Promotion/Relegation = illegal

Discussion in 'United Soccer Leagues' started by chapter 7, Nov 14, 2004.

  1. chapter 7

    chapter 7 BigSoccer Yellow Card

    Nov 9, 2004
    Providence Rhode Isl
    Hi all:

    Tim Holt said the other day that promotion and relegation the way of most other soccer nations was

    Problem number 1:

    Under US franchise law the owner of the franchise (ie team owner or single Mcdonalds owner) has to agree in writing if they face a decision from the franchise (ie league ,Mcdonalds corp.) that would not uniformly apply across to all other financially interested parties.

    In plain English Mcdonalds, Jiffy Lube or the USL cannot 'relegate' one, two or anyone in particular unless it is uniformly applied across the board. Its an all or nothing deal.

    Now, what you can do is get all franchise owners to agree that based on a criteria that is set out going forward you can re-brand certain franchise arrangements based on agreed upon terms.

    If the pro/rel arguement continues bear one important fact to mind. All the franchise owners have to agree with it to work. ALL if it is to be applied across the board. If one doesn't agree (in writing) they are not subject to it as it stands as when they bought into the idea it wasn't part of the original agreement.

    so if you read Tim Holts comments

    what he is saying that it is something that is at least worth running past the owners and seeing if they agree. Getting all owners of the USL to agree on this would be damn near impossible. I doubt they all agree that the sky is blue let alone this idea.
  2. ButlerBob

    ButlerBob Moderator
    Staff Member

    Nov 13, 2001
    Evanston, IL
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    That's pretty much how they decide on rules and conditions in the USL. The items are voted on by all the franchises. It's not like a one or two people decide what the league rules are. So it's not like Tim Holt will decide if there is promotion/regulation, it's going to bt the teams that comprise the USL division 1 and 2. With Tim Holt talking about, I think it's pretty safe to assume there has already been some discussion amongst the owners about it.

    Problem 1, you weren't aware how the league already operates.
  3. chapter 7

    chapter 7 BigSoccer Yellow Card

    Nov 9, 2004
    Providence Rhode Isl
    Butler: Thanks a lot for being able to Parrot my original post so well. That was great. If they all agree then it will be a go. However, seeing as thats what I originally said and kind of know a little how the league works these guys would probably have a hard time agreeing what time of day it is if you gave them all Swiss watches.

    If you think some of the A-league teams are going to agree to this and see:

    a/ the value of their franchise watered down by the addition of a Div 2 team based on an on the field performance


    b / the value of their franchise watered down by the relegation to a Div2 league

    the answer is no. It won't happen.

    Problem #2 certain fans don't realize the economics involved.
  4. Mikey mouse

    Mikey mouse Member

    Jul 27, 1999
    Charleston, SC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    If I'm not mistaken, pro/relegation has been part of the USL's plan for many years. This is the first time it seems to have some sort of plan other than just an idea.

    I wouldn't be surprised if their wasn't something when an new owner signs a franchise contract that address Po/Rel in some sort of manner

  5. chapter 7

    chapter 7 BigSoccer Yellow Card

    Nov 9, 2004
    Providence Rhode Isl
    Mikey: thats a good point. If they were to do that to new teams only then they may be in a bizarre situation where some teams can be forced to be relegated and others refuse. I don't know how they'd manage that.

    In England if you are a Non-league Conference team (ie Rushden and Diamonds) and are joining the league you need to meet minimum stadium requirements before you are allowed to go "up".

    There is nothing to stop a team going down though, unless the team going up cannot meet the requirements. This is only for the league-non league pro/rel and not the regular Premiership to Championship division rules.
  6. Chris Caron

    Chris Caron New Member

    Feb 6, 2000
    I think what you fail to realize is that franchisees sign a contract an that contract outlines the relationship between the two parties. As long as the USL franchise contracts stipulates something then the league has every right to promote, relegate, or reassign a franchise. I would have to agree with Butler that you don't understand the relationship. Have you even seen a copy of the USL manual or contracts?

    The USL 1st and 2nd Division will have promotion or relegation at a time when a healthy majority of owners agree to it...whether or not you agree with the legality or economics of the system.
  7. ButlerBob

    ButlerBob Moderator
    Staff Member

    Nov 13, 2001
    Evanston, IL
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I'm sorry if I didn't cleary explain what I was trying to say. It seemed like your point was that Promotion/Relagation was illegal unless there was agreement from the teams and that the change was being determined by the league and not the teams.

    The point that I was trying to make was that the teams approve all changes in rules or standard changes before they are announced. So because of this, it would never be illegal because they have already agreed to promotion/relagation. So I guess it was the process that I was trying to clarify and that the teams are involved with changes in rules and standards. I'm sorry for my poor choice of combative wording.

    Also, there are already league specific standards for teams. These include things like stadium stadnards (seating number, lighting, locker rooms, press facilites), budget size, staff numbers. There have been teams in the past that have wanted to move up to a higher league and have been denied because they did not meet these standards. Also, some times teams have been given a 1 year exception on certain items.
  8. yankiboy

    yankiboy New Member

    Sep 2, 2003
    Laurel, MD
    If the Puerto Rico Islanders have to go down to D2 because of poor on the field performance the franchise would be finished.

