The blog site “Prost Amerika” has an interview with Sean Clemens, a prominent “soccer banker” who has done a significant amount of work with MLS and Serie A clubs and players.
The wide-ranging interview deals with a number of issues, but most notable to us is Clemens’ opinion on the future of American professional soccer when it comes to promotion and relegation.
And yes, we’re opening that unfortunate Pandora’s box of discussion again this fine Tuesday in December.
“I haven’t done enough extensive analysis on this issue yet to be fair. All reports from MLS headquarters indicate that we aren’t there yet anyways – that this issue is still about minimum 10 years out, if not more. But to be honest, in a system where pro/rel exists, I’m not convinced that relegation would devalue the club as much as we might think.
Sure, the economics are unfavorable for relegated teams but if that team continues to maintain a strong fan base, I believe relegated franchises are recoverable. MLS is really in a unique spot. The league is faced with a decision to follow the traditional European model to or to take a more American approach. MLS has both systems so readily available to draw from and is perhaps blessed to create a hybrid of both.”
So, in other words, what this vaunted banker had to say is that any of you saying it has to be one way or the other for soccer to make it in America needs to take a step back and learn a thing or two about relaxation techniques and coping mechanisms.
I’d say, “Your thoughts?”, but they’re coming either way! Have at it.