MLS players facing lockout as deadline looms to resolve pay dispute

The MLS season was suspended on March 12 due to the coronavirus outbreak

Major League Soccer appears one step closer to returning.

The MLS players association voted to approve economic concessions for this season, including across-the-board salary cuts. "The package has been formally submitted to the league for a decision by the owners".

The MLSPA has yet to reply to the proposed changes and will have until Tuesday afternoon to accept the proposal from owners or the league will lock the players out.

Sporting KC manager Peter Vermes was scheduled to meet with the media Monday but that Zoom call was postponed.

The proposal, made public by the union Sunday night, will now be sent to back to the league for approval by team owners.

On Monday, players from a number of teams including Atlanta United, Inter Miami, Vancouver Whitecaps and Minnesota United did not report to voluntary training.

Multiple sources told ESPN that the breakthrough came as MLS backed down from having aforce majeure clause tied to attendance, and instead opted for an MLSPA proposal that used a more industry-standard approach patterned after the National Basketball Association.

The two sides have been engaged in negotiations over the past several weeks after MLS shut down on March 12 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"While a hard vote in incredibly challenging times, it was taken collectively to ensure that players can return to competition as soon as they are safely able to do so", the MLSPA said in a statement.

Since then, the league has been exploring the possibility of resuming its season by staging matches during a quarantined summer tournament at Orlando's ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.The league's latest plan is for 26 teams to participate in a six-week event, with a three-game group stage followed by a knockout round.

The Washington Post and other outlets are reporting the players agreed to a 7.5% salary reduction as well as reductions to bonuses.

ESPN reported that the players' concessions will well exceed $100 million if the labor agreement is extended by a year.

The US women's professional league have already announced they will begin their 2020 season with a tournament behind closed doors at two sites around Salt Lake City on June 27.

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