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MLS commissioner Don Garber on resolving CBA before season begins: ‘I’m hopeful’


Don Garber, MLS commissioner

AFP/Getty Images

It’s no secret that Major League Soccer may sit on the brink of a work stoppage.

The previous collective bargaining agreement ended on Jan. 31, and the main topic has been the implantation of free agency, which owners are reluctant to accept because they believe it will increase salaries too much.

The league has displayed noticeable growth over the years, so the players have argued the “single-entity structure” needs to change.

Commissioner Don Garber spoke to press in Boston and revealed that he did not see the dispute extending this close to the season. Nevertheless, Garber remains optimistic that 2015 will kick off as initially planned.

[RELATED: Brad Evans calls strike ‘imminent’]

“We had hoped that by now this would have been resolved,” he said on Friday at the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference, via the Associated Press.

“I’m hopeful. I believe, and I know I speak for our owners ... nobody’s looking for a work stoppage. We are prepared for it, but we’re all hopeful that we are able to bang through these issues.”

Unfortunately, we do not know Garber’s definition of “hopeful”, and it’s possible that one side--more likely the owners than players--will relinquish its ideal structure to have a full season of soccer.

Labor has the upper-hand here, as Garber and Co. will constantly remind themselves that a strike could kill the growing league’s momentum.

Meanwhile, Garber also discussed the use of technology to advance the quality of play in MLS, though such efforts are not widely implemented in Europe.

“If I were king, we would have instant replays. ... Our players would be wearing GoPro cameras and we would be doing all kinds of things to engage with (young fans) in a way that they are used to...Let us be the guinea pigs for just about anything these folks want to do.”