Today is the deadline for a new collective-bargaining agreement between Major League Soccer and its players.
The old agreement expired on Jan. 31, but the two sides continued negotiations and set today as their deadline. However, those talks have hit a standstill.
This afternoon, MLS issued a statement, which it sent first to The Kansas City Star:
"During the last year, Major League Soccer has been negotiating with the MLS Players Union on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement. The current CBA expires today and the Players Union would not agree to a further extension.
"We have told the Players Union that the League does not plan to lock out the players and we are prepared to begin the season under the current CBA while we continue to bargain to reach agreement on a new CBA.
"We have listened to the issues raised by the MLS Players Union and the League has made detailed proposals that have addressed these issues, including in the areas of economics, guaranteed contracts, options and the ability of a player to move to another MLS Club if he is released by his current Club. These proposals, which represent substantial changes from the current CBA, will significantly increase our spending and provide substantially more rights to the players."
Now the players must decide if they want to strike before the MLS season, which begins March 25, or at the start of the season. They appear to be considering their options.
Wizards player representative Jimmy Conrad told The Star on Wednesday: "At the moment, we have no intention of going on strike."