USL and NASL: Still No Resolution

December 31, 2009 at 6:23 am | Posted in Vancouver Whitecaps | 1 Comment

Today it was announced that the United States Soccer Federation has decided not to sanction either the USL or the NASL.   Basically, they have told the two sided to go away and get back to the negotiating table.  Neither side, apparently, has been able to convince the USSF that their league, on its own without the other, is worthy of being sanctioned for play.    In my view the USSF feels the USL and the NASL are stronger together than apart, a conclusion I agree with.  There is no doubt that this would be better for football, so the USSF has taken a principled approach by doing what is best for the game, rather than the interests of the squabbling rivals.  While I had hoped Puerto Rico and Portland would remove all doubt from the issue by moving to the NASL, they have not done so.   I agree with the ruling by the USSF.  A negotiated solution is best for all parties concerned.   If negotiations are to succeed, both sides must be motivated to settle.   Perhaps the USSF is hoping the threat that neither will be sanctioned will give the USL and the NASL motivation to compromise.   We can only hope.

I feel the USL must make the first move because it was their inflexibility which has caused the whole problem.  If they were not keeping the teams happy and allowing them to grow, they have not been doing their job as a league and the operating model must change.   While the USL must be given credit for keeping teams alive and investing in the future by rescuing franchises during its history, (the Whitecaps being one of these teams), the teams themselves ultimately bear the operating costs, and must take care of their own marketing.  Lets face it, as a brand, USL has no standing.  It is virtually invisible. People in Montreal do not support the Impact because they are playing in the USL, they support the Impact because they love the Impact. The same goes for the Vancouver Whitecaps.  Would the Whitecaps lose one fan because the Caps could be playing in the NASL rather than the USL?  Absolutely not, nobody cares.  What, then, does the USL have to offer the teams, which have marketed themselves on their own as brands?  I have not read one advertisement in which the Whitecaps boast of playing in the USL…   It is time for the USL to recognize the team’s brands are bigger than its own.   If a deal is to be reached, the USL must give  the NASL teams more of a stake in the running of a unified league.

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  1. There is not much time. Today and tomorrow will not be full working days for all parties involved. That leaves 5 days to sort this out. Good luck


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