The All-Encompassing Pro/Rel Thread on Soccer in the USA

Discussion in 'Soccer in the USA' started by bigredfutbol, Mar 12, 2016.

  1. bigredfutbol

    bigredfutbol Moderator
    Staff Member

    Sep 5, 2000
    Woodbridge, VA
    Club:
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    So here is the one-and-only thread on this forum dedicated to the pros and cons of ditching the current system in the United States and adopting promotion and relegation between different leagues/divisions.

    Everybody is allowed to post here. Anything I deem relevant to the conversation is applicable. As the moderator of this forum, I am the only person who gets to decide what is appropriate for this thread. That means that I don't want previous conflicts between posters from other threads, forums, or social media platforms carried over here. On the other hand, the topic of pro/rel is going on outside this thread and outside BigSoccer.com, and many relatively well-known people in the US soccer community are involved in it. References to such people and other conversations, social media statements, etc. are absolutely part of the conversation here.

    Finally--if you cannot make the distinction between having your ideas attacked, criticized, or even mocked; versus being personally attacked, this thread is not for you.

    If I find the time, I might go through the last thread on this subject and asset-mine some of the more level-headed posts for and against the concept. Others are free to do so as well. Or, start fresh and lay out your case here. Keeping in mind, of course, that any and all posts in thread are subject to analysis, criticism, and so on.
     
  2. KCbus

    KCbus Moderator
    Staff Member

    United States
    Nov 26, 2000
    Reynoldsburg, OH
    Club:
    Columbus Crew
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    In before the lock.
     
  3. KCbus

    KCbus Moderator
    Staff Member

    United States
    Nov 26, 2000
    Reynoldsburg, OH
    Club:
    Columbus Crew
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    And before anybody gets interested, apparently.
     
  4. Yoshou

    Yoshou Moderator
    Staff Member

    May 12, 2009
    Seattle
    Club:
    Seattle Sounders
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    #4 Yoshou, Mar 12, 2016
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 13, 2016
    Worst.... Moderator... Ever....

    But that's just me. Good call, Red. :)

    [mod note: Now now, let's give this thing a fair chance]
     
  5. bigredfutbol

    bigredfutbol Moderator
    Staff Member

    Sep 5, 2000
    Woodbridge, VA
    Club:
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    That's the thing; I think it was all talked out.
     
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  6. HailtotheKing

    HailtotheKing Member+

    San Antonio FC
    United States
    Dec 1, 2008
    TEXAS
    Club:
    San Antonio Scorpions FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Well if you can't bitch about people bitching about you anymore then there's nothing left to say.

    So, here's the challenge to pro/rel torch bearers.

    MAKE THE CASE, WITHIN THE CONTEXT AND WORKINGS OF THE USA

    Go on .... let's hear it.
     
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  7. Achowat

    Achowat Member+

    Mar 21, 2011
    Revere, MA
    Club:
    New England Revolution
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Just quoting HTTK so he has ammunition if we ever disagree.
     
  8. Clint Eastwood

    Clint Eastwood Member+

    Dec 23, 2003
    Somerville, MA
    Club:
    FC Dallas
    I would be in favor of pro/rel, and I can understand why other fans would be.

    I have not even the slightest, most remote clue why the current MLS ownership would be at all interested.
    And the recent owners paid over a hundred million dollars to be in MLS, not in a second division or third division....

    Somebody is going to have to explain to me how that hurdle can be overcome. And don't tell me that the USSF is going to force it, because they're not going to do that.
     
