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“Bona fide offer” – where MLS gets complicated – MLS players transfer rules and timeline

One of the main shopper in 2010 MLS Expansion draft, Portland Timbers head coach John Spencer makes a face for the photographer as he blows a bubble. PHOTO by Howard C. Smith / ISIPhotos.com

One of the main shopper in 2010 MLS Expansion draft, Portland Timbers head coach John Spencer makes a face for the photographer as he blows a bubble. PHOTO by Howard C. Smith / ISIPhotos.com

 

Based on the document obtained by Soccer America, this time around because of new CBA agreement, and so called “bona fide offer” rule we will have one the most interesting and most complicated transfer period in 15 years MLS history.

 

(This material was provided to Soccer America under condition of anonymity and has yet to be officially acknowledged or released by the MLS Players Union, so there may be revisions and changing in wording. The excerpts are from a working document and should be regarded as such.)

TERMINOLOGY. The new CBA replaces reasonable with “bona fide offer” and other terms that are specified. 

Example (excerpt): 

A. “Bona Fide Offer” is an offer from MLS to an Out of Contract Player that meets the following minimum conditions: (1) for “25/4 players,” contains a first-year salary at least equal to the player’s 2010 annual base salary and for “30/8 players,” contains a first-year salary at least 5% greater than the player’s 2010 annual base salary; (2) a term of 1+1+1; (3) option year salaries that increase by at least 5% each year; (4) performance bonuses that are at least the same as the performance bonuses in the previous year of the player’s contract; (5) for purposes of Stage 1, this offer must remain open from November 30 until at least December 3 at noon EST; and (6) for purposes of Stage 2, this offer must remain open from December 8 until at least December 13 at noon EST.  

 Players older than 30 and with at least eight years of MLS experience [30/8 players] whose contracts are expiring, such as Wizards defender Jimmy Conrad, will have an opportunity to test the new system, and so can any younger player under the “25/4” category whose option has been declined. Players who fall short of the “25/4” requirements will not go into the Re-Entry Draft if their option is declined; their current team retains a right of first refusal. 

TIMELINE. Here are the proposed dates on which the various stages of player distribution are scheduled to take place (all times Eastern): 

November 22, 2010 : 1 p.m. – Trade window closes; 2 p.m. — clubs submit Expansion Draft lists of protected players; 5 p.m. – league office issues list of players available for selection by Vancouver and Portland. 

November 24, 2010: 2 p.m. – Expansion Draft; 2:30 p.m. – Official Waiver Draft list released; 3 p.m. Waiver Draft; 3:30 p.m. – Waiver Draft for players not eligible for Re-Entry Draft. 

(In the Expansion Draft, teams can protect no more than 11 players and pull one player back if one is selected. Vancouver and Portland will each select 10 players.) 

November 30, 2010: 2 p.m. – Teams notify office of players whose options they are exercising and which are being tendered Bona Fide Offers; 5 p.m. – League office sends out: 1) option exercise letters; 2) Bona Fide Offer letters; 3) e-mails to clubs and MLSPU of players whose options have not been exercised and who are not receiving Bona Fide Offers. 

Players in categories 1) and 2) will not be placed in the Re-Entry Draft; players in 3) will be included in the Re-Entry Draft unless they opt-out. 

November 30 to December 3, 2010 : Teams may sign their own Re-Entry Draft eligible players to new contracts, and conduct sign-and-trade deals. 

December 3, 2010: 11.59AM – Clubs may withdraw Bona Fide Offers tendered on Nov. 30. 2 p.m. – Blackout period (until Dec. 9) of sign-and-trade deals with their own draft-eligible players. 5 p.m. – Re-Entry Draft Stage 1 list of players issued to clubs and MLSPU. 

December 8, 2010 : 2 p.m. — Stage 1 of Re-Entry Draft. Clubs pick in same order as Waiver Draft (reverse order of 2010 finish), Vancouver 17th , Portland 18th. Draft continues until no more teams wish to make selections. Teams cannot pick their own draft-eligible players. 5 p.m. – Players picked in Stage 1 are notified by the league office.

The priority order for the Re-Entry Draft is reverse order of finish in 2010, taking into account playoff performance.

Available to all teams in Stage 1 of the Re-Entry draft on December 8 will be:

  1. Players who are at least 23 years old and have a minimum of three years experience in MLS whose options were not exercised by their clubs (available at option salary for 2011).
  2. Players who are at least 25 years old with a minimum of four years of MLS experience who are out of contract and whose club does not wish to re-sign them at their previous salary (available at 2010 salary).
  3. Players who are at least 30 years old with a minimum of eight years of MLS experience who are out of contract and whose club does not wish to re-sign them (available for at least 105% of their 2010 salary).

Players who are not selected in Stage 1 of the Re-Entry Draft will be made available in Stage 2 on December 15. Clubs selecting players in Stage 2 will negotiate a new salary with the player.

Players who remain unselected after Stage 2 will be available to any MLS club on a first come, first serve basis.

At MLSsoccer.com, a complete outline of the Re-Entry Draft rules can be found along with a story about the process with comments from MLS Executive Vice President Todd Durbin

December 9-13, 2010: League attempts to sign players not selected in Stage 1. Blackout period is lifted and teams may again attempt to re-sign their Re-Entry Draft eligible players, and conduct sign-and-trade deals. 

December 13, 2010: Noon – Teams may withdraw their Bona Fide Offers; 2 p.m. – Re-Entry Draft Stage 2 list issued. Blackout period imposed during which players may not re-sign their own draft-eligible players. 

December 15, 2010: 2 p.m. – Stage 2 Re-Entry Draft continues until all teams decline to make further selections. A player not under contract selected in Stage 2 must be made an offer by the club (and approved by the league) within seven days. 

If this is not complicated enough for you, or you need more details please read FULL STORY by Ridge Mahoney in Soccer America 

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