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[Archived] Msl: How Does It Work?

Fife Rover

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I know this has been touched on and to a limited extent discussed before in various threads, but I am genuinely interested in this topic and I am hoping our trans-Atlantic friends will be able to help us out with a more detailed description of how the MSL actually works with respect to the wage structure, and the allocation of players, and any views on how well/badly this all works.

Obviously my reason for asking is connected with the big questions:

1. Is it a good or a bad thing?

2. Could it work here?

3. Should it be introduced here?

4. With all the takeovers in the future, are the new club owners going to be attracted in this direction?

What do YOU think about it all?

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short answer (although my countrymen I'm sure will go into better detail):

all contracts are to the league and not to an individual team

teams pay the playes though

league enforces a salary cap against players with the exception of the "designated players" (see below)

player types:

Designated player (aka the Beckham rule)

Each team has one slot (although slots can be "traded" or "sold" to other teams)

DP only counts a certain amount against each salary cap

teams can have no more than 2 DP on a side

Senior International Players

players over 25 who do not hold US/Canadian citizenship or resident alien status

typically paid more than average player, but not necessarily so

either 3-4 spots per team

Youth International Players

see above bt under 25, generally paid average league salary or less

Developmental Players

essentially reserves who are paid a paltry amount to be footballers - most have secodnary jobs to supplement income

not a bad idea for the 17 year old as the US has no real "academies" in place yet, aside from a National U17 residency program

for people out of university, its not much to live on

and then everyone else

I think teams are now capped at 28 players (first team + reserves)

Player allocations - the big mystery

there is a "draft" every year which essentially is a selection of collegiate players who join the league, in order to find a team. they along with youth players and the occasional international player interested in the league are picked in a draft, where the teams with the worst records the year prior get first selection.

DP slots are worked out with each team individually and then approved by the league

SI and YI spots are given through a certain amount of "player allocation" funds each team possesses (also by prior record). these can be traded among teams in full or partial value (say a $500,000 spot is broken up into 2 separate $250,000 pieces). Again, negotiated by each team individually and then sanctioned by the league

US player allocation - the "weighted lottery" where based upon a ###### method of previous record and past league allocations, teams are given higher chances of obtaining the rights to a player. In a lot of cases, the lottery seems "fixed" when player X ends up in the team closest to home, even though that team only had the 3rd or 4th best chance of acquiring said player. Is it fixed - no one knows for sure

(as in when Szetela left the everton reserves to come back to MLS)

hope that helps for a start

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I dont get it, its stupid. They left it divided into west and east coast so they could do playoffs and get mainstream America interested. Just cause every other sport has it, they decided to try it, and its stupid. Ad I hate it. And i dont care if I'm ranting and starting all my sentences with and. And the MLS is just as bad as this post is grammatically incorrect.

I hate the MLS. It sucks, the end.

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Basically, while some concepts are good it's simply too late to introduce them. Had there been a salary cap in place from the very start then it would've been fine, but you can't really introduce one now at this stage.

I've also found it quite interesting that the US, a country with less wealth redistribution and other "socialist" concepts in society has very strict rules to keep a somewhat level playing field in sports. Whereas in Europe it's the other way around.

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I dont get it, its stupid. They left it divided into west and east coast so they could do playoffs and get mainstream America interested. Just cause every other sport has it, they decided to try it, and its stupid.

While I prefer a single table as well, I think the split tables works for MLS.. The teams play more games within their conference than against teams of the opposite conference.. and traveling is a major issue in the US. It's a long trip from LA to NY, DC etc.. which is not only demanding on the players, but it also means there is no real chance of fan or club rivalry developing. Playing teams closer to home allows for better rivalries and atmosphere..

Anyway, I've decided to follow both the BPL and MLS, accepting that they are two very different leagues. It's fun, and I like it!

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the vast majority of yanks who actually follow football yearn for a single table. Latest we hear is that when the league expands enough (to 16 teams in another 5 years or so) then we may have a single table.

but there will still be playoffs for the "championship," that much is certain.

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Well thanks to all those who have taken the trouble to reply so far, but (and this is not meant in a critical way) I am not really getting an answer to my original questions. Maybe I should try and re-phrase them: What I am asking is basically does the system over there work and suit the clubs, players and spectators? Also, would the MLS system work over here in the UK? Or in other words again; is it something we should be considering over here, and is it more, or less likely, to cure the various ailments that we suffer from in the EPL?

