David Beckham believes that the introduction of promotion and relegation could be an asset in Major League Soccer - but any innovation would have to be carefully managed.
Beckham is preparing for his debut season as an MLS owner as his new franchise Inter Miami takes the field to kickoff the 2020 campaign.
The former Manchester United, Real Madrid and England star also has first-hand experience of the league as a player, having starred for the LA Galaxy while claiming two MLS Cup titles.
The promotion/relegation debate is a perennial one in the United States, with former USMNT coach Bob Bradley revealing he was in favor of adopting the system earlier this week.
“What eventually has to happen is we need promotion and relegation,” Bradley told a panel convened to celebrate 25 years of MLS.
“And I say eventually. … Could it happen in two years, four years? Obviously, you have ownership like LAFC, they put in a lot of money. They invest a lot of money. They built the stadium. So I understand that part, but right now there’s a feeling by too many that they’re not part of the game in this country, and we have to work harder to change that. We have to do it by giving more opportunities.
“If a small club anywhere in the country gets its act together, knows how to provide playing opportunities for young kids, has good coaching and can develop players, if there’s a team there, and then at some point they can go from the fifth league to the fourth league to the third league to the second league."
Beckham echoed Bradley's sentiments by drawing on his own experience in Europe's top leagues, while warning that its introduction must not compromise the still-developing league.
"On the relegation system, you know that's one thing that I've thankfully never experienced: being relegated. Luckily I always was always fighting to win leagues and to win championships," he told a media roundtable on Thursday.
"But it's something that I've been used to, you know, over the years, being part of league being part of leagues where there is a relegation system within whatever league I played it. It makes it exciting, but when you're talking about a league that's only been around for 25 years there needs to be a real stability in the league before you get to that point, I think that the work that's been done within the teams that come into this league.
"It's only growing, and that's a great place to be in but I think the commissioner and his team have done an incredible job as the years. And that's why we're in the position that we are now.
"What the future holds, we'll see, but I think the fact that, we're at a stage now where more franchises and more teams coming into this league, more stadiums are being built specifically for the game. That's a great place to be. Who knows what happens in the future but we're excited about what's happening right now."