Former England forward Wayne Rooney says that American players in the Major League Soccer are underpaid as the league heads towards negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement this winter.
Rooney linked up with DC United in 2018 and is set to conclude his stay in the MLS after the end of the current season.
The former Manchester United and Everton striker will head back to England in January to join Sky Bet Championship club, Derby County.
The league’s existing collective bargaining agreement is due to expire on Jan. 31, 2020, with players having previously threatened to strike before a final-hour deal during the last negotiations in 2015.
This time around, the focus is on increased salaries, better travel accommodations and increased player movement, having secured a limited form of free agency during the last set of negotiations four years ago.
With players still flying on non-charter flights and being paid in accordance with the league’s salary cap structure, Rooney says he believes MLS players deserve more than what they are currently getting.
“I feel that American players get underpaid,” he told ESPN.
“I feel they deserve to get more money to stay in line with football in the rest of the world but also in terms of the American sports.
“I’m not saying it to benefit me, I obviously won’t be in the league next season. I think it’s only fair to those players who are putting in the same work as all have to earn the right to earn more money for doing it.”
He added: “I think the flight issues, in terms of you get so many chartered flights, I believe if a team wants chartered flights than they should be able to charter as many they want. They should be able to do whatever they want with that.”