Baseball: Players seek solution: Strike settlement plan proposed

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MAJOR LEAGUE baseball club owners are considering a proposal from the striking players' union aimed at breaking the deadlock in their stalled contract talks and salvaging the current season. The proposal was a last-minute attempt to avert yesterday's deadline set by the owners to cancel the rest of the season if no agreement was reached.

The owners' negotiating committee said in a brief statement that they would review the newly received proposal overnight and would respond quickly to the union. 'I think there will either be an indication that there isn't much purpose in going forward or we will be discussing something serious, with a possible solution,' Donald Fehr, the players' union chief, said.

The players' proposal calls for a payroll tax of 1 1/2 -2 per cent, a revenue tax at a similar rate and for clubs to split 25 per cent of gate receipts. Sixteen clubs would contribute 'tax' revenue to the other 12. The union suggested that clubs be required to maintain minimum payroll levels and that teams be prohibited from receiving money under the tax plan for more than three consecutive years.

Currently, American League teams share 20 per cent of their gate receipts while National League teams share just 4 per cent.

The players hope that if there is enough common ground on which to negotiate, the owners' deadline, issued by Bud Selig, the acting commissioner, could be extended.