Arbitration is never a pleasant (or terribly productive) exercise for the parties involved, which is probably why fewer than 10% of the potential cases ever see the hearing room. The system is pretty straight forward:
- The Player and the Club submit filing numbers, which are then exchanged a few weeks in advance of a hearing.
- The player and the Club may continue to negotiate (in fact, they can strike a deal all the way up to and even AFTER the hearing if it's before the decision).
- If no agreement is reached, the parties will go into a hearing in front of a panel of three arbitrators.
- Both sides present their case to the panel and follow up with a round of rebuttals and a round of surrebuttals.
- The panel deliberates for up to 24 hours before rendering a decision.
- The panel has two choices - the Player's number or the Club's numbers - there is no middle ground.
Once again, I have to point out that there was something even more important that happened today than the Heath Bell signing. I heard there was something going on in Washington, DC, but my older son wouldn't know anything about that. He only knows that today is his 5th birthday, and he's pretty excited about it. I am, too.