Major League Soccer is proposing a 20 per cent pay cut for all the players in the league. The league body has submitted the official proposal to the MLS Players Association.
The proposal became necessary to help clubs in the American League to remain in business as clubs’ revenue has drastically dropped due to lack of footballing action. Most clubs in America depend on the revenue they generate from matchday activities, ticket sales, advertisements, pay-per-view, and other incentives to pay their players and backroom staff.
However, clubs have no opportunity to enjoy the revenue from all those sources due to the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic which has halted soccer in America since March 12. Players have been made to remain in their houses where they are given training routines to follow in order to keep fit.
Before MLS submitted a proposal for a 20 per cent pay cut, the league body submitted a proposal for a 50 per cent pay cut on the wages of players earning above 100,000 dollars. This means that those who earn below $100,000 were exempted from the pay cut regime.
Unfortunately for the clubs and the league body, MLS Players Association rejected the proposal thereby forcing the MLS to prepare a proposal with a lower percentage of pay cut which is now set at 20 per cent. But this time around, the pay cut will affect all the players in the league, whether the players are earning below or above $100,000.
MLS president and deputy commissioner Mark Abbott said: “MLS continues to engage in productive conversations with the MLSPA over ways in which we can collectively address challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The discussions are ongoing and no agreement has been reached as at the time of publishing this report. However, if the MLS and the players association agree on the 20 per cent pay cut regime in May, the regime will commence in June.
Besides the financial challenges confronting the American league, another challenge MLS is facing is how to restart the 2019-2020 season amid the coronavirus pandemic. Though most clubs in the league have opened their training facilities for their players to engage in individual training routines under a strict protocol, an exact date for the resumption of the season has not been agreed. The format to finish the remaining matches has also not been agreed.
According to reports, MLS could adopt a tournament format to complete the season. The clubs in the league could be divided into two and they will play in two neutral venues in America. The two clubs that would top the two groups will meet at the playoff. Any club that wins the playoff automatically wins the league.
But the problem with this arrangement is that all the clubs will not be able to play an equal number of matches and the winner of the league might not have the opportunity to play against all the teams in the league. Hence, the winner might not be seen as a worthy champion of the league. At this point, only time can tell the route MLS may decide to take in order to complete the season.