MLS extends CBA talks with players for another 24 hours

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Major League Soccer has extended the deadline for reworking the collective bargaining agreement with its players for another 24 hours, citing the progress the two sides have made this week.

The new deadline is at 11:59 p.m. ET on Friday. Last week the league extended the deadline to 11:59 p.m. Thursday and warned that it was prepared to lock out players if a deal wasn’t reached.

“Although we have not finalized a new Collective Bargaining Agreement and remain apart on some key issues, discussions this week have been productive, and we have made progress,” MLS said in a statement released Thursday afternoon. “Since the negotiations have reached an advanced stage, the League has extended the negotiating period by 24 hours to provide every opportunity to finalize an agreement.”

MLS has said it lost nearly $1 billion last season, due in part to the pandemic as it played in mostly empty stadiums and with increased costs for testing and charter flights. The league said it expects similar losses this year.

As a result, MLS invoked a force majeure clause in December to reopen negotiations over the CBA, citing ongoing uncertainty because of the COVID-19 crisis.

The league has proposed paying players their full salaries in 2021 in exchange for a two-year extension of the CBA through the 2027 season. The players have countered with an extension only through 2026.

The league and the union had two difficult negotiations last year – one in February before the start of the season and a second in June when players took a pay cut in order to resume the 2020 season.

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