Major League Soccer never finalized the labor contract it operated under for the last five years, reports the Associated Press.
MLS and its players reached a memorandum of understanding five days before the 2010 season was to begin, but never drafted a complete collective bargaining agreement. The MOU listed the modifications from the previous contract that each side agreed to.
The report comes after players and the league agreed in principle on a new labor deal last week that will run through 2019.
"There were dozens of little things in the conversion that would have been required, and neither side ever took the time to get the other to sit down and actually do it. It was that simple. It wasn't all that important," L. Robert Batterman, the league's lead labor lawyer at Proskauer, told The Associated Press on Wednesday. "This time, to avoid the risk of being in a situation with a CBA from 10 years ago and then two MOUs, we're going straight to the CBA."
Major League Baseball ran into a similar issue during its 1980 labor talks, ultimately operating under a 1981 agreement on free-agent compensation and a 1985 MOU from 1985 to '89.
MLS' new deal created free agency for the first time, allowing players 28 and older to hit the mark if they have eight seasons of service when their contracts expire. It also increased minimum salaries, but cut the roster size of each time from 30 to 28.
- Mike Fiammetta