  9. mschofield

    mschofield Member+

    May 16, 2000
    Berlin
    Club:
    Union Berlin
    Nat'l Team:
    Germany
    Okay, academically:
    There is no reason that eventually Pro/rel couldn't work in the US. There is, however, a big however to this. Given the size and spread of the population of the US and Canada, and given the commercial requirements of sport, it would not be practical or sensible to structure it in the manner of England or here.
    US leagues (and Canada), for tv revenue purposes and to involve as many large markets as possible (same thing I guess) tend to have ~ 30 clubs. It simply isn't going to happen that the top league in a US soccer pyramid would have 20 clubs.
    So we're going to assume that the top league has 32 clubs. Then we're going to put it to the side as having nothing to do with this argument, because pro/rel only makes sense if a solution to what to do about the very crowded field of clubs to determine a true champion is necessary.
    Given that, we're going to look at the current growth of footie in the US and Canda, and project out quite a ways, until an actual logjam of ambitious, professional clubs exists.
    Given the population, that would mean about 100 actual competitive, fully professional clubs more than now exist. These clubs would have to be organic, organized without the promise of the potential for promotion or relegation, or this would fail, because it won't be fast and those thinking of starting clubs to climb the ranks aren't exactly a patient class.
    A successful lower league won't have much revenue beyond gate, so the expenses have to be managed. Proof of ambition will require stadiums, training grounds, etc, so we're going to assume those are already in place. Players have to be paid, so those costs also will have to exist at a level to allow a club to be competitive, meaning not much local control over that, either. But travel costs can be managed, so the lower leagues have to be divided regionally. We start with six regions, each with a 20 team league. Some of these clubs would be the current NASL and USL sides as well probably as the CPL, divided regionally. Some would be the current MLS second squads (not eligible for promotion). Others would be clubs willing to make the step in fully professional.
    They would play for five years in these formats. At the end of that period, the top five sides from each region would be promoted into two new, East and West leagues of 15 clubs, leaving behind six regional leagues of 15 clubs each.
    The regional leagues would then be division 3. The East and West leagues would be division 2. MLS, remember with 32 or whatever, would be division 1.
    When the newly formed 2nd has played a couple years and proven itself full of worthy competitors, and as 3 proves it is stable and viable, promotion and relegation begins. At first, it's just between 2 and 3, six going each way each season. Clubs going down are placed as close to their regions as possible, and clubs in the 3rd are allowed to trade regions if it makes geographic and financial sense.
    Eventually, as the clamor builds from the grassroots, MLS is added on. MLS at this point would be divided into East and West (I'm assuming this part isn't fantasy, MLS will divide and maybe like this at some point), and probably on into conferences). Six of it's clubs, the bottom three from the east and west (replaceable by any clubs not capable of sustaining a top league schedule for financial reasons) would be relegated.
    Now, I realize I am not the biggest pro/rel fan around. I don't like it, at all. I don't think it's necessary and I don't think it's a good idea for the US. But I do think that before it can actually be considered in the US and Canada, there has to be a critical mass of professional clubs, and we are no where near that at this point.
     
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  10. mschofield

    mschofield Member+

    May 16, 2000
    Berlin
    Club:
    Union Berlin
    Nat'l Team:
    Germany
    I was only hoping you weren't going to make that particular point...
     
  11. Yoshou

    Yoshou Moderator
    Staff Member

    May 12, 2009
    Seattle
    Club:
    Seattle Sounders
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Something akin to a refund? If a team that paid an expansion fee gets relegated, they get a percentage of their expansion fee back?

    What percentage depends on whether the system is a "closed" pro/rel and whether a team has to pay an expansion fee to get into the lower division(s) as well. There isn't a particular reason why they can't require expansion fees to enter the bottom end of a pro/rel pyramid, after all.
     
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  12. owian

    owian Member+

    May 17, 2002
    San Diego
    Club:
    Liverpool FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Glad there is a new thread, while this one can get weird and almost all the arguments end up a little like the Eastern Campaign during the Civil war fighting on old battlefields (sorry I am a history dork) I think it's needed. You can argue what percent but there are a chunk of US fans who would like to see some form of pro/rel in the US and if the arguments aren't here they end up other places, like the expansion thread for instance. So here we go again.
     
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  13. owian

    owian Member+

    May 17, 2002
    San Diego
    Club:
    Liverpool FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Here it goes.

