Asia's financial clout will affect every league in the world, says MLS chief

The New Yorker has told that he believes the likes of the CSL have the ability to influence the way in which other championships go about their business
By Alex Labidou

Major League Soccer commissioner Don Garber believes that the financial clout of emerging leagues in Asia cannot help but have a dramatic effect on the global game.

The Chinese Super League is currently attracting a lot of attention, with Didier Drogba having recently joined his former Chelsea team-mate Nicolas Anelka at Shanghai Shenhua.

The pair are on lucrative contracts and Garber admitted that the vast sums of money now on offer in the Far East have the potential to change of the face of the game.

"The global economy continues to shift," the MLS supremo mused in an exclusive interview with "I think those changes are going to affect every business.
"Clearly in this transfer window, a handful of Chinese clubs made massive investments. There are also rumours of an emerging football league in India backed by the country's wealthiest person. That's certainly going to have some impact.

"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."

Garber admitted, though, that his primary focus at the moment is on the establishment of a city rival for the New York Red Bulls, believing that MLS would benefit as a whole.

"We're very focused on it," he admitted. "We believe that having a second team here will allow the Red Bulls to really capitalise on some of the success that they've had in this market.

"We would have a rival here that we think would allow our league and our sport to capture the interest of soccer in this massive market. There are 13 million people here.  There's no shortage of interest and a second team would really capitalise on that."

The 54-year-old Garber, who hails from Queens, has held the top job in MLS since 1999.

Garber spoke with 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.