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RSL owner Dell Loy Hansen fined by MLS for CBA negotiation comments

DellLoyHansenRSL3 (USATodaySports)

Photo by Chris Nicoll/USA Today Sports


Major League Soccer did not take kindly to what Real Salt Lake owner Dell Loy Hansen had to say earlier this week.

The league announced on Friday that they’ve fined Hansen an undisclosed amount for saying that the MLS players demanding free agency was a “go-nowhere conversation.”

“The comments made by Mr. Hansen are not permitted under the League’s Constitution,” MLS Commissioner Don Garber said in a statement. “We are engaged in constructive negotiations with our players and such comments are not appropriate nor helpful to the negotiations.”

On Wednesday, Hansen was a guest on ESPN 700 in Salt Lake City, a station he owns, to discuss RSL and the ongoing collective bargaining negotiations. While on the show, he labeled any discussion of MLS having free agency as a waste of time.

“There’s some great agreement that everyone can reach, but every time I read, ‘We’re going to work on free agency,’ well, that’s kind of one of those real waste-of-time conversations,” Hansen said. “I think everyone’s very intense on (agreeing to a deal). I know that the league and the owners are seriously looking at that.”

Hansen later added: “I think there’s some really fair offers that have come from the league. The perennial issue is, ‘We want free agency,’ but that can’t exist where everyone’s employed by the same employer. How do you have free agency when you’re going to go talk to yourself at the next employer?

“That’s not going to change. That’s a go-nowhere conversation. When you look at all the owners, they’ve all been in pro basketball, football, baseball, and that was the one thing they all vowed they’d never do is go through that again.”


What do you think of this news? Do you agree with the league’s decision? Surprised that Hansen spoke out?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. There’s nothing sacrosant about single entity.
    There’s no reason that any country’s D1 needs to operate as a single entity. MLS owners do it by choice. It’s an open discussion, even if they pretend it’s not

    A real federation would at least make some kind of counter-balance to the MLS owners cartel. Your profitability is not synonymous with the growth of American soccer.

    US soccer is just full of too many cronies & too many conflicts of interest

  2. Major League Baseball owners also swore up and down that they would never allow free agency, and they lost. No matter what the league’s business model, eventually this will face something called the United States Constitution. Worked in baseball, eventually it will work in soccer too.

  3. How in the world did he become and MLS owner, what was garber thinking.
    I read on line that he is loaded with money and imagine his another red bull type of owner.
    If I was him, I would take rio tinto stadium to the next level with that money he wanted to waste on the ISL team stadium.
    I don’t think he knows about soccer or cares that much, hopefully their front office sees what’s rsl can become with that fan base, it’s tonight to play there and their fans deserve a lot.
    Just bring this stadium to skc level and boom, the rest will unfold.

    • I don’t know. I never been to RSL but their fanbase seems pretty strong. Way better than my fellow RBNY supporters anyway, even though the city is like 1/40th the size of NYC.

    • He just added the largest HD Video board to any SPS in the country and is looking at options to expand the stadium seating once the USL team is squared away.

  4. If this was always the case. That free agency is truly a non starter in the owner’s eyes, this should tip the players to double down on the salary side. Increase the cap this go around, put some type of chink in the free agency armor – and really go after the player restrictions next time.

  5. Rumor going around that any comment that prompts more than a certain number of negative comments on SBI will now earn a MLS official or coach a substantial fine. Not sure whether to believe it or not.

    • This assumes there’s only one definition or type; there’s nothing to say you couldn’t have a closed bid system internally for services that advises and influences a centrally-negotiated player contract. There are lots of alternatives to give the players choice; it just makes it hard to hold down bottom-end salaries for players who deserve more, which is what guys like Hansen want. I’m not necessarily in favor of full free agency, but there are workable models, including transition allowances for trades, service length to a single team as a pre-requisite, etc.

      • All sorts of arrangements are possible, but I still don’t see what the owners are afraid of. The salary cap effectively controls their salary costs. (I will leave aside the idiocy of the designated players.) True, building a roster with a salary cap and free agency would be a little more challenging but not overwhelmingly so. So what’s the big deal?

      • Agree jloome,

        Rather than saying stuff like the owner, or the reverse like some on this site. Why not come up with solutions ? Not saying I care or have any, just saying, this is a great situation, everyone with a brain is excited about the season. Get it solved.

    • Unless you’re the players, in which case you can talk all day long about how you will strike if you don’t get free agency.

      There’s no difference having one side say something has to happen and having the other side say that can’t happen. It’s all just positioning.

      • except that what he said makes the league’s position weaker. comparing to other sports and such just points out how stupid it. saying it would threaten their single entity structure is a pathetic reason too. it points out that this has nothing to do with just salaries and there really aren’t any good arguments against some sort of FA.

      • Maybe you should go listen to the interview. He never said that free agency would threaten single entity. And he knew he would get fined for saying what he said.

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