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Players, owners strike out in ongoing MLB labour dispute – TSN

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What the heck happened?

It seemed like we were on the verge of a deal between Major League Baseball and the players union on a new collective bargaining agreement and then the clock struck 5 p.m. ET Tuesday. That’s when the carriage turned into a pumpkin, the horses became mice, the footmen became lizards and all their clothes turned into overalls as the players rejected the league’s final offer, prompting MLB to cancel Opening Day.

Oh, and regular-season games – the first two series of the 2022 season – disappeared off the schedule, marking the first time in 27 years that games will be cancelled due to a labour dispute.

Contract negotiations are fluid. They have a pace and energy that is palpable. You can feel when you are closing in on a deal. Most negotiators will say don’t leave without closing the deal when that momentum gets rolling. 

Unfortunately, the negotiations between the MLB Players Association and team owners couldn’t be brought to a conclusion in the early hours of Tuesday morning. The two sides went back to their hotel rooms for a few hours of sleep, but before they would meet again, the negotiating teams reached out to their constituents to provide them with an update. Commissioner Rob Manfred and his team called owners, while the MLBPA scheduled calls with players and agents.

The owners’ team of negotiators arrived at the facility in Jupiter, Fla., Tuesday morning believing they were going to get a deal done. But they quickly felt a change in energy and got the sense something had shifted on the union side. There were reports that some players and agents didn’t like a few of the items that the union caved on during negotiations. 

Remember, the players are coming into the negotiations with a chip on their shoulder because they have lost ground in the past two collective bargaining agreements. Their competitive nature is showing. They want a “win” this time around and there are a lot of opinions on how to get it. Sometimes too many voices can complicate the negotiations, and with that progress and momentum can stall. 

The owners tried to regenerate momentum on Tuesday afternoon, but the players were stuck in neutral. They stayed put and didn’t budge, prompting one last-ditch effort by the owners’ negotiating team to strike a deal.

They tried and failed. The players unanimously rejected the offer. And the “disastrous outcome” the commissioner hoped to avoid became a reality. 

The negotiators for the owners and players worked hard but could not find common ground to reach a deal. So, the lockout continues, creeping up on 100 days. Manfred said he had to postpone the first two series of the season, acknowledging that there isn’t time to get a deal done and adequately prepare the players to play. If a deal can’t get done in short order, more games will be cancelled.

Both negotiating teams are flying back to New York and will regroup and try to figure out what is next. They could possibly meet as early as Thursday. The parties need to get back to the table, to salvage as much of the season as possible. The ball is in the union’s court, as the owners have proposed the last offers in every area of the CBA. 

Time is a motivator in negotiations. We saw how the two parties reacted when the clock was running out and the risk of losing games became real. The players and owners took their negotiations into extra innings on Monday into Tuesday, up to and through the midnight deadline. They were hoping for a win but, in the end, they struck out.   

Hopefully, the noise of angry fans and judgmental media will be loud enough to wake the two sides up. A labour war between millionaire players and billionaire owners is offensive to fans when inflation is rising, gas prices are skyrocketing and there is war in Ukraine. 

There are good people on both sides of this negotiation, but the perception is that they are tone-deaf to what is going on in the world. Perceptions sometimes become reality, even when it may not be accurate. This is not lost on anyone, and hopefully it will be the driving force to get something done. 

If the parties can’t get a deal done in the next several days, the noise may die down, as people get distracted by something else. But the next driving force to create a sense of urgency will be pain. The pain of the loss of income or revenues will start to sink in on both sides. Losses heaped upon losses from the shortened 2020 season, which was cut to 60 games from 162 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The pain will be greater for the millionaires than the billionaires, obviously. The union has a war chest to keep players afloat during work stoppages, but for many it won’t match their contractual income. Generally, ballplayers live to the level of their income and if that dries up in a substantial way the pain will be impactful and possibly motivational. 

Remember, every game has the same dollar value to the players. They get paid the same amount for a game they play in April as they do in September. But games in April are less valuable to the owners. Other than Opening Day, attendance numbers are lower in April because of weather conditions and schools being in session. As the weather warms, attendance numbers grow and so does revenue. The losses suffered by the players will hurt more than the losses incurred by the clubs for the first month of the season. 

