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Will Dell Loy Hansen need to open up his checkbook? Time will tell.
Real Salt Lake's owner voiced his opinion strongly on the ongoing Collective Bargaining Agreement conversations between Major League Soccer and the MLS Players Union Wednesday during his appearance on RSL's radio station, ESPN700, an opinion that may cost him a hefty fine.
Hansen said last week he receives a weekly letter from MLS Commissioner Don Garber warning of a $250,000 fine if owners are too outspoken about the ongoing CBA discussions. On Wednesday, Hansen steered away from that warning, saying the Union's desire to implement free agency is "one of those real waste-of-time conversations."
"There is some great agreement everyone can reach, but every time I read, 'We're going to work on free agency, well, that's one of those real waste-of-time conversations," Hansen said on ESPN700. "I think everyone is intense on it. I know that the league and the owners are seriously looking at that."
The statement comes as the two sides met in New York City this week in order to try and hash out an agreement now eight days away from the 2015 MLS season opener scheduled for March 6 when defending MLS Cup champion L.A. Galaxy hosts Chicago Fire in Carson, Calif.
Hansen said Wednesday he believes the offers to the Union from the league have been fair.
"The perennial issue [from the players] is that, 'We want free agency,' but that can't exist where everyone's employed by the same employer," Hansen said, referring to MLS' single-entity system. "How do you have free agency when you're going to go talk to yourself at the next employer?"
The comments from RSL's owner could bring a significant fine this time around.
"That's a go-nowhere conversation," Hansen continued. "When you look at all the owners [in MLS], they've all been in pro basketball, baseball, football and that was the one thing they all vowed they'd never do is go through that again."
On Tuesday, RSL goalkeeper Nick Rimando the club's Union representative confirmed what has been widely reported from the player's side of things this offseason: The Union wants free agency, and if that isn't going to be entertained from the league, the players will strike.
"We're more united than we've ever been," Rimando told the Tribune after a preseason training session in Tucson, Ariz. "When the work strike comes up, I believe it this time. I believe the players are ready, I believe our lawyers have prepared us well and it's a [more] real feeling than in past years."
To listen to Hansen's entire interview, click here.