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MLS, MLSPA appear to avoid lockout; agree to tentative CBA through 2027

Pending a vote between all of the players, training camps open Feb. 22. Get ready for Toronto FC action.

New York City FC v Toronto FC Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images

TORONTO, Canada—Just hours before the imposed Feb. 5 @ 11:59 p.m. EST deadline, Major League Soccer (MLS) and its Players Association (MLSPA) struck a tentative deal on a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA), likely avoiding a potential work stoppage that would have put the start of the 2021 season in jeopardy.

“The MLS Players Association has reached a tentative agreements on amendments to its Collective Bargaining Agreement with Major League Soccer,” the MLSPA released in a statement. “The agreement will now be sent to the full player pool for a ratificiation vote over the weekend.”

According to The Athletic’s Sam Stejskal, each player would have a vote to ratify or deny the deal with a simple majority enough to approve a tentative deal, locking things in for the players. That likely won’t take place until the weekend.

The two parties returned to the negotiating table for the third in about a year after MLS activated its force majeure clause in the original CBA that was set to run through 2025 at the end of December, essentially putting the two sides back at the bargaining table as a result of the pandemic.

After much back-and-forth debate, however, it looks like the worst possible outcome has likely been avoided. According to multiple reports, the tentative deal will run through 2027. We’ll continue to update this developing story.

If you have more questions about the CBA (and you have a subscription), I’d recommend checking out this Q&A from The Atheltic’s Sam Stejskal and Paul Tenorio.

You can check out the key dates for this upcoming season here.