Sunday, February 21, 2010

After the Weekend

MLS Preseason
  • OK, I've been holding back on posting all the 'what-if' stories on the labor negotiations between MLS and the players. It seems finally that some bona fide information has come out, specifically in this report by Steve Goff on the first things we've heard from the league in quite some time. The statement came on the heels of several players expressing deep dissatisfaction with the talks and painting a fairly gloomy picture concerning the discussions.
  • Footiebusiness keeps us up with a few deals cut by MLS clubs.
  • Since Steve's report, there has been a back and forth between MLS President Mark Abbott and MLSPU executive director Bob Foose. You can find those on your own. You can't enter the soccersphere without running into links to the verbal tennis match. I'm going to stand pat and watch what unfolds as the talks extension deadline(Thursday) approaches. Should be fun. 
Club Tournaments
Interesting Reads
The Courts and single entity.
University of Evansville Head Coach Mike Jacobs on What is 'skill' or 'good football'?

Title and Champions League Races in Europe

 GP  W   D  L   GD  Pts 
 Chelsea  27   19  4  4  41  61 
 Manchester Utd 27   18  3  6  39  57 
 Arsenal  27   17  4  6  33  55 
 Tottenham 27   13  7  7  22  46 
 Bayer Leverkusen 23   13  10  0  30  49 
 Bayern Munich 23   17  7  2  29  49 
 Schalke 04 23   13  6  4  17  45 
 Hamburg 23   10  10  3  18  40 
Ligue 1
 Bordeaux 24   16  3  5  22  51 
 Montpellier 25   15  3  7  7  48 
 Lille 25  14   5  6  23  47 
 Lyon 25  13   7  5  15  46 
Serie A
 Internazionale 25   16  7  2  29  55 
 AS Roma 25   15  5  5  16  50 
 AC Milan 24   14  6  4  17  48 
 Juventus 25   12  5  8  7  41 
La Liga
 Barcelona 23   18  4  1  44  58 
 Real Madrid 23   18  2  3  42  56 
 Valencia 22   12  7  3  18  43 
 Sevilla FC 23   13  3  7  11  42 

I guess it's time that I chime in on the ongoing MLS/MLSPU Collective Bargaining Agreement negotiations. Back in September, before it became apparent that the players' prime concerns were free agency and guaranteed contracts, I put forth my ideas on some items that I thought were important. Shows what I know. Anyway, just thought you should see what I was thinking, and still do, regarding salaries and roster sizes.

Now, five months later, almost all of the talk is focused on free agency. And I have to agree with most of the opinions in the soccersphere that the current system is wholly unfair to players. I thought, what's the problem, so long as a salary cap remains in place, why can't the league relent on this issue. Then I read this piece by Jeff Carlisle. In it, Jeff quotes former Chicago Fire general manager Peter Wilt, in which he points out the major obstacle to granting free agency, specifically that in so doing the league could open itself up to a re-examination of the lawsuit that was brought in 1997 and settled in 2002 that confirmed the legality of the single entity system that MLS operates.

After reading that I immediately saw the rock and the hard place the league might be finding itself between. Even if it were inclined to grant some form of free agency, they will do nothing that threatens the system. For if in granting any form of free agency, they feel that the Fraser v. Major League Soccer LLC decision could be overturned, I can't see them getting close to the issue. As much as I sympathize with the players, I'm not smart enough to think of a solution that both parties can live with. It's definitely one for the lawyers.

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