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Not So Super?

Goff here. Nice to be back among the loyalists.

As the Insider was first to tell you in this story last summer, the amount of SuperLiga winnings earmarked to MLS players is only a portion of the $1 million grand prize that the league likes to trumpet at every opportunity in promoting this non-binding tournament. If an MLS team wins the title, $150,000 is divided among as many as 28 players. If distributed equally (and that's a very big if), each share is worth $5,357.14. A runner-up club receives $100K, a semifinal loser $50K.

Today, as we prepare for the start of SuperLiga II, the MLS players' union has issued a statement regarding bonuses available to membership:

"MLS is misleading its great fans. What has not been revealed by the league is that its New York office has unilaterally set its own bonus structure for players, who will receive only a small fraction of the $1 million. On top of that, the league has gone even further by prohibiting its teams from providing their own bonus pool for their players, despite the fact that this right is protected under the league's CBA. The Union has filed a grievance regarding this issue, which will be arbitrated later this year."
"As a result, if an MLS team wins SuperLiga the players on that team won't split $1 million. Instead, they will receive only 15% of the prize money. This puts MLS players at a significant competitive disadvantage as the Mexican clubs are not operating under the same rules. Indeed, it is our understanding that the players on last year's winner Pachuca split the entire $1 million prize amongst themselves."
"Given the time and travel requirements and injury risk for players, the prize money at stake (which MLS has consistently touted in the press), and the revenue generated through home games, it is entirely reasonable for players to expect a larger bonus pool. The Union and the players participating in this tournament believe that SuperLiga is a great tournament and hope that it will be around for a long time. It's a shame that MLS doesn't pay its players - the persons responsible for making the tournament exciting - their fair share of the proceeds. Their refusal to do so has left the players with a bitter taste in their mouths as they enter the tournament."

With modest prize money available to MLS players, Mexican clubs in preseason form, the more important Champions League approaching and no long-term reward for the winner, remind me again why we should take SuperLiga super seriously? (For the record, I came out in favor of this tournament last year, but upon further review, now find little redeeming value in it.)

By Steve Goff  |  July 12, 2008; 12:54 PM ET
Categories:  MLS  
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Next: Matchnight SuperLiga: DCU-Chivas

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