    First the only way I see MLS adopting it is if the owners decide they want it because well they are pro/rel fans. The chances of that or low to non-existent so I don't see it happening. But that doesn't mean it can't be talked about specifically in a thread called PRO/REL.

    So at it's core pro/rel advocates see what fans have in Europe and would like to see it here. We see every community having a team, and those teams not locked into a specific level or class.

    So with that in mind I want to distinguish that I think Pro/rel is best for the sport of professional soccer in the US and here is why. It gives a chance to have professional clubs in the maximum number of markets. With pro/rel you literally have an unlimited number of teams.

    Now on to specific arguments responses I already know are coming.

    1) Pro/rel doesn't add teams? . Well at the moment the chance to get into MLS DOES create teams. We are seeing it right now ourselves in the lower leagues. How many lower league teams are being formed with the specific goal of reaching MLS? And this is with no formal structure to reach MLS and other available methods. So if the only way to reach MLS is to create a lower level team than I think it is quite reasonable that this would create teams.

    2) Why not just keep expanding? Makes sense and as long as MLS is actively expanding there is less of a need for pro/rel. BUT there is an upper limit somewhere. Maybe it's low 30's (where every other US pro league has stopped) some have said 40. But either way there is a limit.

    Now say MLS does something novel and goes to say 60 in regional divisions that are almost like stand alone leagues. That would meet the need for markets (even with pro.rel don't see more than 60) but I personally think organizing the league vertically rather than horizontal makes more sense but accept that it is more a personal preference.

    3) But the lower divisions are to weak! But this is where you have to look to the future. Think back to what MLS was in 1999 (probably it's nadir). Now look at what it is now? Think of the lower divisions in 1999, think of them now. Now let's think ahead 20 years. Also think of what they are like with the continued current investment but instead of those teams being plucked by MLS they either stay or are replaced with an equal club.

    4) But America is different they won't support lower divisions! I point to college football and college basketball. First the entire sport is by definition "lower" 2nd teams at a variety of levels still garner massive support. On any given Saturday you will have teams in "mid-majors" getting massive support 30-40,000+. Americans like their sports and like to follow local. I think this is particularly true of soccer fans who by definition like something a little different. I think if you give American fans professional stable local teams with the dream of promotion Americans will support it.

    But MLS will never go for it! Well yeah duh but this is a thread entitled pro/rel. If it really bothers you that much that I am dreaming of a situation that will almost never come true, well you're not obligated to respond.
     
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  14. kenntomasch

    kenntomasch Member+

    Sep 2, 1999
    Out West
    Club:
    FC Tampa Bay Rowdies
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
  15. Clint Eastwood

    Clint Eastwood Member+

    Dec 23, 2003
    Somerville, MA
    Club:
    FC Dallas
  16. Dan Loney

    Dan Loney BigSoccer Supporter

    Mar 10, 2000
    Cincilluminati
    Club:
    Los Angeles Sol
    Nat'l Team:
    Philippines
    Where do I begin?

    This isn't actually a rhetorical question. Here are, as I see them, the facets of the conversation, and where I think we are with them.

    1. SHOULD MLS HAVE PRO-REL?
    A. About as close to a settled issue as you can get. MLS1/MLS2 ideas are disproven every day by other North American leagues making room for more than thirty teams, and somehow failing to fold.

    2. SHOULD EXISTING NORTH AMERICAN LEAGUES RELEGATE BETWEEN EACH OTHER?
    B. If they're misguided enough to try this, I can't stop them. NASL has no intention of relegating to a lower league, on the understandable grounds that there's no fully professional league below them...except their rhetoric doesn't admit it. Erik Stover has said he has no interest in relegating the Cosmos, because duh. USL and NASL hate each other, so they'll willingly exchange teams about five years after the sun goes red giant.

    3. SHOULD OTHER AMERICAN SPORTS LEAGUES HAVE PRO/REL?
    C. I guess if they get sick of money, or something.

    4. SHOULD THE USSF FORCE NORTH AMERICAN LEAGUES INTO A PYRAMID?
    D. Sunil was asked this, claimed the theoretical power to do so, and the realization that he can't absent years of litigation. This is about where the #GamerGate wing of pro/rel comes in, and sadly/hilariously, they dominate the conversation.