My hope is that the biggest motivating factor for the two sides is that neither of them want to relive the damage done to the game when the players went on strike in August of 1994, resulting in the loss of the playoffs that year and part of the 1995 season as well. They need to understand that making a deal may be better than winning the deal. At some point winning could come at a cost greater than the benefits of the victory. 

The fans are angry, and they should be. It is actually a good thing that the fans are mad. The danger comes if they become apathetic and disinterested. A fan booing is just waiting to cheer. A fan that is quiet may be lost forever. 

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US Soccer announces both men and women will split the prize money from FIFA

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Atlanta, United States of America (USA)- The US Soccer Federation (USSF) has announced soccer players representing the United States men’s and women’s national teams will receive the same pay and prize money, including at World Cups.

Under the new deals, which run through 2028 and cover the next four World Cups, dozens of top men’s and women’s players have been told in internal presentations that they can expect to collect average annual payouts of about US$450 000 from the USSF and potentially more than double that in successful World Cup years.

The deal also encompasses other areas such as child care, parental leave, short-term disability, mental health impairment, travel and equal quality of venues and field playing surfaces.

“This is a truly historic moment. The first Federation in the world to equalize FIFA World Cup prize money. These agreements have changed the game forever here in the United States and have the potential to change the game around the world.

US Soccer and the USWNT (United States Women’s National Soccer Team) and USMNT (United States Men’s National Soccer Team) players have reset their relationship with these new agreements and are leading us forward to an incredibly exciting new phase of mutual growth and collaboration as we continue our mission to become the preeminent sport in the United States,” said USSF president, Cindy Parlow.

This latest development comes after the USSF was ordered to pay US$24 million to settle a discrimination lawsuit with a group of past and present USWNT stars.

As part of their settlement, the group of women’s players will divide US$22 million, which was around a third of what they had originally hoped to seal, with the extra US$2 million used to establish a fund that helps the players navigate their post-soccer careers and women’s sports to grow.

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Formula 1 sets 22 races for 2022 & 3 sprinting events

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London, England- Formula 1 has confirmed that there will be 22 races for the 2022 calendar and 3 sprinting events.

The move follows Formula 1’s decision to permanently cancel Russia’s race at Sochi in the wake of Russia’s military operations in Ukraine.

Formula 1 organizers cancelled the event shortly after Russia’s military operations in February leaving the original slot open as they worked through various replacement options to fit with the original schedule.

Following the cancellation, Formula 1 received plenty of interest from host venues but had to work out if any addition would prove beneficial to the schedule rather than increase costs in terms of logistics.

With the original 23-race number set to be a record for a Formula 1 season, the event organizers then decided the most efficient approach was to simply drop the race that was originally slated for September 25 and leave two weeks between the previous three-straight slate in Europe and the following back-to-back weekends in Singapore and Japan.

Meanwhile, the number of sprint qualifying events that had been expected to be doubled to six this year will remain at three.

However, according to McLaren’s CEO, Zak Brown, Formula 1 teams are in favour of more sprints, “We tried to get six sprint races off last year, which obviously didn’t happen for this year. I think all the teams voted in favour of six sprint races now we have seen the data which tells us it creates more fan awareness, and that’s what I think is most important in growing the sport, how do our fans respond when we try new activities?”

Revised 2022 Formula 1 Calendar:

 

  1. Bahrain GP (Sakhir) March 20

 

  1. Saudi Arabian GP (Jeddah) March 27

 

  1. Australian GP (Melbourne) April 10

 

  1. Emilia Romagna GP (Imola) April 24

 

  1. Miami GP (Miami) May 8

 

  1. Spanish GP (Barcelona) May 22

 

  1. Monaco GP (Monaco) May 29

 

  1. Azerbaijan GP (Baku) June 12

 

  1. Canadian GP (Montreal) June 19

 

  1. British GP (Silverstone) July 3

 

