So since the start of the whole CBA debacle I have maintained that I understand a lot of the positions of both the league/owners and the union/players, but it doesn't take much to know that neither side is 100 percent right. I do agree that players have a right to earn more money (the need is greatest as the bottom of the salary ladder), but I agree that a salary cap is needed to protect the league from unnecessary risk and to ensure some level of parity in the league.
I can think of nothing that points out how fragile the world of soccer can be than the current situation at Portsmouth in the EPL (a top division team, but probably not for long). Twice in the last 3 months the players have gone unpaid on payday, because the team doesn't have the money in the bank to pay them, but this went beyond the players where everyone in the organization at the workers at the stadium weren't paid.
More after the jump
The situation is so bad that the only way they can pay their people by the 31st of January was to sell a player you can read the story here. One has to ask themselves how can this happen, they have lots of sponsors and partners, they have a killer TV deal as part of the EPL, they have a decent stadium and plans to upgrade it over the next few years. So how does that result in a team that can't pay their bills? Well they spent money they didn't have, when they had money they didn't pay their debts, they spent more, and their result is changes in ownership multiple times. It got so bad that for a time yesterday their website was taken down for non-payment.
So what does this have to do with MLS, or the CBA? It simply is a sign of how things can quickly spiral out of control and no matter how much incoming revenue a team might have, just going about spending without some level of control can lead to disaster.
Now on the other hand you have situation that Mike Petke (NYRB) pointed out about the potential for "the Don" to earn more than the current salary cap for an entire team-
"With MLS’s team salary cap set at $2.4 million, the potential deal would offer Garber the chance to earn more than most MLS teams currently pay their entire roster. It also could be an increase of 50 percent over his current deal, which features a $1.3 million base salary and incentives that can take his annual pay beyond $2 million a year."
I have to be thankful for the work he has done. Nobody can say that the league is in worse shape than when he took over in 1999, but is he worth a 50% raise? Sorry the answer is no. I appreciate all that he has done for the league and the sport, but after listening to him in Seattle at a couple different events it is clear he was a great leader for the past but is really out of grips with the world around him today.
What do I mean, well it has taken the league years to realize that their website was horrid and that forcing teams to use the same horrid design and features was an awful idea. He fails to understand things like facebook, thinking it doesn't have a chance to succeed because he doesn't get how it can make money. He likes twitter, if only he can come up with a way to monetize it. Now the league has made some changes, but they still clearly don't understand social media very well, and they say they want to embrace the fan culture and supporter groups but then relegate travelling supporters into the upper decks of Qwest field for the MLS Cup.
They have played great lip service to the fans for years, but when it comes to actually doing something they drop the ball. Case in point, the MLS All-Star match, a perfect chance to share the sport with current fans and bring in new fans, but they limited the events that expose the players to fans, like no open practice. They are much better than US Soccer, but when their big splash events of players at sponsor locations got no advertising or PR, only handfuls of fans showed up. They did a great job of having sponsors put on a prematch event at the stadium, but I believe that was more the work of the sponsors than it was the league.
10 years at the reigns of an organization is a long time, but the world has changed much in the last 10 years and the rate of change is moving faster than ever and having almost every decision that impacts teams, the league, and the sport in the US having to be run by one guy is at the end of its lifecycle. Power needs to be moved to the teams, with some strong leadership and guidance coming from the league, but I have real questions about signing "the Don" to a long term very pricey deal. I expressed my concerns over the long term deals with Adidas and ESPN, and how they have lead to mediocre efforts from them. The league and the sport stand on the edge of breaking into the mainstream of sports in the US, and Don should get a great deal of the credit for getting us here, I just think some new blood might be needed to move us to the next level.
This is just the opinion of a fan, nothing more, nothing less.
OFF MY SOAPBOX