I’ve tried to avoid writing about the new collective bargaining agreement the MLS Players Union is negotiating with the league if only because those three little words tend to make most readers’ eyes roll back into their head.
Yep, nothing says a compelling story like the phrase “labor agreement.”
But in this case the average fan should care because MLS spending more money will increase the quality of play on the field and after some of the mind-numbing games I watched last year (and yes, I’m well aware you sometimes can say the same for your typical Wigan-Hull EPL game, too) we could always do with a few better players and better teams.
That’s the thesis of today’s column, which is helped considerably by the comments of the thoughtful and articulate Chris Klein and Todd Dunivant of the Galaxy.
I tried not to get bogged down with the details of the main points of contention under negotiation, but I though Dunivant summed it up best when he said:
“It’s about basic rights that players in this league don’t have that every other soccer player in the world has.”
Lastly, here’s Dunivant expanding on a comment he made in the column on the pros and cons that come from just a handful of teams dominating some European leagues year in and year out and whether that’s just as bad (or worse) as MLS’ much vaunted parity:
“In our league they go for absolute and utter parity where every team is the same and there’s not a lot of interest in that either. Some people might like that, but there are going to be people who want the Yankees, who want the Man U’s, the teams that really want to try to go out and win and get the best players; that draws a lot interest. … You’ve got to draw a balance because it is difficult when you just have your same four teams always (winning) – you can more or less predict what’s going to happen at the beginning of the season…. It can become a bit predictable.”
What do you think? Is parity over-rated? Or would you rather see something like Spain’s La Liga where the likes of Real Madrid and Barcelona dominate?
And do you back the players in the labor negotiations? Or should they simply feel fortunate a league exists and they have jobs?
A reminder: not only is David Beckham and AC Milan facing his old club Manchester United on Fox Soccer Channel at 11:45 a.m. in the last 16 of the UEFA Champions League, but Landon Donovan’s Everton play Sporting Lisbon at 9:45 a.m. in Europa League action on DirecTV channel 462.