  1. Austrian GP (Spielberg) July 10

 

  1. French GP (Paul Ricard) July 24

 

  1. Hungarian GP (Budapest) July 31

 

  1. Belgian GP (Spa) August 28

 

  1. Dutch GP (Zandvoort) September 4

 

  1. Italian GP (Monza) September 11

 

  1. Singapore GP (Marina Bay) October 2

 

  1. Japanese GP (Suzuka) October 9

 

  1. United States GP (Austin) October 23

 

  1. Mexico City GP (Mexico City) October 30

 

  1. Sao Paulo GP (Interlagos) November 13

 

  1. Abu Dhabi GP (Yas Marina) November 20

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CFL strike ends after league, players reach tentative agreement on new CBA – TSN

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The first Canadian Football League strike in nearly 40 years ended Wednesday night, opening the door for the full resumption of training camps and the first on-time start to the regular season since 2019.

The CFL and the CFL Players’ Association reached a tentative seven-year deal on a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) Wednesday, less than 96 hours after the strike began when talks broke off.

Monday’s preseason game in Saskatchewan between the Roughriders and Winnipeg Blue Bombers is being rescheduled – an announcement is expected on Thursday – but in terms of actual casualties because of this labour stoppage, that’s it.

The end result is a deal – which still has to be ratified by the league’s board of governors and CFLPA members – that produces measureable gains for the players in several areas including health and safety, revenue sharing, salary cap, and guaranteed contracts.

There are tangible measures to slow player turnover, which has long been a CFL problem ignored in collective bargaining.

The big question mark economically is how meaningful the revenue sharing formula will prove to be for the players, and whether they will truly be able to share in any league prosperity.

There is always much debate about the state of the business in Canadian football, but this deal suggests that not all is doom and gloom. Coming off two years in which the league suffered massive losses from a lost 2020 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic and significant ones off a reduced 14-game schedule in 2021, the CFL did not bargain like a league that was on its last legs.

It provided minimum annual increases to the salary cap that are double those prescribed in the last CBA. And the league signed a deal that provides far more than what’s been given in recent memory. All of which suggests there must be some optimism about what lies ahead, barely a year after the CFL parted ways with the idea of merging with the XFL.

So if there was so much ‘give’ from the owners side on this deal, what did they owners ‘get’ in return?

Essentially, besides the term of the deal, the league gained flexibility for its teams in how the league’s ratio of Canadians is applied. The CFL ratio is always the most hotly debated, misunderstood and controversial aspect of Canadian football – people tend to love it or hate it.

The league itself tends to love it … well, sort of.

There’s never been an intent to eliminate the league’s quota for 21 Canadian players on every roster, seven of whom have to be starters.

But reduce it? Sure, the league’s always been open to that and the players’ association has always opposed it.

The uncomfortable truth in all of this is reducing the ratio improves the quality of the game, and improving the quality of the game is something with which the league has become acutely concerned about of late. That’s not a knock on Canadians. It’s just a recognition that the numbers of players in the United States far, far, far outnumber those north of the border.

The sides came up with a solution that preserves the seven Canadian starters but provides for more flexibility for coaches to use American players than they would have been able to in the past. Specifically, veteran American players, those who’ve spent at least three years with their team or five in the league, will be allowed to play as Canadians in some circumstances.

That not only is going to put more of the best players on the field, it’s going to give additional value to American veterans, which slows roster turnover, another key issue this agreement effectively addresses.

Players have a strong incentive to re-sign with their teams, since that allows up to 50 per cent of the final years of their contracts to be guaranteed.

Overall, both the movement of players from team-to-team and out of the league should slow, which is a true win-win for players, fans and general managers.

It’s hard to imagine what the world of Canadian football will be like in 2029, when the new CBA expires.

No doubt much will have changed.

The league is marching into that future with a new collective bargaining agreement that addresses many longstanding issues in the CFL.

Who wins on the business side is hard to say, given all the uncertainties that lie ahead.

But right now all that matters to most is that collective bargaining has been put to bed and the CFL is finally ready to embark on a full season of football.

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