Don Garber: Promotion and relegation not on the horizon for MLS
MLS commissioner Don Garber said on Friday that he doesn't see a promotion and relegation system in the league's future.
Garber was among the speakers at a sports business conference hosted by the University of Michigan's Stephen M. Ross School of Business.
The conference's official Twitter handle cited Garber, who has led the league since 1999, as saying MLS would not shift to the promotion and relegation system used in Europe and other parts of the world.
Don Garber says, "American does not have a long-standing soccer tradition" & @MLS will not shift toward a relegation system like in Europe.- MSBC (@UMSBC) November 4, 2016
Despite his stance against promotion and relegation, Garber is actively expanding the league toward an eventual goal of 28 teams, which would make it the world's largest single division.
But Garber still believes MLS can be a competitive force in the market -- with other American sports as well as foreign soccer leagues.
"We've been able to succeed in a market with professional leagues that have existed for over one hundred years." -Don Garber #MSBC2016- MSBC (@UMSBC) November 4, 2016
Garber, a former NFL executive, also said he has spent time considering the controversial topic of kneeling during the national anthem, a movement started by quarterback Colin Kaepernick to protest social injustice.
The protest was later adopted by United States women's national team player Megan Rapinoe, though it has not yet become an issue in MLS, and the conference said Garber "is pleased that he has not had to deal with that directly."
But Garber expressed concern that Rapinoe would kneel while wearing a U.S. shirt.
"She's competing for our country and wearing our flag," he said. "When you represent our country, you can stand for our national anthem."
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