Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Kerrzy's Notebook: MLS Strike?

Last week I brought you up to speed on the impending labor disasters in three of North America's 'big four' pro sports leagues...and whaddaya know - another week, another impending strike!

This time around, it's one of the continents newer leagues, Major League Soccer, having trouble at he bargaining table.

Players say they want more freedom of movement within the league and more guaranteed contracts. The owners, on the other hand, say they're already losing money as it is.

Their current collective bargaining agreement expired at the end of January and both sides agreed to extend negotiations twice (once because of snow), but the latest extension expires on Thursday. The league was hoping the players would match their no-lockout pledge with a no-strike pledge, but that didn't happen with the start of the season now just over a month away.

Major League Soccer president Mark Abbott has gone on record as saying they're willing to start the season under the rules of the expired contract, putting the ball in the players' court. The players aren't happy with that though, saying not much progress is being made.

Even if a strike is avoided and the season begins as scheduled on March 25th, the effects of the drawn-out negotiations could effect the league's relationship with CONCACAF, the sport's regional governing body.

The Columbus Crew are scheduled to host Mexico's Deportivo Toluca FC in the first leg of CONCACAF Champions League action on March 9th, with the second leg coming eight days later. You'd have to think neither of those games will wind up being played under the current circumstances, which could result in fines or penalties, but will definitely result in a black mark on the league.

If this thing doesn't get resolved, not even David Beckham will be able to save them!

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