    5. IS PROMOTION AND RELEGATION A CIVIL RIGHTS ISSUE?
    E. ******** you.

    6. DOES PROMOTION AND RELEGATION INSPIRE BETTER PLAYER DEVELOPMENT?
    F. This is still my frontrunner for single dumbest argument in the whole spectrum, and that's really saying something. Inexcusably, youth coaches are making this argument. They are literally saying they can't teach kids to dribble with their heads up because the Fire weren't relegated. Maybe our player pool isn't the best in the world because we still have coaches who bitch about promotion and relegation, instead of learning how to coach.

    7. DOES PROMOTION AND RELEGATION PROMOTE SPORTING MERIT?
    G. You're adorable.

    8. IS PROMOTION AND RELEGATION VITAL TO THE SPORT OF SOCCER?
    H. *international wanker hand signal motion*

    9. SHOULD LEAGUES ABROAD WITH PROMOTION AND RELEGATION GET RID OF IT?
    I. I'm literally the only one saying this. And, oddly, I'm not gaining many converts. Stillitano, by the way, was (a) an incompetent former MLS GM who couldn't hang in the 90's, let alone now that MLS is an actual business, (b) not even talking about promotion and relegation in leagues, but about the Champions League, and (c) selling his silly friendly tournament to fans in the US and Australia, while getting cheap ink from the self-righteous squad in England. I've now wasted one run-on sentence on Stillitano, which is more than he rated.
     
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  17. HailtotheKing

    HailtotheKing Member+

    San Antonio FC
    United States
    Dec 1, 2008
    TEXAS
    Club:
    San Antonio Scorpions FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I think it says quite a bit that in order to hash out a legitimate response, ^ THIS disclaimer is put out first. It's kind of the entire point of this debate in all honesty. Especially when:

    ^ THIS prefaces a legitimate response from someone "on the side of" pro/rel.


    Two people that took the time to think out legitimate responses in order to make an actual case for pro/rel started their posts with disclaimers. The speaks VOLUMES.


    Now, on to their responses (and my responses are not taking shots or being overly picking, they are my legitimate thoughts as I read them over ... I value both of your inputs to this, and other discussions)

    Interesting ... in order to GET TO the point of pro/rel we need the teams first ... stop if we've heard this before ;) ... but I'm curious about the organic bit? We often hear that trumpeted as something about the clubs in a pro/rel set up. I challenge that in the sense that our clubs are just as 'organic' as theirs. No, we don't have the history attached to our clubs because - TIME - but the clubs themselves are no less organic than anywhere else (in fact, more so than in some places). But at the current time, it seems that pro/rel advocates should be championing our current system because that's how the ammunition for their cause is going to get loaded (if it ever does).

    Hmmm .... proof of ambition laid out here sounds a bit like expansion criteria. Odd, or no? :) I agree that this is something that should exist, this proof, but holy hell if that isn't what has many pro/rel torch bearers up in arms!

    I like it, and I do feel that should this thing ever get big enough it'll be the ONLY way to make it all work. We're simply too big and have too much population spread over too big of a distance. But why is it, that the pro/rel crowd despises MLS2 clubs in the lower levels when that's exactly how it's done everywhere else? Why is it wrong here?

    It's not the idea or the premise, but what you've specifically put out here seems a bit much. All of the movement and such is exactly what has plagued and killed many of our minor leagues and other professional leagues. I do think though, that a scaled down version of this is a very likely candidate for implementation.

    For me, that's too many clubs moving in and out of the top tier and specifically our top tier having been built the way it has (and would be at the point pro/rel implementation finally begins). That's too much money and too much invested by that point for SIX clubs to be ousted.

    And that's the other thing ... you didn't even address the biggest elephants in the room. No talk of original clubs/money, tv, sponsors, etc.


