Who Cares About Don Garber?

Don Garber is an interesting man. For 16 years he worked for the National Football League as head of NFL International where he oversaw all aspects of the NFL’s business outside the United States, including the NFL Europe League.

Today he is the Commissioner for MLS, a post he was appointed to back in 1999.

The MLS was struggling before Garber was made Commissioner. The league lost $34 million the year before he arrived, something which Garber soon turned around. MLS now sells more than it buys in the transfer market, with emphasis on long steady growth over many decades rather than borrow money to get the world’s best stars like the bankrupt NASL did.

MLS, under Garber’s control, has made the financial playing field level between clubs, so that no club can find themselves in financial difficulty. The MLS system is different to that of other leagues. It’s based on partnership and revenue sharing, subscribing to the theory that you’re only as strong as your weakest link. So without Real Salt Lake or FC Dallas there is no MLS, which means that teams like DC United and LA Galaxy cannot survive.

MLS currently has no debt. Any team that wants to borrow money, has to get approval of the league and the Commissioners office.

Money will be lent to clubs in very limited circumstances: mainly to fund new stadiums. The building of soccer specific stadiums for all the league’s teams, is part of Garber’s plan to make MLS self sustainable. By 2010, eight MLS teams will own their own stadiums.

The league has a strict debt ceiling and that’s what gives it stability. Without it there would be no Major League Soccer today.

The question is, should the Premiership follow the MLS model? Or are the elite European clubs looking to abandon their domestic leagues in order to play in a weekly European League?

Or is this post boring and has zero to do with beating West Ham on Sunday? Do you care more about the Liverpool v. Manchester United game on Sunday than the business model of the MLS? Let’s face it, if Liverpool beat Manchester United then the title race is thrown wide open. If the Manchester United win, then Rafa could get fired if he loses to Arsenal’s youngsters in the Carling cup next week. Do you try and figure out, when you’re taking a dump, what line-up Wenger will field against Liverpool? I do.

When Jermaine Defoe got sent-off last Saturday against Portsmouth, did you figure out if his three match ban included Arsenal? I fucking did.

What about Lee Cattermole, the Sunderland midfielder? His knee injury lasts three months which means he misses Arsenal’s visit next month. Great news, I thought when I worked that one out.

This is what I do in my spare time. I work out stuff like this. Its better than reading about Don fucking Garber and MLS that’s for sure.

Keep it Arsenal

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