Real/Roma Match a Shot over MLS Bow?

Discussion in 'Columbus Crew SC' started by Bill Archer, Aug 12, 2002.

  1. Bill Archer

    Bill Archer BigSoccer Supporter

    Mar 19, 2002
    Washington, NC
    Club:
    Columbus Crew
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    This is a must-read piece for MLS fans of all stripes; from Soccertimes:

    http://www.soccertimes.com/wagman/2002/aug09.htm

    What made this match particularly interesting was that it was likely the first shot in what is starting to look like a bitter battle between soccer promoters in the United States, a skirmish that will be fought out in stadiums and in the courts. The outcome could hugely affect MLS, and could even determine how soccer at the professional level is managed here and around the world.

    ..After the match, Zoffinger took a couple of shots at MLS. "I am overwhelmed by the response to this game,"
    (Fred note: 70,000 people paid $35-75) he said. "It clearly shows what can happen if the game of soccer is marketed correctly. We have offered to help the MetroStars in their marketing. We don't have a dispute with the MetroStars. We believe that this will help their product."

     
  2. CrewDust

    CrewDust Member

    May 6, 1999
    Columbus, Ohio
    Club:
    Columbus Crew
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I think this shows that there are a lot of people who will only show up for top level teams in the world. But how great would the attendence be if these teams played every week in NYC and not once every ten years.
     
  3. Zak

    Zak Member

    Feb 18, 2002
    Massive Club
    You know, this past week I've been talking to loads of people, this is basically the conclusion that we came to:

    Ultimately you have to get rid of SEM. I think this is an attainable goal, it's only natural for some teams to be richer and better off than others. If getting rid of SEM has to include some sort of profit sharing plan so be it.

    In order to get there you have to do two things (here's where my opinion differs from some): You have to be willing to sell certain players, and you need to find more owners that are willing to front the bill for stadiums. Brian McBride is the perfect example of point one. The league says there have been no offers, well you can only expect that when you ask for 5 million for a player that truly is only worth no more than 3. There were a number of players after the WC that had marketablility overseas, but now that initial hype has worn off and MLS won't be able to get as much money out of these guys. Landon Donovan, can't be sold, because he isn't MLS property. However, Beasley, Mastreoni, McBride, Mathis (?), and Ruiz just to name a few, could be sold to overseas markets. The sale of these players would more than likely cover the cost of wages for the next couple of years. Covering those costs, clearing a few roster spots, it all paves the way for youth systems for the club (more on that later). Secondly stadiums, Crew are the only club in MLS that are within sniffing distance of a profit, the major factor in that is clearly our stadium, cause it sure as hell isn't the product we get on the field. It's like renting versus owning your own house. Sure you have to put up your own money for the startup, but when you rent you're just pretty much throwing money out the window. Team income could be increased by renting the venue out to things like MLL, concerts, state atheletic competitions and so on.

    Youth teams. In order to avoid any problems with the NCAA, players wouldn't be paid. However, you'd get room and board. Or an even better idea, the Club pays the fees for you to play in whatever league that you choose to play in. This clears the way for people that have a hard time paying the 1k+ fee for playing in most upper level youth leagues. Crew scouts would regularly attend the matches where our youth were playing, upon being deemed good enough to make it to the first team you'd then have a choice try out for Crew and forgo college (or at least just take classes when you're out of season), or continue with the youth till you finish hs, then go to college, then become available for the draft.

    These are just a few thoughts, many of them that were discussed while me and sun666 sat around and whatched a few matches this weekend.
     
  4. swims

    swims Member

    With all due respect, without SEM, MLS would look like MLB in a few years. I can do without that, thank you.

    While having SEM has given us a huge bone of contention with the awkward and prejudiced allocation of players, the league would most likely have already folded by now (if, in fact, it had ever even gotten off of the ground) without it. Give SEM it's due, we have a league because of it.

    As far as the youth system goes, I believe that any compensation, including room and board, tourny fees, shiny Cadillacs, plane tickets for the folks, hookers in Miami, etc., are all banned by the NCAA.

    The really interesting aspect of that article has to do with the possible ramifications upon FIFA if a lawsuit fighting their ability to sanction matches goes forward.
     
  5. kaiser kraut

    kaiser kraut New Member

    Jun 26, 2001
    Indianapolis
    Club:
    Columbus Crew
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    how can things like room and board be prohibited? What the fukk do you think full ride football scholarships to big universities include? They're receiving a free education, free room, free board, and in some cases, free grades.... don't give me theory bullsh!t when I can see what happens on a daily basis.
     