    That's a misnomer though. Sure, you potentially in utopia have this unlimited (limited only by how many exist) number of clubs that you could have in the top tier (or 2nd tier, or whatever). However you, I, and everyone else knows that that simply isn't the case in reality.

    Those National League and below clubs in England aren't making the EPL ...

    Yes, how many of them are being formed specifically for that? You're making this point so provide us with the numbers. I ask because the newest NASL clubs (Miami FC, Puerto Rico FC, Rayo OKC) weren't founded with the expressed intent on getting into the MLS. Looking over the list of new USL clubs since 2014 and the number formed with the expressed intent of shooting for an MLS bid is far outweighed by those that weren't. Even with that, why the belief that pro/rel will create teams when there's no evidence of that being the case anywhere? We've also already got lower level investment and clubs being created (both in direct link to MLS and independent).

    If you have evidence otherwise by all means let's see it please.

    Yes, there is indeed a limit. 100% agree that the top tier cannot hold an infinite number of teams and that even with the divisional structure our other sports have that there'd be a breaking point in which the competition actually suffers from bloat.

    Why? If you can have 60 in the top tier, why not do that? Part of the point we always hear from pro/rel people (and you've made a similar point already in this response) is that you have all of these potential clubs for your league. Why limit it if you don't have too? If part of the point is that Chattanooga FC COULD POSSIBLY ONE DAY move all they way up .... well that 60 team league just might include them. Why artificially limit?

    "Equal club" ... we all know there's hardly such a thing. When Newcastle went down there was hardly an equal club that replaced them (talking about the whole picture here). The argument that the lower levels are too weak actually does have an eye to the future for the most part. In order for pro/rel to work if implemented, the clubs coming up HAVE to be able to compete ACROSS THE BOARD in the next tier up. The reason it works in England is because at least 1 of the new clubs each season is on par across the board with at least one of the clubs they replaced and likely 2 or 3 of the shit end clubs that next season. Still, even with the greatest overlap in clubs in the world .... there's at least one club that isn't on par. Our structure can't have that if pro/rel is going to work. We need to ensure that the clubs that trade places are close enough, but also that anyone going down (especially from the top tier) isn't so far ahead that the whole thing is a sham.

    Pro/rel is a solution to a problem .... if/when we have the problem of too many capable teams for a top flight, then the solutions to that problem start to get worked for feasibility.

    This is where you and I have to have fist-a-cuffs. College athletics are not, in any way, a comparable thing to lower level professional sports. There is zero relevance to this comparison. The most popular sport in the country (football) didn't have attendance levels that it's amateur counterpart did at the "lower" level. The WLAF averaged 18-25K per season while Division 1 football has been over 30K since the 70's. Even the XFL season didn't produce a team that met the avg for Division 1 (had to go back to 1981) for 30 years.

    Tongue in cheek aside ... that's a rather big point though. In order for it to work, the top tier has to be on board.
     
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  18. mschofield

    mschofield Member+

    May 16, 2000
    Berlin
    Club:
    Union Berlin
    Nat'l Team:
    Germany
    To be fair to those who truly believe in Pro/Rel, I'm a very poor advocate for their cause.
    To me, your concerns deal with what I think is the biggest problem with the structural implementation of pro/rel in the US.
    To succeed/survive/avoid a constant string of bankrupt clubs in the massive land mass that is the US and Canada, I believe a lower league needs to be divided regionally. But while there are several ways to balance out promotion by region, I can't think of any that fairly deal with relegation by region. there is, after all, no reason why the two or three or six worst teams in a league can't all be from, say, the Midwest, a single region, or if it's divided into two, say the Midwest and Southeast.
    Keeping the balance between up and down is essential. It would have to be set up to make the lower leagues viable, while not making the upper leagues look pointlessly stupid.
    Travel costs over the entire MLS area, even divided into two halves, can make it very tough to manage the finance a lower league club that will not have much revenue.
    So do you maintain the regions through the top level? Each region promotes and/or/(or just for the 3rd) relegates one side? This assumes that the footie talent in the US and Canada are very evenly divided. And, while over time, that may be the case (it probably won't be, but it may be) it really fails on a year to year basis.
    So yeah, there are problems in this offering.
     
