Tuesday, January 25, 2005


Um, yes it is, Don

Nice of Don Garber to parrot the party line - I just hope he really knows that he's spouting bullshit.
Labor Feud Set Aside, for Now

By Jack Bell

Was it a strike or a lockout? Is it an agreement or a truce?

The labor dispute between the United States Soccer Federation and the union representing the men's national team players was suspended and will be revisited after World Cup qualifying. Each side got something and each side claimed an interim victory Friday when 70 players filed a demand for expedited arbitration under the terms of the Ted Stevens Olympic and Amateur Sports Act. The sides will return to negotiations Thursday with a federal mediator sitting in.

One of the act's provisions "strengthened protections for U.S. athletes so that they cannot be unfairly denied the opportunity to compete," according to the Web site for Senator Ted Stevens, Republican of Alaska. The federation is also the governing body for the United States Olympic soccer teams.

The players agreed to return to training camp to prepare for a match Feb. 9 at Trinidad and Tobago, agreed to a no-strike clause through 2005 and accepted the federation's financial proposal, which will increase payments to the players by 38 percent through the end of the year. The federation agreed that the terms of any new negotiated contract would be retroactive to January 2003, which is a change from the proposal that helped start the imbroglio.

So who won?

"Having the players back on the field is good for everybody," Don Garber, the commissioner of Major League Soccer and a member of the federation's executive committee, said in a telephone interview. "But qualifying isn't any more important than the federation's other priorities. It's not just about qualifying, but the overall development of the sport."
No, no, no! For the next year or so, qualifying is not just "more important than the federation's other priorities" - it's the federation's only priority! US Soccer could do everything else right - everything else brilliantly - everything else perfectly - and if the USMNT doesn't qualify for Germany 2006, the entire soccer community in this country will not give a shit. Conversely, if the US qualifies for Germany 2006, no one will care if the federation irremediably screwed up its "other priorities."

Okay, they have the best players in camp, and even with just a short training time, under the brilliant coaching of The Bruce, we should get at least a point in Trinidad.

Still, the fact that US Soccer was willing to fuck up everything in order to face down the players scares the shit out of me. It indicates that maybe they don't think they're spouting bullshit when they say that all their priorities are of equal value. And if they can't figure it out, what else are they fucking up?
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