About an hour after Backpost World HQ went dark on Friday with this post about the dearth of news on the MLS CBA talks, members of the MLSPU executive board decided to make some news, taking their grievances to the media in apparent frustration with management’s refusal to budge on the key issues separating the two sides.
Union board member and Houston Dynamo goalkeeper Pat Onstad told Ives Galarcep of FoxSoccer.com and Soccer By Ives, “We feel the league’s not taking us very seriously at all. We’re pretty far apart at this stage. Earlier in January there were some indications that some progress was going to be made, but right now, I think the negotiations are really in a bad place. We’re a long way from getting this deal done.”
This could be part negotiation ploy but, still…yikes. Read the rest of Galarcep’s report here.
Then union board member and Kansas City Wizards defender Jimmy Conrad spoke to Jeff Carlisle of ESPN, saying, among other things, “We feel like we’ve made a huge effort to be reasonable, to propose things that are within the confines of the single-entity structure. At this point they’re not even humoring us with something tangible. If things stay where they are, then it’s inevitable that a work stoppage is going to happen.”
Carlisle’s report, which quotes players suggesting they’re not much interested in attending the meetings scheduled for this week, with the deadline four days away, can be found here.
Major League Soccer management waited about 24 hours, then league president Mark Abbott responded to Galarcep in surprisingly specific fashion:
“Our proposal isn’t just limited to economics,” Abbott said. “We’ve made a proposal to guarantee a significant number of contracts. We’ve made a proposal to limit the number of options, unilateral options, the league has in player contracts.
“There have been some discussions about what happens to a player whose team no longer wants him and how the right of first refusal works. We’ve made proposals on those areas too, to address some of those concerns.”
So that’s the state of things now, with four days remaining, and it goes without saying that neither side can afford a work stoppage of any kind, be it lockout or strike. They have four days to bridge the gap.