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  19. song219

    song219 BigSoccer Supporter

    Apr 5, 2004
    La Norte
    Club:
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    Vanuatu
    I don't see pro/rel being instituted bewteen the first and second levels in the next 20 years. But in my opinion a necessary precursor to that would be MLS restructuring and spinning off the ownership of its teams to individual owners. Right now with all of the owners in effect having a financial interest in all of the teams, they have an additional reason, in addition to the ones that already exist, in not seeing the current MLS teams relegated.
     
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  20. mschofield

    mschofield Member+

    May 16, 2000
    Berlin
    Club:
    Union Berlin
    Nat'l Team:
    Germany
    Okay, so my first thoughts were full of holes, and lacked any real conviction. I mean, I don't back top league teams over here and don't see the need for the clubs I do back to join the inequity leagues.
    But there is merit to a better way to determine the overall best sides in the US.
    To that end, I offer: A (more) Modest Proposal.
    This does not involve promotion, or relegation, however. Mods, make your call.
    Create the Lamar Hunt Open Cup league, following the existing structure until the third round, at which point the final 64 clubs are divided in 16 randomly drawn 4 club leagues, playing each other home and away. The winner of each group advances to the final 16, at which point the tournament is home and away format.
    It's problematic for MLS because it adds a few games.
    But it would seem to deal with the notion of sporting purity, and would give smaller teams more games against bigger clubs and the chance to prove their pluck.
    This would require a tv contract delivering enough money to pay for the travel, esp of the smaller clubs, and maybe doubling the prize money to make it worthwhile for the extra effort.
    If this proves a success, and we see over time the small clubs consistently punching above their weight, then the call for pro/rel could and probably would build (okay, mods, I lied. It was a little bit about it).
     
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  21. Yoshou

    Yoshou Moderator
    Staff Member

    May 12, 2009
    Seattle
    Club:
    Seattle Sounders
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    But isn't one of the arguments of pro/rel advocates that even if a team goes bankrupt and liquidated, it doesn't die, but is rather just reborn at the bottom of the pyramid where it starts over? It seems like one of the more disingenuous arguments to me, but it seems to imply that pro/rel shouldn't be concerned with the financial health of the teams within the structure.
     
  22. mschofield

    mschofield Member+

    May 16, 2000
    Berlin
    Club:
    Union Berlin
    Nat'l Team:
    Germany
    I think it implies that because it isn't thinking it through.
     
  23. HailtotheKing

    HailtotheKing Member+

    San Antonio FC
    United States
    Dec 1, 2008
    TEXAS
    Club:
    San Antonio Scorpions FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I was actually saving a point just like this ... but since you've stated it.

    BINGO~!

    For a system that is trotted out as being all about the fans/clubs ... it really doesn't give two shits about them. It's ok that you may end up wallowing in non league football for the next 20+ years as a shell/phoenix/reformed/whatever club because damnit, you got your chance~!

    Though the situation at Charlton is just "lovely" http://www.bbc.com/sport/football/35253634
    Mock funeral and everything ... fantastic. Ownership is trying to be financially viable (and there's numbers there to show they are) but the fans aren't having it because LOSING ... hhhhhhhmmmmmmm
     
  24. barroldinho

    barroldinho Member+

    Man Utd and LA Galaxy
    England
    Aug 13, 2007
    Ex-pat in HB, CA
    Club:
    Manchester United FC
    Nat'l Team:
    England
    #24 barroldinho, Mar 14, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2016
    Responses as numbered:

    1) I'd argue that the quantity of clubs being formed means that pro/rel isn't necessary to aid this proliferation. In fact, I would say that new owners looking to enter leagues around the world, are frequently circumventing pro/rel rather than utilizing it.

