John Henry in crisis talks as FSG faces major headache away from Liverpool

John Henry and Fenway Sports Group have a headache they have to contend with across the Atlantic.

As well as owning LiverpoolThe Boston Red Sox baseball team also forms a major part of FSG Sports EmpireAnd, great value at that.

But a stalemate has been reached with Major League Baseball, teams and the Players Association raising some doubts about the MLB 2022 campaign and when it might start.

For the first time in 26 years, MLB faces shutdown after a labor dispute stemming from the termination of its latest collective bargaining agreement Wednesday night.

The CBA is there to look after the interests of the players and certify things from meal allowances and travel protocols to salary limits and how team revenue is shared.

Since the first CBA was introduced in Major League Baseball in 1968, there have been eight instances of labor disputes, some of which involved strikes that actually wiped out the entire post-season.

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Henry, as a member of the MLB Labor Policy Committee, played a key role in conversations at the Dallas hotel yesterday with the players’ union, where MLB owners were present, which continued long into the night, and with both the team’s Owners League and Major League Baseball Players’ Association Still far apart in reaching any kind of agreement, the streak of avoiding downtime has come to an end.

The problem lies with the players, the MLBPA members, who want a greater share of the revenue that MLB has been making since the last CBA agreement.

MLB revenue, excluding the 2020 season that was hit hard by COVID-19, has risen from just over $9 billion in 2016 to $10.4 billion in 2019, something that is set to continue rising once the sport moves itself entirely out of the chaos. . due to the epidemic.

The competitive balance tax (CBT) found in baseball has not kept pace with rising revenue, with CBT, while being used to try to keep league teams competitive, having also helped the teams keep payroll costs low.

The CBA expired on December 1 and there is now a threat to start spring training, or indeed the start of the 2022 campaign, after the owners decided to try to expedite the process by forcing them to take off-season work in order to give them the best chance of resuming regular service in time for the season. new, thus reducing any impact on revenue.

The MLB 2021 campaign, with the Red Sox narrowly missing out on the world championships, ended just over a month ago when the Atlanta Braves won the world title.

In an open letter to baseball fansMLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said: “I am deeply disappointed about the situation our game finds itself in today.

“Despite the league doing its best to strike a deal with the players union, we were unable to extend our 26-year history of labor peace and reach an agreement with the MLBPA before the current CBA expired. Therefore, we had to start a major league player shutdown, effective at 12 :01 a.m. ET on Dec. 2.

“Simply put, we believe a non-seasonal shutdown is the best mechanism to protect the 2022 season. We hope the shutdown will start negotiations and bring us to an agreement that will allow the season to start on time. This defensive shutdown was necessary because the Players Association’s vision for Major League Baseball would threaten the ability of most teams to compete. , which is simply not a viable option.

“From the beginning, the MLBPA was unwilling to move from a starting position, to compromise, or to collaborate on solutions.

“To be clear: This difficult but important step does not necessarily mean that matches will be cancelled. In fact, we are taking this step now because it accelerates the urgent need for an agreement with as many grandstands as possible to avoid damaging the 2022 season. Delaying this process even more will lead to Putting Spring Training, Opening Day and the rest of the season at even more risk – and we can’t allow an expired agreement to once again cause a season’s strike and the loss of the World Championship, as we witnessed in 1994.

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“Today is a tough day for baseball, but as I have said all year, there is a path to a fair agreement, and we will find it. I have no doubts that the league and the players share a fundamental appreciation for this game and a commitment to its fans. I remain optimistic that both sides will seize the opportunity to work together to grow the game that We love it, protect it and strengthen it. MLB is ready to work around the clock to achieve this goal. I urge the Players Association to join us at the table.”

MLB clubs were engaged in a flurry of activity regarding player acquisition and trading in the hours leading up to the deadline, anticipating that a shutdown was imminent, and how long it would last is uncertain, with spring 2022 training just 11 weeks away and both sides still miles away when It is about negotiations.

“This drastic and unnecessary measure will not affect the players’ resolve to reach a fair contract,” union president Tony Clark said in a statement.

“We remain committed to negotiating a new collective bargaining agreement that enhances competition, improves product for our fans, and enhances our membership rights and benefits.”


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