  6. Raoul

    Raoul New Member

    Sep 19, 1999
    Downtown Dublin
    How do you really feel?????
     
  7. Eggy

    Eggy New Member

    May 28, 1999
    CBUS
    This subject opens the door to everything that is wrong with MLS.
     
  8. Zak

    Zak Member

    Feb 18, 2002
    Massive Club
    there's got to be a way that youth teams can be done in the regard that I've explained. Especially since NHL can draft players that are in college, and those players can keep their full eligibility. I'm not sure that they get any room and board, but I know for sure that they attend a multitude of camps.
     
  9. swims

    swims Member

    Hey Kraut, the C in NCAA stands for Collegiate, so we're talking compensation outside of scholarships. Room and board as part of financial aid packages are OK for instructional camps, but to have players of any age sign a contract to play a sport and be reimbursed in any way is not going to fly.

    You with us now? Or do we need to find another seven piece puzzle to keep you occupied for the next twenty minutes?

    Besides, I don't see SEM and youth development as being mutually exclusive, or youth development and an agreement with the NCAA as being impossible. What I don't see is the fiscal usefulness for MLS doing so unless the 'campers' are paying their own way. MLS has done quite well at bleeding money without taking on any extraneous expenses.

    I just don't see what any of this really has to do with the article that was quoted. In it you just have ex-MLS investors, who by the way, showed their complete ineptitude in running an MLS side, trying to part US soccer fans with their money by promoting European soccer exhibitions in the states and trying to muscle their way past both the current MLS investors and FIFA. Screw 'em.

    And if MLS were to start spending huge amounts on salaries for players like Figo today, MLS wouldn't exist next year. There would be an initial bump in attendance, and then the numbers would return to exactly what they are now.
     
  10. Zak

    Zak Member

    Feb 18, 2002
    Massive Club
    swims, pal, calm down for a second.

    The benefit to youth squads is simple, it creates a better talent pool, and it also creates it earlier. If a season ticket package was being sold to watch Crew Juniors, I'd buy it. I imagine that there are quite a few people out there that feel the same, so they are making a few dollars off of the fans to support this. Think of it in terms of this, what if Martino, West, Leitch, whomever were approached to play in an elite league funded by MLS clubs, and they started playing at 14 or 15? I understand that NCAA will be problematic, however I believe that unless money exchanges hands, there can be in kind benefits given. Either way I believe that the best players in the U.S. would probably forgo college if this system was set up.

    As far as spending money on players like Figo, or Morientes, or whomever else that is brought up, I say who cares. There are many leagues around the world that are exciting to watch and don't have more than a few players that would gain more than $10 million in transfer. The French league, Turkish, and Dutch come to mind.

    What is important right now is selling some of the players that are ready to go to Europe, and sell them at a reasonable price. If you were able to get $6 or $7 million for McBride and DMB, that is the wage bill for two seasons, taken care of. In my opinion there are young exciting players to watch that are sitting the bench just waiting for these people to be sold. I honestly believe that the talent level in the league is increasing at a rate that if you lose a McBride there's two guys on the bench that could take his place. Buddle comes to mind, I know he has his moments of poor play, but the argument could be made that this is a derivative of his not getting enough time.

    As far as SEM goes, it's like I said in my initial post, to avoid what has happened in baseball, we could have a profit sharing plan, or, since it's already instituted, a salary cap. Both of those items help to keep the league competitive. Without SEM, Crew would be the most massive club in all of the U.S.. The stadium, the money made from Stern and Friedel, the money that could've been made from McBride, the fact that gate monies don't go up or down no matter what the win loss ratio is, ect. It's just totally unfair that rather than Crew getting the money for developing a player like Stern John, that the league gets it, it sucks, just think what we could've done with the money.
     
  11. kaiser kraut

    kaiser kraut New Member

    Jun 26, 2001
    Indianapolis
    Club:
    Columbus Crew
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I think Jean understands what I was thinking to a degree. If you do have a developmental youth system, and you compensate players with room & board, then the top players will sign with the league by the time they are 18. I'm sure there are ways to get around this with the NCAA considering how much other stuff people get away with. However, does it matter if a kid has elligability as much now if you're already signing the cream of the crop? Maybe that kid could play in college, but his chances of playing after that are now much slimmer... so it doesn't matter. Little Johnny Mid-West needs to learn that there is more to life than sports if you aren't going to make it as a pro. He'd be better off getting an education and finding a real job.

