Just like it was done in 2010, MLS and its players will hire a mediator to help them through their on-going Collective Bargaining Agreement talks, according to a report on ESPNFC.com.
The mediator is employed the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service and will help reach an agreement.
In 2010, FMCS meditator George Cohen was brought in, and his presence was widely hailed as being critical to the two sides reaching an agreement. The FMCS spokesman did not specify which mediator would be involved this time around.
The presence of a mediator can be viewed as a positive step, though mediation shouldn't be confused with arbitration. An arbitrator's decisions are binding, whereas a mediator is intended to act as an impartial observer, and act as a go-between in order to help the two sides reach an agreement.
This has to be taken as a positive step that the two sides do indeed want to avoid any work stoppage for the 20th season in league history. Just like the report said however, both sides could still walk away from the table at any point if talks don't go their way. Players have already come out publicly that they are willing to strike if need be.
The big talking points that will need to be ironed out are free agency and player compensation.
What do you all make of the FMCS getting involved with the two sides here?