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Garber: No plans for pro/rel any time soon
by Paul Kennedy, September 4th, 2014 11:01PM
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TAGS:  fifa, mls, world cup

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[MLS SPOTLIGHT] MLS commissioner Don Garber wasn't quite as definitive as his No. 2, MLS president and deputy commissioner Mark Abbott, who said at the MLS All-Star Game it would never happen, but Garber, speaking at Thursday's Bloomberg Sports Business Summit, doesn't see promotion/relegation in U.S. pro soccer any time soon.

Garber and U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati were speaking in New York in a discussion with Bloomberg soccer reporter Tariq Panja.

"Right now, our system is very different," Garber said. "It is a franchise model. We have investors that are sharing in revenue. We have salary caps that solve the issue that promotion and relegation is trying to address, which is ultimately ensuring that everybody steps up to the plate and invests in their clubs. I certainly don't see promotion and relegation any time in the near future. What happens 50 years from now, I won't be around to worry about.”

Gulati, a Columbia University economist, said the federation won't mandate a change in structure as it is not in the business of "expropriating assets."

“Don's touched on it," he said. "When the system came into play in Europe and the rest of the world, that was the agreement coming in. So if you're an owner and you buy into a system right now and you pay X amount of dollars to get in, and the rules of the game change the next day, essentially expropriating assets that were worth X -- that's not something we're going to be doing.”

On other soccer topics ...

-- Garber said MLS would stick to the current single-entity structure: “The great benefit of that is we have control over how we spend our money and try to marry it to our revenues, so we have a business that makes sense. Something, by the way, that UEFA is trying to do with Financial Fair Play. Our structure has been working very well to get us to the point that we are today. We have 19 teams. When I came in 15 years ago, we had 12. We have a goal to have 24 teams by the end of the decade.”

-- Gulati said the USA would like to host the World Cup again but reiterated that changes in the bidding process must be made: "In the next couple of weeks, we'll have an indication of some comments about that process. Whatever comes out of that, I think you'll see some improvements that will have gone through the World Cup bidding process. The IOC went through this [with the Olympics], FIFA's gone through this, I think there's still more to be done."

-- Gulati said there was no single thing MLS or U.S. Soccer could do to capitalize on the popularity of the 2014 World Cup. And the same thing went for producing a world-class American star. He did say that player would come along but added the USA needed to produce several to win the World Cup.

-- Garber said MLS was now spending more money on academies than it did on player salaries five years ago.


7 comments
  1. R2 Dad
    commented on: September 5, 2014 at midnight
    Pro/Rel is not a voluntary solution for MLS, but there will come a day that promotion/relegation (as part of some merger activity) will be the lesser of evils.
  1. Michael Borga
    commented on: September 5, 2014 at 9:01 a.m.
    NFL swallowing the AFL, NBA absorbing the ABA are the primary examples of why Pro/Rel will never happen in the US.
  1. Joey Tremone
    commented on: September 5, 2014 at 11:10 a.m.
    What's the other evil it's lesser than?
  1. Bruce Moorhead
    commented on: September 5, 2014 at 1:53 p.m.
    Pro/rel will happen in the US. It may take another 20years, but we are now seeing way more than 24 cities that want a first division team. We can't have 40 teams in MLS - there has to be a cap. When we have 50-60 cities in the US and Canada with soccer specific 20,000 seat venues, promo/rel will look very attractive. For those who say it will never happen, those same people were saying in 1986 that the US will never have another pro soccer league and will never host a World Cup!
  1. Santiago 1314
    commented on: September 5, 2014 at 9:53 p.m.
    @Sunil,, It only Takes ONE, maybe Two, Not Several...**RE-Posts**FROM comments on: July 1 & 2, 2014….Hugo Perez, Tab Ramos, Klopas, Harkes, Vermes, Balboa,. Dooley, Wynalda, Lalas, Reyna, Stewart, Kobi Jones,.. Which of Today's team would you pick over them..??? Doesn't anyone see that we haven't come anywhere in almost 30 years??? Sad... Only Yedlin, Fabian.. USA GKs, you are ALL Unbelievable!!! Reyna/Harkes or Bradley ??? Dempsey or Donovan/Perez??? McBride/Wynalda or Altidore??? Today's crop of players is No Better than 20 years ago.. I think overall level might be a little better, but Not the Key Players, at the Key Moments.. Maybe Bradley/Dempsey would have done Better if they weren't forced to play out of position.. And that's JKs fault for not Selecting REa Sub for Altidore…. Fact is; we are no better off than we were under Lothar, Bob G., Steve, Bora, Bruce, Bob B., JK… Some years a little better, some years a little worse…..30 years and No Improvement to Show… A VERY Marginal rise across the board, but still NO Game Breaking Player… Good thing is; NFL Parity has set into World Soccer and the Rest of the World has COME DOWN to our Level, Except for a few Exceptional Game Breakers… Messi, Robben, Alexis, Ronaldo, James, Neymar, Lukaku, Muller,… The other 9 players on the Field could change Jerseys and YOU WOULDN’T NOTICE THE DIFFERENCE …!!!! All the US lacks is a Game Breaker….
  1. Santiago 1314
    commented on: September 5, 2014 at 11:39 p.m.
    At some point,SOON the Weight of Success will mean, 40-60 MLS Caliber teams/Stadiums...The Outcry for Pro/Rel will be Overwhelming...
  1. Lou vulovich
    commented on: September 6, 2014 at 4:29 a.m.
    Santiago. Very well put, the only disagreement I have is this is not JK fault as I am sure he wishes to have 50 more young players to pick from. This is the failure of the USA soccer development and the MLS youth development or should I say lack of. They all think the US version of Messi will suddenly appear., or as they like to say we need a LaBron. In soccer.,

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