Statement from MLS Players Union Regarding SuperLiga Bonuses

Posted: July 12, 2008

In response to recent media inquiries regarding the prize money for the SuperLiga tournament, the MLS Players Union has the following comments:

MLS has consistently touted that the winner of SuperLiga will win a $1 million prize.  The implication in this tagline is that those who win the tournament take home $1 million.  In reality, however, that statement is true only for the Mexican players.

MLS is misleading its great fans.  What has not been revealed by the league is that its New York office has unilaterally set its own bonus structure for players, who will receive only a small fraction of the $1 million.  On top of that, the league has gone even further by prohibiting its teams from providing their own bonus pool for their players, despite the fact that this right is protected under the league's CBA.  The Union has filed a grievance regarding this issue, which will be arbitrated later this year.

As a result, if an MLS team wins SuperLiga the players on that team won't split $1 million.  Instead, they will receive only 15% of the prize money.  This puts MLS players at a significant competitive disadvantage as the Mexican clubs are not operating under the same rules.  Indeed, it is our understanding that the players on last year's winner Pachuca split the entire $1 million prize amongst themselves.

Given the time and travel requirements and injury risk for players, the prize money at stake (which MLS has consistently touted in the press), and the revenue generated through home games, it is entirely reasonable for players to expect a larger bonus pool.  The Union and the players participating in this tournament believe that SuperLiga is a great tournament and hope that it will be around for a long time.  It's a shame that MLS doesn't pay its players - the persons responsible for making the tournament exciting - their fair share of the proceeds.  Their refusal to do so has left the players with a bitter taste in their mouths as they enter the tournament.

Quotes from the Union:

Bob Foose, Executive Director of the Union:  "There are great fans in MLS and this could be a great tournament.  Unfortunately, so far the tournament is not what MLS would have you believe - there is no $1 million prize on the line for MLS players."

Eddie Pope, the Union's Director of Player Relations:  "This is a tough part of the season and these kinds of international games are extremely difficult on players.  We all know that they are fighting just as hard to win this prestigious championship for their clubs as the Mexican players.  Therefore, I, along with the players, find it difficult to understand why they should be content with receiving a smaller portion of the prize money in comparison to their opponents."


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