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MLS to Consider Schedule Shift to Accommodate FIFA

  • AP , Monday, October 12, 2009 5 PM
To improve the weight for American bids for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, Major League Soccer is exploring ways to better align itself with soccer's international calendar and standards. Namely, FIFA president Sepp Blatter has long stated that MLS needs to switch to Europe's August-May schedule, rather than its current March-October timeline.

"We have to manage our league in a way so that we can continue this careful growth, but at the same time satisfy the requests and - in many cases - the requirements of the world governing body,'' MLS commissioner Don Garber told The Associated Press. "FIFA's goal is to work with us to turn this country into valuable soccer nation and a passionate one. In order to do that our league does need to be closer to the sport internationally.'' Garber suggested the difficulty of achieving this goal in such a vast and chilly country. "We play across a continent of 300 million people, across three time zones and weather that varies from zero to 30 degrees at any given point,'' Garber said. "It's impossible to think we can be playing games in December outdoor in Toronto or Boston or New York or Denver where it can be well below freezing with a foot of snow on the ground. So we have to evolve to get closer to that calendar."

Garber suggested that building stadiums with roofs could provide an answer. "Perhaps we have to start thinking about roofed stadiums at some point," he said. "But do we have to have a fan base that is developed enough to be immune to the weather, like they do for American football where they will come out to watch a game regardless of the climate? We are not at that point yet, but we hope to achieve that at some point.''


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