SBD/6/Leagues Governing Bodies

MAJOR LEAGUE SOCCER HIT WITH ANOTHER MAJOR PROBLEM

     Major League Soccer (MLS) "received another setback
Wednesday.  Actually, it was more of a slap in the face."  The
American Professional Soccer League (APSL) "unanimously rejected
an overture from MLS officials that the two leagues join forces."
The "sticking point" for APSL owners is MLS's intention to
operate as a so-called "single-entity" league, with the league
itself owning all the teams and the player contracts.  APSL
Commissioner Richard Groff, who narrowly lost the U.S. Soccer
Federation presidency to MLS head Alan Rothenberg, said APSL
owners are "vehemently against such a concept":  "It was totally
unanimous. ... [APSL owners] prefer to own their own teams, to
own the players, to develop the teams in their marketplace and to
be responsible for 100% of the income and the expenses."
Therefore, the MLS and APSL will go head-to-head next spring,
competing for both players and fans, even though the USSF had
said there could be only one first-division league in the
country.  Groff had hoped there might be a "possible middle
road": "We could see a compromise, within the MLS, there could be
a division of single-entity teams and another division of owner-
operated teams" (Grahame Jones, L.A. TIMES, 10/6).
     WHERE THE TEAMS ARE:  The APSL currently operates as a 7-
team league with franchises in L.A., Vancouver, Seattle,
Montreal, Toronto, Ft. Lauderdale and Denver.  They hope to add
two or three more markets in '95.  MLS, which has a TV contract
with ESPN and many contracts with equipment manufacturers will be
a 12-team league.  Seven franchises have been awarded:  L.A.,
Boston, Columbus, OH, New York, New Jersey, San Jose and
Washington.  The other five will come from among the following
bidders:  Atlanta, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Houston,
Indianapolis, Kansas City, Sacramento, Seattle, Tampa and Tulsa
(L.A. TIMES, 10/6).
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