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MLS Uses Clause to Cancel Player's Collective Bargaining Agreement

(photo by Matt Kremkau)

Major League Soccer has utilized a clause referred to as the majeure clause that will cancel the modifications made to the most recent collective bargaining agreement with the MLS Players Association. This will trigger a re-negotiation period that could conclude with the full cancellation of the agreement if a new one isn't reached by June.

"Unfortunately, based on the assessment of public health officials, it is clear that the impact of COVID-19 and the restrictions on attendance at sporting events will continue into the 2021 season," said deputy commissioner Mark Abbott. "We recognize the impact that the pandemic has had on our players and appreciate their efforts to restart and complete the 2020 season, but, like the other leagues in the United States and Canada, MLS needs to address the ongoing challenges caused by the pandemic and will engage in good-faith discussions with our players about ways to manage the significant economic issues we are facing."

The economic issues that Abbott is alluding too are massive. As of March it will be nearly an entire year since any MLS team has been able to maximize attendance revenue. Considering the leagues rather small television contracts, they rely heavily on live attendance and that may not be something that improves greatly in 2021. 

The league and players had agreed on a new CBA to avoid a lockout back in February. That was before COVID-19 became a major issue and the league was forced to shutter for several months before returning with the MLS is Back tournament. Since then there has been a major shift in how the league operates and both sides are looking for an acknowledgement of the situation.

MLS continues to have the smallest TV revenue deal of any major league in the United States. For that reason, it is essential that the league restructures it's deals for the lack of revenue being lost by live-gate income. Overall, the league's ratings didn't improve drastically, despite beating the NBA and NHL back to action. The league and players will be looking to address this loss in revenue in the coming months.

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