MLS mum on details of labor deal, players call it 'huge win'

Thu Mar 5, 2015 8:12pm EST
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By Simon Evans

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Major League Soccer's labor deal won't dramatically change the league's structure or radically improve the earning power of its players but it does open the door to more significant changes in the future.

The deal has yet to be ratified and while the fine-tuning goes on neither MLS or its players were willing to publicly acknowledge the details of the pact, which was agreed to in principle on Wednesday.

But several elements of the deal are in the public domain and have not been challenged by either side.

Multiple reports said the league's minimum salary, applied mainly to young players, would rise from to $60,000 from $36,000 with further increases over the term of the five-year deal.

The current salary cap for each team stands at $3.1 million, excluding the three highly-paid 'designated players' allowed for each team, but several reports indicate it could rise as high as $4.2 million by 2019.

Those numbers remain very modest compared to major European soccer leagues and other sports in North America but the key sticking point in the talks was free agency rights, something the players were willing to strike over.

Philadelphia Union union representative Brian Carroll told the Philadelphia Inquirer's website that the players came very close to striking.

"Internally, we did come to a strike vote at some point during the process. Only after some last second feelers were placed out from both sides did we come back to the table and eventually (reach a deal) that both parties could agree upon."   Continued...