Don Garber revealed to Goal.com that the emerging league in China and possibly India will change how MLS operates as a league but there are some positives out of new markets.NEW YORK -- Major League Soccer Commissioner Don Garber has acknowledged that emerging soccer leagues around the world could affect the way the North American league operates.
While MLS has lost out on the likes of Nicolas Anelka and Didier Drogba, Garber believes that there could be some positives that come out of having strong leagues in China and possibly India.
Speaking with Goal.com, Garber discussed the impact of new emerging soccer leagues, whether or not struggling teams might need to relocate and the league's long standing desire to have a second team in New York.
(Responses were edited for length purposes)
The China Super League has attracted many top stars to its league over the past year. Does the league pose a threat at all to MLS's development moving forward?
The global economy continues to shift. I think those changes are going to affect every business.
Clearly this transfer window, a handful of Chinese clubs made massive investments. There's rumors of an emerging football league in India backed by the country's wealthiest person. That's certainly going to have some impact.
At the end of day, this is a tough business. We've been through the thick and thin of it for 16 years now. We're less concerned about what happened a month ago as opposed to what's happening over the next decade or generation.
Will this require MLS teams to focus more on developing home grown stars?
The commitment to home grown players and development is going to be a part of what we do regardless of financial pressures of emerging leagues. I think that dynamic is going to affect soccer globally for a period of time. It's going to affect every league. It's going to have an impact on helping some of those leagues grow and create a global market and that can be good for MLS.
We can take our teams to tour in China, we can hopefully sell our TV rights there. There are some players that we have that maybe that Shanghai team might be interested in purchasing and we might have interest in that owner investing in MLS. All of these shifts have an impact but that impact is really a dual impact and it doesn't affect things in one way.
Teams in Europe are spending less in anticipation of Financial Fair Play. What are your thoughts about that and do these developments benefit MLS at all?
I think Financial Fair Play is just smart.
I hope that UEFA is able to put some rules into place that will create more order in football around the world. I think that's good for owners, leagues and confederations and it's good for the fan. Ultimately, if there's more order, MLS will benefit from that in a wide variety of ways, not just on the field.
There are few teams in MLS that are continuing to struggle in terms of attracting fans. (i.e. Columbus Crew or Chivas USA) Have you ever given relocation consideration for teams in that position?
No, listen this is a good year for MLS and the last couple of years as well. You're not in any sports league that's going to have 100 percent success in every market. That's how professional sports have operated and will continue to operate both here and abroad.
We are going to continue to support those teams that have had challenges and then feel good about sharing the practices of teams that have being doing well in certain markets. So at the end of the day, relocation isn't even remotely in consideration.
The speculation continues about New York having a second team. What are MLS's plans regarding a second club in the city?
We're very focused on it.
We believe that having a second team here will allow the Red Bulls to really capitalize on some of the success that they've had in this market. Have a rival here that we think will allow our league and our sport to capture the interest of soccer in this massive market. There's 13 million people here.
There's no shortage of interest and a second team would really capitalize on that.
Follow ALEX LABIDOU on
Garber spoke with Goal.com as part of Adidas and MLS announcement of implementing miCoach on all 19 teams next season. The technology will provide all MLS clubs with a new way of tracking performance.