Thursday, July 31, 2008

SuperLiga Salvation

In only two years of existence, two different SuperLiga scenarios have already played out in the final.
The first was the MLS/Primera Division split final, with Pachuca and the LA Galaxy representing both participating leagues. Pachuca, of course, became the first SuperLiga champion in history. Now, the 2008 winner is sure to be an MLS squad - either New England or Houston - because a second finals scenario has taken place; two MLS teams in the final. The last possible configuration is obviously two Mexican clubs battling for the title.
But SuperLiga may not make it that far if problems persist and teams from Mexico vow not to participate.
Here are my suggestions for the tournament.

1) Play in Mexico. SuperLiga should start incorporating at least one Mexican venue every tournament, even if for only one match. It would season up the MLS teams, and give the tournament true international ambiance.

2) Split the difference on refs - yes, the tournament is organized by SUM, but as a gesture of involvement, the FMF should get to pick half the refs involved in the tournament. SUM should just ask for a list of names to be submitted by a certain time, and if the complaints about the refs start again, politely point out that half the officials were approved by the other side.

3) Play on decent fields.

4) Negotiate an equal split of the prize money - players should not get less for winning simply because they play for an MLS squad.

5) Have the captains of each squad read the FIFA Fair Play pledge before each match - perhaps it wouldn't make a difference, but perhaps it might serve as a reminder that players are role models.


Anonymous said...

I have another: have only MLS teams participate and stop wasting the time of Mexican clubs with these crappy tourneys...

Anonymous said...

another solution: ditch the tournament since every time a Mexican team loses they want to have a gang fight.

Ben7 said...

Hopefully the suits think like you!
would be lots of steps in the right direction.

I'll never forget the early morning around 4-7am) SuperLiga Final 2007.

Dramatic match own goal, Becks injuried, Klein equalises in the final seconds with one of my all time fave goals, only to loose after PKs...

But I think that the newly created CONCACAF Champions League (which eliminates the Champions Cup) eventually will "kill off" SuperLiga aswell, since it includes Mexican, MLS and many other countries teams aswell.

EscapeGoat said...

I liked LB's earlier idea of replacing Interliga with Superliga, turning it into the qualifier for Copa Libertadores. That would increase its legitimacy, and increase the Mexican teams desire to really prepare for it, instead of just showing up and then looking pissed when they're actually faced with competitive games.

It would be great to have some games in Mexico, but wasn't the reason SL (and Interliga) created was to tap into the fan base in the US? No matter how much the FMF teams may whine about the refs/fields/etc, they love counting the money they rake in from the Mexican fans here. Do you think they would give that up? If they had the games in Mexico, how many fans would actually come out to watch their team play some MLS team they've probably never heard of? In the CCC last year, Pachuca had to give their tix away when they played the Dynamo, as otherwise no one cared. I don't think the interest/rivalry is there in Mexico, whereas here the games tap into the Mexican/Mexican-American fan base, which, for the FMF, is filled with dollar signs. (Which makes the "ref fix" accusations even more ludicrous; the organizers are probably losing a fortune by having two MLS teams in the final.)

And yup, the new CCL may just make this all irrelevant.

FeRio said...

escape goat,

You expect Mexico to put one of their Libertadores spots up for grabs in order to have an interesting tournament based in the U.S.? The only beneficiary of that is the MLS as the Mexican teams can play a friendly against FAS at the Coliseum and generate the same revenue these fake tournaments produce. That's all this was for. Don't get it twisted.

Arranging friendlies in the U.S. has never been a problem. The FMF got itself into this by selling its soul to SUM which in turn has only ended up hurting the league with poorly organized money-grabs.

As for the eventualy moot "salvation" points (just for the sake of arguing),
1.) Playing in Mexico, while adding a smidgen of credibility, once again only benefits the MLS. American teams are a hard sell in Mexico and require some creative marketing to get people to show up as escapegoat already mentioned.
2.) CONCACAF refs are garbage, but if picking and choosing from said garbage gives both sides a sense of accomplishment then so be it. I agree.
3.) This shouldn't even be a point of improvement.
4.)Only MLS related point, but as it stands it is/was an entirely unfair way to split the prize. I agree.
5.)This is what happens when you have a one sided competition. Imagine indifferent MLS squads against USL competition in the USOC where the winner wins a spot in MLS.

papa bear said...

TV rights issues prevent matches in Mexico at the moment. That would have to be cleared up once the new deal is negotiated (3 years from now I believe)

the griping about refs is old. Everyone who loses complains about refs. If it requires Mexican referees to prove that the better teams won so be it.

As ben7 pointed out though, this tournament is more likely doomed because of the Champions League. They come so close to one another on the calendar that teams will start using Superliga as nothing more than a warm up.

If they really wanna make something of it, Superliga should be the UEFA Cup of CONCACAF.

Oh and to the 2 people saying that Mexican teams would have no benefit to allowing Superliga to replace Interliga: It's not up to them. It's up to CONMEBOL. If CONMEBOL says 'hey we want MLS teams to have a shot to get into Copa Lib' then there would be have to be some way to determine who gets in and Superliga would likely be that instrument.
Of course if it was up to the Mexican teams alone they wouln't want Interliga replaced, but it really wouldn't be up to them.