Major League Soccer and the MLS Players’ Association do not have an agreement on a new collective bargaining agreement yet, but they are giving themselves more time to hammer out a deal.
The current agreement was set to expire on Friday, but the two sides have agreed to extend it for another week, setting the new expiration date as February 7. In all reality, the actual deadline for a new CBA is the beginning of the regular season, but the early rounds of the Concacaf Champions League could complicate things. Atlanta United, LAFC, New York City FC, the Seattle Sounders, and the Montreal Impact all have competitive matches in the middle of February and the lack of an agreement or another extension would jeopardize each team’s participation.
The two sides could continue to extend the deadline right to the start of the season, which would allow those teams to compete in the Champions League. In 2015, the CBA expired over the winter, but deadline extensions allowed D.C. United and the Impact to play in the CCL Quarterfinals in late February.
Representatives of the Players’ Union as well as MLS owners have engaged in “Slow going” and lengthy discussions, according to ESPN. Things are moving in a positive direction, thanks in large part to the presence of actual MLS owners, not just legal representation.
The current agreement was reached at the 11th hour before the start of the 2015 season. It wasn’t until the day before the start of the regular season that the two sides managed to conclude negotiations and draft a CBA that provided players with a limited form of free agency. This time around, the players are looking to expand that initial system, as well as a simplification of the league’s complicated spending and roster rules, higher salaries, and more charter flights.