Cavalcade of Owners: Toronto FC Speaks

Someone stop me before I sin again.

Too late.

Another day, another owner heard from.

Since the actual owners of Toronto FC - the Ontario Teachers Retirement Fund - were out moose hunting, Richard Peddie, President and CEO of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, had to stand in.

Significantly, Peddie is an alternate member of the MLS Board of Governors and a member of the leagues' labor relations committee. Even more significantly, he's the Big Salami at the team whose fans are most vocal and strident about the need to change the leagues' structure.

Mssr. Peddie had a simple message for them on Friday:

"We believe the players are asking for too much."

Further, in regard to the current economic status of the league he was equally blunt:

"It's not thriving at all....We're years away from profitability."

In case you're keeping score at home, in the last week we've now heard from the owners of the three teams that the "training wheels" crowd claims are chafing at the bit over the current system, desperately hoping to bring down single entity, throw off the shackles of outmoded and unnecessary centralization and boldly take their rightful places alongside the giants of world football.

(If you think I'm exaggerating, go read some of these fruitcakes. Warning: wear extremely tall boots.)

Peddie goes on to point out that MLSE is shelling out beaucoup loonies for this whole soccer thing, spending millions to put grass in BMO, purchase Gol TV and greatly expand TFCs' Youth Academy.

He didn't connect the dots for his fans, apparently in the belief - for which I would contend there is scant evidence - that they are capable of doing so themselves, ie. that they are investing their revenues up there in the future of Canadian soccer instead of using it to rent over-the-hill foreign players so they can dominate the Trillium Cup.

Moreover, his use of the pronoun "we", as in "MLS L.L.C." ought to - but undoubtedly won't - reinforce for his fans the notion that the owners see themselves as part of, well, of a single entity.

On a somewhat related - and highly ironic - note, Ali Gerba, whose career at TFC is apparently at an end, has hired an attorney to get his guaranteed MLS contract voided.

The fact that his fellows-in-arms are, even as we speak, down in DC threatening to shut the league down if they don't get guaranteed contracts while Gerba is desperate to get out of a guaranteed contract probably says something profound aboutt MLS, the union or Gerba, but I'll be damned if I can figure out what that might be.

On a totally different front, since my mission here, like Peddies', is the furtherance of soccer rather than personal gain or aggrandizement, I'm going to take the high road and not send the good folks over at Women's Professional Soccer a bill in return for my services in designing the format for their All Star Game.

Their plan is to select the teams similar to the way pickup games are organized at the local park (presumably without the fat kid who always gets taken last): they're going to elect two captains, one from the US and one International, and they will pick their own teams from the group that's there standing around.

Which, I would humbly submit, is exactly the same plan I proposed last Spring in this very space. (Scroll all the way to the bottom).

No charge guys. Glad to help.

In a similar vein, since Danny Szetelas' waiver was officially announced yesterday, I was planning on writing something about the guy since his career seems, to put it charitably, at a crossroads.

However, in checking back for some dates and such I came across this piece which I wrote last Summer and decided that it wasn't necessary to re-plow old ground.

If the history and possible genesis of his problems is of any interest, check it out. If not, well, then I haven't wasted your time.

Finally, since it's Saturday and, like the man said "There's nothing to smile about here, mate", I herewith offer something to smile about:

[ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tEqJV1acgN4&feature=player_embedded"]YouTube- Heineken Italy. Case Study - Champions League Match vs Classical Concert (Real Madrid, AC Milan)[/ame]

And now, back to holding our collective breath.