MLS officials confident of avoiding lockout

STEVEN SANDOR, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:43 PM ET

Wednesday, Major League Soccer and the players’ union meet again for another round of negotiations in their efforts to hammer out a new Collective Bargaining Agreement.

But MLS clubs aren’t worried about a potential lockout on Feb. 1 — at least that’s what they’re showing publicly.

Toronto FC hasn’t issued any warnings to its season-seat holders; Chivas USA reports that its “business as usual” as it heads toward the opening of camp; Philadelphia Union Ceo Nick Sakiewicz said last week that any CBA issues had no impact on its draft strategy, and it continues to ford ahead towards its debut season.

Maybe the reason all is so calm with so little time left is because the MLS Players’ Union has had nothing to say. Before the holidays, executive director Bob Foose would return a call or an e-mail with “no comment.” Now, he doesn’t return messages at all. The MLSPU doesn’t talk to the media about the issues at hand.

So everyone is in the dark — and that’s simply brutal. We know free agency, the league’s central control of contracts and guaranteed contracts are the issues. But none of that has come through anyone in the MLSPU office.

Yes, established players Landon Donovan and Kasey Keller, both veterans who have earned well during their international careers, have blasted MLS and warned of a lockout — all through FIFpro. Not through their own union, but through a larger global organization. It comes off like a couple of rogue players talking tough while clutching mommy’s skirt. Really.

And it’s come to this because their own union has had so little to say. Actually, nothing to say.

Donovan is on loan with Everton right now, playing out the spring in the bright lights of the Premiership. And Keller is near the end of a career that’s taken him to England and Germany.

Do they speak for the rank-and-file player earning US$80K? No.

But it’s time for the union to break its silence. It doesn’t have speak with bombast. but by keeping everyone in the dark, the MLSPU looks like nothing more than a paper tiger. And maybe that’s why no team’s front office seems to be worried.

24 hours sports editor Steven Sandor has written about the beautiful game for numerous publications around the globe. he appears wednesdays in 24 hours

steven.sandor@sunmedia.ca


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