    Man City, Chelsea, PSG, Arsenal, RB Salzburg, Malaga, Monaco, the various teams we've discussed being relocated in China, the list goes on.

    You could also argue that the MLS method is an attraction. If you have the means and circumstances to get it done, expansion is a far greater chance of ROI than entering a new team into the structure and having to not only build a succession of winning teams but also attract fans to your lower league outfit.

    Natural pro/rel is more the avenue of those that don't have the resources to buy a high-level club off the bat. However, if you don't have the resources to buy into a higher level, surely the odds of competing with those that do are limited anyway?

    2) I would argue that if we expand to the threshold of practicality and there are plenty of other markets and/or existing clubs with solid cases to be in MLS, you've got a case for pro/rel and at the very least, a need to consider different approaches.

    I'm probably on the same page as you on this point.

    3) I feel that implementing pro/rel while teams are too weak, could be disastrous. This is actually where pro/rel is at its weakness. Few things are as devastating to a lower league club as promotion above their capabilities. US history actually has a number of examples of this, ironically enough.

    4) College is one thing. Support there is of course born out of loyalty to one's school and while not the highest level, is perceived to often showcase the brightest upcoming talent. Right now, minor leagues are perceived to largely house those who are not ready or not good enough to be on the main roster.

    I think the biggest issue is whether audiences will stick with a relegated club. Remember that even in nations where soccer is King, like Italy, Spain & Brazil, we're seeing an average attendance in D2 of 5-8k. In fact, worldwide the top 5 second tiers are as follows:

    1) FL Championship 18k
    2) 2.Bundesliga 18k
    3) China League One 9k
    4) Segunda Division 8.5k
    5) J2 League 7k

    So the drop-off in attendances tends to be pretty high around the world.

    Given that the most prevalent answer I receive from US-based fans on why they don't watch MLS is the standard of play, I think the argument that attendances could be severely impacted here, is a considerable one. Again, the question must be asked, is it worth the risk?

    5) The owners not going for it is a serious obstacle and any argument or proposal for implementing pro/rel must weigh this point heavily.

    The simplest answer and one that the #ProRelforUSA movement references frequently is that FIFA Statute 9 (the Principal of Promotion and Relegation) states that clubs be given access to a national championship either through the league in which they reside or via access to such a league. Technically, FIFA could attempt to force USSF to implement pro/rel on this basis.

    However, there are arguments against this:

    First, Statute 9.2 under this rule makes provision for limiting access based on stadium, finances and infrastructure. MLS can certainly argue that the expansion process is a form of means testing and that they are clearly active in adding teams on this basis.

    Second, FIFA, CONCACAF & big clubs around the world, are eager for the game to seriously catch on in the US. FIFA is seen to be pretty open to making exceptions for the US (even if they aren't 100% enamored with all of them) especially from the standpoint that the culture and landscape for sports is different to what is typical for soccer around the world and the challenges of soccers popularity in the States. For these reasons, they aren't likely to thrust systems on the country "just cos", especially as such a move would be controversial.

    Third, MLS could argue that it's actually complying with the statute. It IS actively granting access to clubs and prospective owners via expansion. There are few clubs that are seen as viable D1 outfits that aren't either in MLS, scheduled to join or under serious consideration.

    Fourth, MLS came about not because of market forces or simple initiative, it was born out of a condition FIFA THEMSELVES made in awarding WC 94 to America. They stipulated that a serious major soccer league be formed. As MLS was the result of that demand and overcame many issues to largely become a success by this point, it would be a bit rich for FIFA to say "Good job building the league. Now we demand you devalue your product and expose the league to risk by implementing this system".

    tl;dr Agree somewhat on limited expansion, see major arguments and discussion points on the rest.

    Edit: Oh yeah - still some very good talking points btw
     
  25. bigredfutbol

    bigredfutbol Moderator
    Staff Member

    Sep 5, 2000
    Woodbridge, VA
    Club:
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Your idea at least puts the horse in front of the cart.
     

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