-of-contract players, the League will establish a “re-entry draft” for players who are out of contract. Although the specific parameters of that draft are being finalized, it will address players in each of the following categories:
    o Option Not Exercised
    A player who is at least 23 years old with three years of MLS service and whose option is not exercised will be placed in a re-entry draft and made available to all clubs at his option salary.
    o Contract Terminated
    A player who is at least 22 years old with one year of MLS service and who is asked to take a pay cut after contract termination will be placed in a re-entry draft and made available to all clubs at his current salary.
    o Contract Expires
    A player who is at least 30 years old with eight years of MLS service and whose contract has expired will be placed in a re-entry draft unless his team makes him a qualified offer that must be at least 105% of his last salary. If placed in the re-entry draft, the player will be made available to all clubs at a salary equal to 105% of his last salary.

    A player who is at least 25 years of age with at least four years of MLS service whose contract has expired will be placed in a re-entry draft unless his team offers him a base salary of at least as much as the base salary paid to him in the last year of his contract. If placed in the re-entry draft, the player will be made available to all clubs at a salary equal to the salary in the final year of his contract.

  • OPTIONS IN PLAYER CONTRACTS: A limit on the number of options in player contracts to two for players who are at least 25 years old with four years of MLS service. Contracts for all other players may have up to three options.
    o For players whose annual compensation is less than $125,000, the minimum increase in base salary will be 10% for players who play in at least 66% of his club’s games and 12.5% for players who play in at least 75% of his club’s games.
  • PLAYER BENEFITS: The CBA includes a package of benefits that include increases in 401K contributions by the League, appearance fees, per diem when travelling and relocation expense reimbursement. Among the additional player benefits in the CBA are full health care benefits for every player and his family at no cost, 401(k) contributions and expanded insurance benefits.
  • BONUSES FOR WINS AND EXHIBITIONS: The CBA includes a package of bonuses for wins in MLS games and international tournaments as well as appearance fees for international exhibitions.
  • GROUP LICENSE: The League and Players Union reached agreement on an extension of the Group License that will run through 2015 (a year longer than the CBA).
  • RESERVE DIVISION: MLS and the Players Union will establish a joint committee to study the re-launch of a Reserve Division. In the event the rosters are expanded, the salary for those players will be a minimum of $31,250 with additional annual increases.

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Tuesday audio news update

Posted on 23 March 2010 by ASN Staff

Subscribe to ASN's Audio Soccer News Daily for free! (Just this audio feed, no other ASN items!)

For more information on your hosts Zach and Jason visit AmericanSoccerShow.com, home of the popular American Soccer Show weekly podcast. Be sure to listen in every Monday!

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Monday audio news update

Posted on 22 March 2010 by ASN Staff

Subscribe to ASN's Audio Soccer News Daily for free! (Just this audio feed, no other ASN items!)

For more information on your hosts Zach and Jason visit AmericanSoccerShow.com, home of the popular American Soccer Show weekly podcast. Be sure to listen in every Monday!

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MLS, players union ink five year CBA deal

Posted on 20 March 2010 by ASN Staff

Major League Soccer and the MLS players union today announced a new five year collective bargaining agreement.

MLS commissioner Don Garber

“This is a great way for Major League Soccer to start its 15th season,” said MLS commissioner Don Garber. “It’s an agreement that will set the stage for a new relationship…between Major League soccer and its players.”

“It’s a solid agreement that ensures that our fans will enjoy the start of this season and a great product on the field for years to come,” said Bob Foose, executive director of the players union.

MLS players won concessions from the league in four areas, per Foose:

  • Guaranteed contracts
  • Improved player movement
  • Increased salaries
  • Increased opportunities to earn money from revenue sharing

Details remain elusive but Garber did say there would be a “re-entry draft” for players with a certain level of experience whose contracts had expired. There will not be free agency and the league will maintain its single entity structure.

Both sides largely dodged questions on specifics of the new terms when asked on the conference call. But Garber assured fans this was because the league needed time to document the new CBA in a media release. ASN will of course pass this information on as soon as we receive it.

The agreement beats a March 23 deadline imposed by the union, whose members had agreed to strike if no deal was in place at that time. More importantly, it removes the sense of menace and uncertainty that had been hanging over the league for months.

Garber praised the players professionalism and focus during the negotiations as well as federal mediator George Cohen, who he said reached out to the league “about two months ago,” though he did not step in until March 5.

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MLS, union appear to reach agreement

Posted on 20 March 2010 by ASN Staff

Major League Soccer and the MLS players union will hold a conference call at 1pm (EDT) today where they are expected to announce a deal that would avoid an unprecedented work stoppage.

Don Garber

A person familiar with the matter told told The Associated Press this morning that the two sides had reached agreement on a five-year contract. MLS commissioner Don Garber, MLS Players Union executive director Bob Foose and director of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service George Cohen will be on the call where they will discuss “the league’s collective bargaining agreement negotiations,” according to a statement by MLS. While this does not explicitly say an agreement has been reached, we can all do the math on that one.

Update: ASN plans to be on the call. Be sure to follow us on Twitter for the latest news, as well as for live coverage of the call.

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A time of mixed emotions, particularly for New York

Posted on 19 March 2010 by ASN Staff

A metaphorical cloud hangs over Red Bull Arena... ©ASN/Scott Marsh

Fans of New York’s Major League Soccer franchise, toughened by a decade and a half of hardship, are no strangers to misery. If their team’s 15 years of dreary existence at the East Rutherford, N.J., Meadowlands accomplished anything, it certainly made them (at least somewhat) immune to such negative emotions. But now is not a time for negativity.

Or is it? There are reasons to believe the curse that has hung over the team since its inception is not dead or even dormant, but healthier than ever–and indeed plotting its cruelest joke yet. The MLS labor impasse leaves a dark (metaphorical) cloud hanging over Red Bull Arena. Just when the New York Red Bulls franchise is ready to break free of the doom and gloom that has forever haunted it, fans are faced with the very real possibility that the season could be postponed (or worse) by a players strike.

Read more at ASN’s New York Red Bulls page
.

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