Friday, March 13, 2015

Orlando City SC Lions Owe Inaugural MLS Game to Mediation

It could be said that mediation saved the start of the Major League Soccer (MLS) season and the kickoff of the expansion Orlando City SC Lions before a crowd of over 65,000 at the Citrus Bowl stadium. The sides in MLS’s labor impasse negotiated in Washington, D.C. to avert a work stoppage. MLS had never finalized its labor contract for the past five years, a situation players and management sought to rectify following their agreement in principle last week on a new deal through 2019. The settlement created free agency for the first time in the MLS. Players 28 and older can become free agents after eight MLS seasons when their contracts have expired. Free agents earning under $100,000 this year are capped at 125 percent for 2016, with the limit lowering to 120 percent for those making $100,000-$200,000 this year and 115 percent for those earning more than $200,000. The new labor agreement increases minimum salaries but cuts the roster size of each team from 30 to 28. The union said the last few players on each side never saw much time on the field. Representatives for management and the union utilized the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service with marathon sessions stretching into early morning hours. Reportedly, dozens of players participated in the mediation talks, with several owners also involved. A snowstorm further complicated matters for out-of-town participants. In the end, it was a great weekend of season openers thanks to mediation! See stories here-- and and