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Major League Soccer could face a lockout after the league pushed back against the latest proposal from the players' association, sources told Jeff Carlisle and Herculez Gomez of ESPN.
The MLSPA announced late Sunday night that it had approved various economic concessions and modifications to the CBA and signed off on widely rumored plans for a summer tournament in Orlando.
But the league is apparently unwilling to agree to the terms presented by the players, giving them until noon Tuesday to accept the previous offer or face a lockout, according to Gomez.
The two sides have been engaged in negotiations over the past several weeks after MLS shut down on March 12 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The players' Sunday announcement seemed to indicate the sides were nearing an agreement, but that excitement has swiftly dissipated. Their proposal included cuts to wages across the entire player pool and a cap on player bonuses, reductions that would reportedly amount to over $100 million in concessions.
Salary cuts continue to be a divisive topic. The MLSPA will accept a 7.5% cut, while the league wants that number at 8.75%, according to Carlisle.
But the bigger issue appears to be a force majeure clause allowing either side to withdraw from the CBA in the event of a catastrophic event. The MLS proposal "gives it the right to invoke the clause if five teams suffer an attendance drop of 25% or more from the previous year, while the MLSPA's doesn't have that stipulation," reports Carlisle.
Revenue sharing is also proving to be an obstacle in talks.
The one thing both sides seem to have agreed upon is the return-to-play scenario itself. As previously reported by Paul Tenorio and Sam Stejskal of The Athletic, teams would arrive in Orlando around June 24, be granted two weeks for training, and then compete in three group-stage matches with a knockout phase to follow. Under this plan, a club could be away from its home city for a maximum of six weeks.