Major League Soccer players have ratified an amended collective bargaining agreement after the league and the union avoided a lockout by striking a deal that runs through the 2027 season.

The MLS Board of Governors also approved the agreement Monday.

“MLS players have made incredible sacrifices and overcome considerable challenges in the past year to continue doing their jobs during a difficult time for all of us,” the Major League Soccer Players Association said in a statement. “We owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to our player leadership for continuing to guide us during these unprecedented times.”

The agreement reached Friday night gives the players their full salaries this season and extends the current CBA for two seasons. The union had proposed a one-year extension through 2026.

Starting in 2026, eligible free agents must be at least 24 years old with a minimum of four years of experience in the league, one year less than in the prior CBA. The amount that free agents can earn will also increase in the final two years of the agreement.


The new CBA also includes overall raises for players in each of the two added years to the deal.

The league had invoked a force majeure clause in late December to reopen negotiations over the current CBA, citing ongoing uncertainty because of the COVID-19 crisis.

Major League Soccer has said it lost nearly $1 billion last season, due in part to the pandemic as teams played in mostly empty stadiums and with increased costs for testing and charter flights. The league said it expects similar losses this year.

RONALDO: A U.S. appeals court is letting a federal judge in Nevada decide claims by a woman suing soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo over a $375,000 rape case hush-money settlement reached more than a decade ago.

U.S. District Judge Jennifer Dorsey said last September she would decide whether Kathryn Mayorga was mentally fit to enter the confidentiality agreement with Ronaldo’s representatives in 2010. Mayorga’s attorney, Leslie Mark Stovall, appealed part of Dorsey’s ruling that said a dispute over the legality of the agreement was eligible for arbitration. The ruling also allowed Ronaldo’s attorneys keep documents out of the case and stated that the case was not eligible for a jury trial.

The order by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco was dated Jan. 13 and an attorney for Ronaldo in Las Vegas, Peter Christiansen, declined comment Monday about the case being returned to Dorsey. Stovall did not immediately respond to telephone and email messages seeking comment.


The Associated Press generally doesn’t name people who say they are victims of sexual assault, but Mayorga gave consent through Stovall in 2018 to be identified.

Mayorga, now 37, is a former teacher and model who lives in the Las Vegas area. Stovall acknowledges she received money not to talk about meeting Ronaldo at a Las Vegas nightclub in 2009 and going with him and other people to his hotel suite where she alleges he sexually assaulted her in a bedroom. She was 25 at the time. He was 24.

Mayorga went public with the account in a lawsuit filed by Stovall in Nevada state court in September 2018. The case was moved to federal court a few months later.



The U.S. Olympic wrestling trials won’t be held at the Bryce Jordan Center at Penn State because of COVID-19 restrictions on attendance. The trials were originally scheduled for April 2020 but weren’t held because of the postponement of the 2020 Tokyo Games.


USA Wrestling said early April remains the target date for the trials and a new site should be announced soon. Spokesman Gary Abbott said a change in venue became necessary because capacity at the Bryce Jordan Center would be capped at 500 in the arena and 150 in the practice gym. Abbott said that capacity would not accommodate the participants, let alone spectators.

As part of an agreement with Penn State, the 2024 wrestling trials will be held at the Bryce Jordan Center.


INDOOR TRACK: A teenager from Michigan set a record for the fastest indoor mile by a high school runner, USA Track & Field said.

Hobbs Kessler finished in 3:57.66 Sunday at the American Track League meet in Fayetteville, Arkansas, USATF said. Kessler, a student at Skyline High School in Ann Arbor, beat the previous record of 3:57.81 set by Drew Hunter in 2016.

Kessler finished third in the race behind former Olympian Nick Willis and winner Takieddine Hedeilli of Texas Tech. Kessler, who plans to run at Northern Arizona, finished second in the Michigan cross country championship last fall.



BREEDERS’ CUP: The Breeders’ Cup is delaying ticket sales for this year’s world championships in Southern California because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The two-day event is set for Nov. 5-6 at Del Mar racetrack, north of San Diego. Breeders’ Cup officials said Monday that ticket sales are being delayed until they have “greater clarity” on the ever-changing situation involving COVID-19.

Officials says it’s their “strong intent” to host fans for the event. Southern California has been especially hard-hit during the pandemic. Last year’s event at Keeneland in Kentucky did not include spectators.

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