January 2, 2013
THE SOCCER DON STRIKES BACK
MLS commissioner responds to Blatter's comments
MLS commissioner Don Garber admitted he was taken aback by the critical comments by FIFA president Sepp Blatter, who last week said Major League Soccer was struggling.
“The other major [U.S. sports] leagues are so deeply embedded in the culture and have been for generations,” Garber told Steve Goff of the Washington Post Soccer Insider. “MLS, in a short period of time, has made great progress. But we have not been around for 100 years like [some] other [U.S.] leagues and certainly like the European soccer leagues, and as such, our development is appropriate to where we are from an age perspective.”
The U.S. professional sports landscape is the most diverse and complicated in the world. It includes football, baseball, basketball and hockey. And that doesn't include college sports, particularly football and basketball.
“This is a very competitive sports market, and even within it, MLS is competing for broadcast and sponsorship agreements and municipal stadium funding packages," Garber told the Soccer Insider. "We have been able to make progress in all of those areas, and you can’t fake that. We don’t, in any way, believe we are ready to stand toe to toe with the Premier League, but the Premier League has been around far longer.”
During an interview with Al-Jazeera last week, Blatter said: “We had the World Cup [in the United States] in 1994. But we are now in 2012 — it’s been 18 years — it should have been done now. But they are still struggling.”
Garber reportedly will forgo the FIFA Ballon d'or ceremony in Zurich, Switzerland on Monday to attend Soccer Night in Newtown, Conn.
For the full story by Soccer Insider, visit: http://tinyurl.com/attvmz8