    Playing in D2 would not be an option for us. D2 teams don't have the cash to come play us (A lot of D1 teams don't want to fork out the cash to come see us). Even if a lot of the "fans" didn't abandon the team.
  9. M

    M Member+

    Feb 18, 2000
    Via Ventisette
    There are also financial requirements on teams before they are allowed up into the Football League from the Conference.
  10. Lithium858

    Lithium858 Member

    Aug 11, 2002
    Baton Rouge
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    It would be cool to have promotion/relegation here. But everyone says it wouldn't work if MLS was part of it. Baseball should do the same with their farm systems.
  11. RedMenace

    RedMenace New Member

    Jun 20, 2004
    Palo Alto, CA
    I think the reasons to go up or down between leages are far more financial in the U.S. and Canada than they are to do with on-field performance. There isn't an endless supply of teams that could play in MLS, if only they could get in, and need to be kept out unless they prove they are good enough on the field. Despite all the talk and possibilities and rumors about the next potential MLS team, only a small number actually have the resources to do it. (I think this is true of USL 1 and 2 also, particularly as they seem to be losing more teams than they are gaining, and it's not through teams moving up to MLS.) I also know that, so far, there don't appear to be MLS teams that are dramatically worse than other MLS teams, and the same might be true of USL (which I don't follow particularly). Salary caps and the like help ensure parity, something they don't have in England and elsewhere.

    I also think that that many owners, particularly at the Major League level, would never accept their team being relegated.

    I think there might be room for a more organized way of having teams move up and down between leagues, but I can't see traditional promotion and relegation working here within at least the next 20 years.

    What I'd like to see is a more unified league structure. USL is the closest to this, but then there's MLS off the top and the MPSL in the west at the amateur level (and perhaps more that I don't even know about). Plus Canada has a small professional league mainly in Ontario, while still having pro teams in USL. So, as it's always been in American soccer, the whole structure is kind of messy (and seems to change every few years, with entire leagues being created, going out of business, merging, etc.).

    But at any rate, I think there could be a series of requirements for moving up that includes doing well, in terms of both on-field performance and spectators in the stands, as well as having the financial resources needed, in the next lower division first before applying to move up. So to become a MLS team, you'd need to have played a season in USL 1 first and proved you were operating almost as a MLS team already, and to get into USL 1 you'd have to have played a season in USL 2 first, etc. (Probably either there or the PSL level would be the first entry point.)

    In the other direction, there would be no barriers to teams moving down when they wanted to (MLS, in particular, wouldn't co-own the teams or their names any more), and probably some incentive to do so rather than disbanding entirely.

    I also think that league sizes would not need to be fixed. The U.S. is a large enough place that having more teams, and separating them into regional conferences, makes more sense than separating them into skill-based divisions. They will still have divisions too, as now, but I don't see any reason to limit MLS to only 18 teams, let alone the lower divisions (which struggle even more to handle the travel involved). If/when we get to a point of being able to support more teams at a given level, it should be broken up into regions rather than saying "no, we can't have any more teams".

    England has an area less than 1/3 that of California, let alone the United States. A league structure that makes sense for England does NOT necessarily make sense for the U.S. and Canada. Sure, if we had hundreds of professional soccer clubs all with their own stadiums, committed owners, hundred-year-histories, passionate fans, etc., all competing with each other in a space the size of Louisiana, then traditional promotion and relegation might make sense. US soccer can still learn from that (and from how it's done in Brazil, India, and elsewhere), but needs to come up with its own model to match our unique circumstances.
  12. msilverstein47

    msilverstein47 Member+

    Jan 11, 1999
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
  13. Brian in Boston

    Brian in Boston Member+

    Jun 17, 2004
    MA & CA, USA
    While there may well be resistance on the part of team owners to the prospect of their clubs being relegated to a lower level of competition within a pro/rel structure, I've always thought that the real stumbling block to the implementation of such a system in the United States and Canada could come from government entities. How so?

    Many sports franchises in the USA and Canada - pro soccer clubs included - have come to expect municipal, county and/or state governments to invest significant amounts of public capital into the construction of stadia as part of "public-private partnerships". I believe there's a very real chance that said government entities would be less than enthusiastic about ponying-up dough towards stadium construction for a Division 1 team that could become a Division 2 club - or, a Division 2 club that could become a Division 3 outfit - based upon on-field success.

    I simply don't see elected officials running the risk of investing public dollars into construction of a Division 1-caliber stadium when the privately-held team occupying said facility could soon be competing at a level of competition that could function in a much less grandiose structure. Nor do I see said officials being willing to invest in building a higher-tier stadium for a lower level team based upon the promise that said club might manage to one day get promoted.

    Bottom line? I honestly believe that the owners of teams in a promotion/relegation system would have to be willing to pay far more of the costs associated with development, construction, and maintenance of stadia than their compatriots in fixed systems are asked to do. Which begs the question of whether pro/rel owners would be open to shouldering said increased burden.

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