MLS and the MLS Players Union have announced that they will be hosting a joint conference call today at noon central time. They will be discussing the collective bargaining agreement. If word from the AP is true, it sounds like it will be very good news. The AP is reporting that MLS and the MLSPU are close to a new 5 year CBA. This will avoid a strike that was set to start Tuesday morning at midnight to keep Philadelphia Union players from getting on a flight to Seattle for the season opener on Thursday night. One think that could have had a big effect (last paragraph in that article) on the negotiations is the fact that the league has stated health care benefits will be cut off for the players on March 31st if there is a strike. Certainly not something the players, would have wanted to happen.
While we won't know the final details of the agreement for a little while most likely, one has to wonder how a resolution was reached on the big issue of the discussions, free agency. The players had stated previously that they wanted freedom of movement within the league. In the past few days, the owners have started to come out and speak on the topic as well saying the league would not be getting free agency and a strike could very well kill the league. The past two days the two sides have been meeting for long hours in DC with a mediator. Wizards player union representatives Jimmy Conrad and Josh Wolff have been in DC for the negotiations. It will be interesting how these two sides that appeared so far apart reached an agreement on the free agency issue.
MLSnet is carrying the audio from the conference call. Andy Williams of Real Salt Lake has tweeted the deal is done.