    People can adapt the system, the NCAA rules aren't set in stone, and besides, they mostly care about football and basketball. You don't have to be handing out paychecks, you can just make the team free to people who qualify through a try-out. If you make the cut, then you have a place to campout, eat, and play soccer. If a player is getting a minimal amount of compensation for playing for the equivalent of an upper level HS travel team, then who cares? This happens today. Sure it becomes more obvious what is going on if you're in a defined system like what is being proposed, but if it requires having a college teacher there giving classes and its acredited, then guess what? that could be collegiate too!

    BTW, no need for personal attacks swims... I never said a direct comment against you, just a reaction to what you wrote. Let's keep it to soccer.
     
  12. diablodelsol

    diablodelsol Member+

    Jan 10, 2001
    North Ridgeville, OH
    Jean...it's diablodelsol on these boards.


    Swims - just a few points of clarification regarding youth teams.

    Youth teams in all sports can get corporate sponsorship to cover costs of operating their team. MLS would serve as the corporate sponsor for 10 youth teams. That's it. No NCAA violation there (some teams are already doing this. The Crew, I believe, had planned on doing this but nothing became of it.) All players would remain amatuers.

    Don't worry about housing or any other expenses. You've got 10 metro areas with free competitive youth teams. That's much better than we currently have. You could even set up a system where local players (or even boosters) house non-local players. This is done in hockey and summer league college baseball w/o jeapordizing the players NCAA eligibility, so I'm sure something could be worked out.

    The Draft:

    The MLS draft is not like other drafts. It merely serves as an internal way to allocate new players to each of the company's 10 divisions. MLS signs the players, they can allocate those players however they wish.

    To get around NCAA regs, all MLS would have to do is have a free agent signing period before the drafts. A player can determine whether he wants to sign as a free agent, or enter the draft. Remember, MLS can sign whoever the hell they want as a free agent. All they have to say, officially or unofficially, is that they'll only sign players who played for one of the teams they sponsored.

    MLS then allocates those free agents to the teams however they choose. How would they do this? If you played for a youth team, you get assigned to that MLS team (or you are given the option). Now, if that team doesn't want that particular player, they wouldn't be signed and would enter the draft (if they choose to). They're free to do whatever they want. They can sign abroad if they're good enough. They can enter the draft and possibly be allocated to another division, or they can sign with an A-League team hoping that, given a year or two more seasoning, they will be good enough to make the team that sponsored their youth team.
     
  13. swims

    swims Member

    KK: I'm under no obligation to keep the gloves on when you respond to one of my posts with a string of obscenities and a rope's length of sarcasm. If you're cool, I'm cool.

    Personally, I wouldn't pay to see any youth teams play besides the U- fill-in-the-blank National Teams. Once again, sponsorship of a team is not the same as the signing of a player to a contract for his/her services. MLS already had the Project 40 system for singling out advanced players and packaging educational expenses. The present youth designation players in MLS probably have that option now so that NCAA elibibility is a moot issue.

    I agree that right now, Columbus would be a major player in MLS if not for SEM (and DC would probably still be leading the league). However, that fantasy dominance, if it were to happen, would not last as MLS grew. The major market teams would come to totally dominate as the league grew because of their much larger potential audiences/customers. That's where my MLB reference comes from. MLS would suffocate under a Steinbrenner situation where one or two organizations could pay the huge paychecks while the other teams teetered on the brink of bankruptcy. This is exactly why baseball is dying, and all of the investors in MLS have seen it coming since before there even was an MLS. I doubt any of the MLS investors would have even considered singing on without SEM, and it's nearly a certainty that Columbus would not even have had a team. In the bigger picture, assuming that MLS survives for the next 10 - 20 years and beyond, SEM actually benefits us.


    Back to the 'shot across the bow' article. If Stillitano et al were to sue over FIFA control of match sanctioning/scheduling and win, then FIFA could possibly fall like a house of cards. The one real benefit from my perspective would be that MLS would gain complete control over the referees. How it would affect the World Cup is less clear.
     
  14. diablodelsol

    diablodelsol Member+

    Jan 10, 2001
    North Ridgeville, OH
    Where would they sue them? In the US? If they sued FIFA, they would never put on an exhibition between two FIFA controlled teams again, regardless of the outcome in US courts.
     
  15. Flyer Fan

    Flyer Fan Member+

    Apr 18, 1999
    Columbus, OH
    I think the suit would be in US courts because...

    I'm interested to see what type of marketing was used for the exhibition match.
     
  16. diablodelsol

    diablodelsol Member+

    Jan 10, 2001
    North Ridgeville, OH
    What that quote fails to acknowledge is that membership to FIFA is voluntary. What team from another country is going to jeapordize their standing in FIFA to play an exhibition match in the US?
     

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