Minnesota United players did not practice on Monday, ahead of the reported deadline for the Major League Soccer Players Association to come to an agreement with the league on a return-to-play plan. That deadline was reportedly set for Tuesday but has since been pushed back to Wednesday, per ESPN’s Herculez Gomez.
The United have been holding voluntary practices at the National Sports Center in Blaine since May 12, but the decision to not participate in practices Monday came a day after players voted on a plan that was then sent back to the owners for the resumption of the 2020 season, which has been halted due to the novel coronavirus.
“This evening, MLS Players voted to approve a package of economic concessions for the 2020 season, modifications to the recently agreed-upon CBA, including its extension by a year, and their agreement to participate in a summer tournament in Orlando,” the MLSPA said in a statement Sunday. “Included were salary reductions across the entire player pool, reduced team and individual bonuses, and additional concessions to existing and future terms of the CBA.”
After it was submitted, the league rejected the counteroffer and reportedly now is threatening a lockout if players do not agree to its proposal by Wednesday.
Issues still on the table include a “force majeure clause that would allow either side to back out of a CBA in the case of a catastrophic event like a pandemic,” per ESPN’s Jeff Carlisle. Pay cuts and revenue sharing for a new TV deal also are part of negotiations.
“Players made a CHOICE to focus their time and energy on an important decision which includes the threat of a lockout instead of volunteering to attend on-field training for a tournament we already agreed to attend,” midfielder Ethan Finlay, who is an MLSPA executive board member, tweeted on Monday. “Refuse is not the word I would use.”
Per the Columbus Dispatch, MLS is working on revising its proposal to send off to the players’ union for approval. If an agreement is reached between the two sides, MLS teams would head to Orlando, Fla., to compete in a tournament this summer at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports Complex at Disney World.