Atlanta United is expected to start training camp Jan. 25, which would be within that 30-day window. Because there is an existing CBA, Garber said he expects the players to report on time. Garber said there has been no talk of locking out players if a deal hasn’t been reached by the end of the window. That was a threat made by Garber in June last year during a COVID-forced hiatus to try to get the players to ratify the CBA that was agreed to earlier in the year, but with new provisions including salary cuts and a force-majeure clause. The tactic didn’t please the players.
Enacting the force-majeure clause is something that didn’t please the MLSPA and perhaps why the league has to year from the group.
The MLSPA issued this statement Dec. 29: “After a 2020 season of extreme sacrifice, immeasurable risk to personal health, and a remarkable league-wide effort to successfully return to play, this tone-deaf action by the league discredits the previous sacrifices made by players and the enormous challenges they overcame in 2020.”
If a new CBA can be agreed to, Garber said the league hopes to start its season in mid-March with the goal of playing a traditional 34-game schedule, as well as the Champions League, Leagues Cup, All-Star Game and Campeones Cup. Much of that will be dependent upon COVID-19 and restrictions enacted by local governments.