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MLS's Garber To Explain Financial Stability To Europeans

  • AP, Tuesday, October 6, 2009 3 PM
This week MLS Commissioner Don Garber will present the case for financial controls like salary caps and spending limits at the "Leaders of Football" conference in London. "I hope to present some of the experiences we have had in the MLS and in other leagues as perhaps, if not blueprint, a guide as European soccer starts looking at financial fair play," Garber said. "That is the key driver to the stability that exists in our major leagues - and there is tremendous stability in American sport. I'm not so sure that same stability exists in soccer around the world."

UEFA has started to take steps to curb clubs' reckless spending. New rules would require clubs to break even and spend only what they earn from soccer-related income such as ticket sales and broadcast contracts. MLS has survived and thrived because of its financial restrictions. The league subjects each team to a $2.3 million salary cap. A Designated Player, such as the Los Angeles Galaxy's David Beckham, can have only $415,000 of his salary count against the cap. Such financial parity has given MLS significant competitive parity. The league has seen six different champions since its inception in 1996, while the English Premier league has seen only three during the same time.

Garber says that "different rules" govern clubs' expenditures in other countries, but MLS requires savvy and regulated financial investment to survive in its unique niche in the American sports environment. "We tend to be very sophisticated about the business of sport and that sophistication has led to great success," Garber said. "The rest of the world tries to look at it to get a better understanding of sport, particularly as European soccer continues to (grapple) with the wealth gap. We still remain a niche sport and we have to make sure we are managing our business to be financially viable and long-term success is the key goal -- that may or may not be the same objective that exists in Spain."


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