New developments have emerged surrounding the ongoing negotiations between the MLS Players Union and MLS management which have put the new Collective Bargaining Agreement in danger of not getting done by the February 25th deadline. This past Friday the executive members of the Players Union voiced their frustrations publicly saying they are ready for a work stoppage unless some basic rights which are standard in other world leagues are not added to the new CBA. Then on Saturday the League more or less publicly said it will be the Player's Union's fault if a deal is not reached.
The deadline for getting this new CBA done has already been extended twice, and the verbiage coming from both the league and players union has heated up dramatically in the past few days with both sides faulting the other.
Essentially both sides have a few issues that they are not willing to budge on. For the league it does not want anything to endanger the future of its single-entity structure which controls all player movements and contracts. The league does not want a repeat of the bankrupt NASL of the 1970's and seeks to keep operating costs low by controlling players salaries and limiting the ability of clubs to move players without league approval, i.e. no transfer market inside MLS since the league owns all player contracts.
The players, many of whom make just $20,000 a year, want more free agency and guaranteed contracts which would allow for more player movement between clubs and negotiating ability of contracts. Currently there are several MLS veterans sitting without a club because they were released by their former clubs but the former club still owns their rights. So even if a new club was interested it would have to pay the former club even though the player was "released" from contract and not playing.
If you live in Europe and are trying to understand how the MLS system works don't bother we Americans don't understand it nor do the league officials for that matter its so complicated.
The implications for the US World Cup roster and current players on loan such as Landon Donovan could be significant. If the players union and league can't come to terms by this Thursday it seems we will have a work stoppage and that puts at least the start of the MLS season at risk and possibly half or even the entire 2010 season.
This is bad news for US Soccer fans but could have one benefit many of us have been hoping for recently, Landon Donovan may be staying at Everton after all. If MLS did go into a work stoppage I doubt Landon would have to abide by it. Not only would it devastate his current fantastic form right before the World Cup but would also cast major doubts over the USMNT's chances in South Africa since Landon accounts for so much of our offense by way of either assists or goals.
I wouldn't be surprised if current LA Galaxy manager and former USMNT manager Bruce Arena granted Donovan an extension on his current loan knowing how vital having an in form Donovan will be to the team's success at the World Cup.
Lets hope for the sake of US Soccer that MLS and the Players Union can come to terms, but if they can't it would be nice to watch Donovan and his Everton teammates make a deep run in the Europa League while climbing the Premiership table.
How do you think this situation unfolds?