SBD/Issue 56/Leagues & Governing Bodies

Garber Speaks For The First Time On Possible MLS Contraction

Contraction "is on the table for MLS, and it may happen in time for next season," according to Jamie Trecker of SPORTSTICKER. MLS Commissioner Don Garber said in a statement, "We need to closely analyze what is best for the league to continue its track toward success. If a team is not adding to the overall value of the league, then we need to make a decision that results in the best interests of the long-term future of MLS. That said, no decisions regarding contraction have been made." Trecker noted that the league "is actively discussing" contraction and added that the Tampa Bay Mutiny "seems to be a logical choice. ... The other choice could be either San Jose or Dallas" (SPORTSTICKER, 11/30). Wizards and Crew Investor/Operator Lamar Hunt said of contraction, "I think there's a possibility that it might happen. There's a lot of restructuring talk going on. If it's done under the right circumstances, it could be favorable." MLS Founder and BOD member Alan Rothenberg said that the league has "considered contraction for the last few years." The SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL's Sweet & Mullen note the decision to contract "would be made by MLS' 10-member [BOD]. None of the members is affiliated with Tampa Bay, Dallas or San Jose." Since MLS will introduce its '02 schedule in January, "a decision is expected before the end of the year" (SBJ, 12/3 issue).

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