Bafana Bafana’s US-based midfielder Kamohelo Mokotjo and the rest of the MLS players could be hit with pay cuts this year.
Media reports emanating from the US are that the MLS has told the players union that it will trigger a “force majeure” clause in the agreement signed in January with the players’ union because the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic has cost the MLS nearly $1 billion (R15 billion) this year.
According to Reuters, the MLS avoided a lockout in June when the players ratified the bargaining agreement, which contained a 5% pay cut for players and a force majeure clause, which the league invoked to compel players and the league now to renegotiate the deal for 30 days.
Mokotjo plays for FC Cincinnati, whom he joined from English side Brentford, as a free agent in August after his contract with the Championship club was not renewed.
“Unfortunately, based on the assessment of public health officials, it is clear that the impact of Covid-19 and the restrictions on attendance at sporting events will continue into the new MLS season,” MLS president and deputy commissioner Mark Abbott said in a statement.
“We recognise the impact that the pandemic has had on our players and appreciate their efforts to restart and complete this season.
“Like the other leagues in the US and Canada, MLS needs to address the ongoing challenges caused by the pandemic and will engage in good faith discussions with our players about ways to manage the significant economic issues we are facing,” Abbott said.
Like most leagues around the world, the MLS suspended competition in March in response to the Covid-19 outbreak.
The league resumed in July in a bio-bubble before the regular season in got underway in August.
The drastic measures of playing matches behind closed doors because of health and safety measures, has resulted in a huge loss of revenue for most clubs around the globe.
The MLS relies heavily on attendances and had already incurred the added expenses of completing a delayed season in the bio-bubble at Disney World.
Mokotjo made nine appearances for Cincinnati, including six starts.
The MLS is divided into two streams of 27 clubs, the Western (13) and Eastern Conference (14) and does not have promotion and relegation.
Mokotjo (29) campaigns in the Eastern Conference and his side, who are coached by Dutch legend Jaap Stam, finished bottom of the 14-team structure.
Former Bafana defender Bradley Carnell is an assistant coach at New York Red Bulls, who are in the same stream as Mokotjo’s club. They finished sixth.