A new collective bargaining agreement has been officially ratified by Major League Soccer and the MLS Players Association, paving the way for a return to play in 2020 while avoiding a potential lockout.
After several days of negotiations, the two sides announced the deal on Wednesday which threatened to undo the progress made during the winter months.
The league is cleared for a return to play for a widely-reported tournament in Orlando which is scheduled to start in July as a result of the agreement.
Preparation for that tournament will begin on June 24, according to The Athletic, with players beginning a two-week training camp in Florida. The tournament, which will keep players in Florida for about six weeks, will feature three group-stage matches counting towards the regular season, as well as a knockout round.
Several issues have reportedly held talks up. One was a clause linked to attendance numbers that would make it possible for the league to leave the CBA. Another was a potential decrease in the proportion of media rights income share for players in 2023, as well as the potential salary cut from players, which was decided earlier in the process.
“MLS Players today ratified a new collective bargaining agreement, which runs through the 2025 season,” read an MLSPA statement. “The vote today also finalizes a plan to resume the 2020 season and gives players certainty for the months ahead. It enables our members to move forward and continue to compete in the game they love.
In February, the league and MLSPA agreed to a new five-year CBA lasting through the 2024 season, which included increased player salaries, expanded free agency forms, and an increase in chartered flight availability.
Shortly before the start of the season, the deal was agreed with the two sides avoiding a potential lockout.