Tuesday, November 24, 2009

MLS/Players Union Update

After tomorrow's expansion draft, the main focus for MLS will turn to the league's collective bargaining agreement which is set to expire in January. A little bit of news on the issue has come out in the past day. Today FIFPro asked FIFA to step into the potential labor dispute because MLS doesn't follow FIFA's Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players. FIFPro has a long list of complaints against the league; there are players without a guaranteed contract, player contracts are routinely terminated by the league, MLS acts as a cartel, there is no freedom of movement for any MLS player, and virtually any player can be transferred to another club in the league without his consent.

The players' union and FIFPro were dealt a blow later in the day, though, as Grant Wahl with Sports Illustrated received word from FIFA that it will not interfere in the collective bargaining negotiations. FIFA's statement in part said, "FIFA understands that this domestic issue is being resolved in accordance with U.S. labor laws and does not involve the U.S. Soccer Federation. FIFA will not interfere in the process. We have been assured that FIFA's regulations have been and will be respected."

This is definitely an important issue to watch as the next few weeks go by.

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