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MISL Players Are Given April 15 Deadline

February 27, 1988|MARC APPLEMAN | Times Staff Writer

SAN DIEGO — The Major Indoor Soccer League Board of Directors has officially set an April 15 deadline--two days before the Sockers' final regular-season game--for the Players' Assn. to reduce their salary cap from $1.275 million per team to $898,000 for the 1988-89 and 1989-90 seasons.

If the proposal is not accepted by the Players' Assn., the league said it will terminate in June.

That $898,000 includes $850,000 for 18 professional players and $12,000 per year for each of four amateur/developmental contracts. All guaranteed no-cut, no-trade contracts and all bonuses must also be eliminated.

There was immediate reaction to Friday's announcement.

- Socker star midfielder Branko Segota says he is not going to accept a pay cut from his salary of nearly $200,000 a year and is going to look into playing outdoor soccer in Europe.

- Socker front office employees were told by Ron Cady, the team president, to expect pay cuts, possibly as much as a third of their salaries.

- Cady said the Sockers' 14 limited partners were asked for a capital infusion in the past two weeks, and "we've had an indication from several partners that they're not contributing any more money." Cady would not disclose names.

- Ron Newman, the Socker coach, said he has told his team and management he is willing to take a cut from his yearly salary of about $100,000. "It needs to be done so we can get going again," Newman said.

San Diego players will discuss the league's proposal at a meeting Tuesday, but Segota said he will not take a cut if asked.

"It's something I will have to deal with," Segota said. "But it's not my fault. I took cuts when I came here (from Golden Bay to the Sockers). You can't go backward. Everyone has the same bargaining power. Everyone negotiates their own contract."

Segota signed a three-year guaranteed contract, worth about $650,000, before this season.

"They're forcing the better players to leave," Segota said. "They will have no incentive to play."

Segota, 26, the Sockers' leading scorer and one of the league's young superstars, had contemplated playing outdoors in Europe before signing his new contract. He said Friday he will consider that option again or continue to play for the Sockers under his current contract.

"If there is a league, they have to honor my contract," Segota said.

Finances also were the topic of discussion in the Socker front office.

"Ron Cady addressed the staff this morning," said Randy Bernstein, Socker vice president. "He made mention to us in regard to belt-tightening in other areas as well, and that includes the front office. As far as anything particular, it's an internal matter . . .

"The front office doesn't expect it to be just the players. We're all in it together."

Said Cady: "I asked employees within the organization to step forward and volunteer. I told them that at the conclusion of the season, both Ron Fowler and I have made it clear we will be taking cost-effective measures."

The current MISL collective bargaining agreement went into effect with the 1986-87 season and runs through the end of next season.

In addition to lowering the salary cap to $898,000 per team and the elimination of guaranteed contracts and bonuses, the proposed eight-point guidelines also include:

- The MISLPA will devise the formula for allocation of the $850,000 for each of the team's 18 professionals.

- Each team will increase the amount, currently $250,000, of its irrevocable letter of credit to the league.

- The league will create a trust from expansion revenues over the next two seasons to provide for emergency financing. The trust will be administered by the MISL and the Players' Assn.

- Each team will be entitled to sign one new foreign player per year. Under the existing agreement, the three teams with the worst records are entitled to sign two players for the next season.

- The MISL will increase its players playoff pool from $100,000 to $220,000. The money is to be split among teams making the playoffs.

- Player agents will be registered through the MISLPA.

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