After facing continued restrains related to the pandemic, it was announced by the executive director of the Major League Soccer Players Association, Bob Foose, that close to twenty percent of its members had, over the course of the 2020 season, contracted COVID-19.
Foose stated that as a result of the season being put on hold, many players were forced to forgo almost $150 million in possible earnings. This was due to the renegotiating of its collective bargaining agreement in June.
During a telephone conference call on Thursday, Foose stated that the 2020 season was without a doubt, the most difficult in the leagues’ history. Initially, the Major League Soccer Players Association had thought they had agreed to a new collective bargaining agreement in February. However, neither side was able to ratify the agreement.
After the league was forced to suspend its season in March, the league used that, and the threat of a lockout, to their advantage to negotiate increased financial concessions. Those concessions included reducing salary reductions of 7.5% for the remainder of 2020 and a reduction of 70% paid to players as bonuses. In addition, the league delayed the sharing of media rights by a year.
Speaking on behalf of its MLSPA members, Foose stated that it members did everything possible to ensure the season would continue and that games would be played.
Additional hardships faced by MLS players
MLS players, in addition to reported financial concessions, also had to face playing the remainder of their season during a global pandemic. This resulted in several outbreaks amongst teams include Nashville and Dallas, both of whom had to back out of scheduled tournaments and return to their home base.
Additional outbreaks resulted on the Colorado Rapids’ organization having to cancel five successive games, and the league having to determine standings based on points earned per game in order to decide which teams would qualify for the 2020 playoffs.
On the plus side, with the 2020 season behind them, player salaries and bonuses will return to pre-pandemic agreements. This is assuming that fan attendance will resume and that teams will improve their financial footing.