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the east west thing, in terms of travel, made a lot of sense for the small league with financially wobbly base. Forcing the LA - NE flight twice a season would have been murder in the early years. And the point about fans is true enough.... we have some huge NE adn LA fans on here, and how many of them have seen a game of their team live in the other stadium?

I think the fact that the U.S. Open Cup has virtually no hype is the biggest problem with the sport in the states, not really anything to do with the MLS. Just think what would have been teh storylines in England if the US Open cup semi-final results had occurred there...

Two matches with a lower division side taking on a top league side. Both games into Extra Time and end 2-1. In one of those 2 games, the game ended with only 10-men on one side and 9 on the other due to a near-brawl between former teammates. In the other game, it was 0-0 at the end of regular time, all three goals scored in extra time. However, in the end both top league teams barely scraped by...

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I don't think it would work here, simply because of the number of teams involved. The MLS is really a closed system, the PL, Championship etc etc are not. Teams swap between divisions every year, players switch between divisions, players come in from abroad etc. We've got UEFA, and the EU to deal with also, they'd surely have something to say.

Although it seems more even, "bigger" teams still get better players (i.e. where most money could be made). For example it is highly unlikely that David Beckham would ever have signed for Real Salt Lake.

And besides, the FA can just about cope with the system the way it is now, if they had to control everything centrally it'll all go wrong!

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Fife, the sysem worked for the MLS when it was a broke league trying to start in a coutnry with a rather largely apathetic view of the sport.... I doubt that most of the rules (the player slots mentioned earlier) would really work for the EPL, certainly the league 'owning' all the contracts and the player distribution would be a sore spot with the big-club-bias conspiracy theories well established already. The first time that the "next-insert-famous-footballer's-name" comes around and gets assigned to ManU or Liverpool, or even West Ham, as opposed to someone else who has a better chance... oh say wigan, pompey, blackburn, etc... there'll be a hellstorm.

A salary cap system as used in other sports 'could' work, depending ont eh structure. In fact, to my mind, it would work better in theory in football rather than the curernt sports, due to the fact that most football 'trades' are actually purchases. In the USA, to get high priced talent, the only way is to either pay them more money (which goes against the salary cap) or you trade other players (which typically ends up as a swap of young talents for establish players). However, in football, a team with oodles of money in football, can still buy out contracts, and technically, most of that moeny goes to the opposing club, not the player, and would likely be exempt from most forms of a cap. The issue for the big teams would be figuring out how to keep all the salaries and bonuses below the cap. You'd never see signings like the SWP signing by chelsea, only to have him rot on the bench.

In theory that should be higher quality players get spread out more, since the big money teams can't pay them all, AND it might also mean that the way around the cap (to keep more $$ for the high profile stars) is to elave a lot of your bench filled with youth players, who havent' earned a huge contract. You'd see a marked reduction in squad depth at some sides, though, depending on how high the cap is, if its too low, injuries will cause quality of the EPL to suffer, if its too high, it does nothing, since it won't curtail salaries or "player hoarding", if its just right, the big $$ clubs, with the most influence, will sceram since they are affected more than others.... Given the influence of the top 4, it won't be installed, unless some major investment comes in to muscle out the top 4, in which case they might see the cap as a way to use their "football knoweldge" as a way to counter-act new and potentially naive investment.

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Oh, and a draft would never work in England... the sheer complexity of trying to dole out young english players though a draft would be staggering... who gets a pick, EPL clubs? EPL and League clubs? EPL, league clubs and non-league clubs. With the current academy system, when/how do kids become eligible? Can they play with the local academy and avoid the draft, or do they have to declare? If Accy Stanley gets the first pick, would they even want to or be able to pick the best talent, since there's virtually no way they could pay the wage demands of a 17-year old Rooney, for example?

In my eyes, drafts promote losing. the worst team gets the best young talent. It works in a closed system since in theory it makes it harder for teams to stay strong, and it helps rebuild losing teams, but in a relegation system... it'd be an itnersting counter-balance (better than a parachute payment, perhaps).

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