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By ESPN Staff

MLS season to go ahead after strike averted

Major League Soccer and the MLS Players Union have averted a strike five days before the start of the 2010 season, the two parties announced on Saturday.

MLS commissioner Don Garber and MLSPU executive director Bob Foose announced that they have reached agreement in principle on the terms of a new Collective Bargaining Agreement covering five seasons, commencing with the 2010 season and continuing through to December 31, 2014.

MLSPU members had voted for strike action to begin at the start of the League's 15th season next Thursday if the talks had not produced a new CBA.

The previous CBA had expired at the end of the 2009 season with players' representatives demanding more freedom of movement within MLS and guaranteed contracts among other things.

"The Union is happy with this agreement as it addresses the core issue of players' rights and we look forward to working co-operatively with the League going forward,'' said Foose.

Los Angeles Galaxy forward Landon Donovan had joined the talks following his return to the United States at the end of his loan spell with Everton.

The US international said: "We have a deep appreciation for the commitment shown by the owners both historically and through this process to make MLS one of the top leagues in the world.''

MLS commissioner Garber said: "This new agreement allows us to work with our players to continue our mutual efforts to build the sport of soccer in North America.

"We worked hard during the past few months to develop a new agreement that addressed many of the players' most important issues and look forward to a meaningful and productive new relationship over the next five years.''

The new MLS season is set to kick off on Thursday when new club Philadelphia Union travels to the Seattle Sounders before the other 14 clubs begin their campaigns next weekend.

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