Major League Soccer has informed the Major League Soccer Players Association that it intends to invoke the Force Majeure clause in its Collective Bargaining Agreement, the MLSPA said Tuesday.
That meant the clause that obligates the parties to negotiate modifications to the existing Collective Bargaining Agreement in good faith for 30 days.
The CBA that was negotiated in June could be ended if both sides cannot reach an agreement.
This action sets in motion a process that could result in the league and its owners abandoning the existing Collective Bargaining Agreement and commitments made to players for the second time in less than nine months,” the MLSPA said in a statement. “It comes in advance of any negotiations and at a time when many players are enjoying time away with their loved ones for the first time in almost a year.
“After a 2020 season of extreme sacrifice, immeasurable risk to personal health, and a remarkable league-wide effort to successfully return to play, this tone-deaf action by the league discredits the previous sacrifices made by players and the enormous challenges they overcame in 2020.”
At his state of the league address earlier this month, MLS commissioner Don Garber said the league lost in the neighborhood of $1 billion this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It cannot afford to take a similar hit in 2021.
“Unfortunately, based on the assessment of public health officials, it is clear that the impact of COVID-19 and the restrictions on attendance at sporting events will continue into the 2021 MLS season,” MLS president and deputy commissioner Mark Abbott told ESPN. “We recognize the impact that the pandemic has had on our players and appreciate their efforts to restart and complete the 2020 season, but, like the other leagues in the United States and Canada, MLS needs to address the ongoing challenges caused by the pandemic and will engage in good-faith discussions with our players about ways to manage the significant economic issues we are facing.”