Fixing Superliga

superliga Fixing Superliga

The concept is sound, the TV contract outstanding for people in large markets (but non existent for those outside top 25 TV markets) and the marketing is flawless. But this year’s tournament has exposed Superliga as something we had hoped it was not, and sincerely hope it will not be going forward: a sham. Superliga needs to shape up, and it needs to remain in place because it has the potential to be so much more than it has been this year.

Many critics point to the formation of the CONCACAF Champions League as a reason to retire Superliga. My view is if CONCACAF knew how to run a competition properly, Superliga never would have had a window to begin play in 2007. The bottom line is the changing qualification criteria and calender time of the now defunct CONCACAF Champions Cup proved beyond a reasonable doubt that the Confederation cannot properly run a tournament. The Champions League must be viewed with skepticism until actually played, because CONCACAF has a long standing record of bungling anything it runs.

But Superliga has proved to be an incredibly flawed product. Beyond the obvious problems with location of matches and officiating has been the continued disastrous handling of the prize money situation by MLS/SUM. Commissioner Garber yesterday shot down the strong statement by players from Houston and New England to pool their prize money. This leaves an incredibly bad taste my mouth as someone who has defended this tournament and its value against critics north and south of the border. This falls also against the backdrop of the ugly incidents in the semifinals, which were so notable they even made the papers across the pond.

How can SUM reconcile these problems?

1- Spread the Tournament out over several months with home and away group matches.

2- Defend the CONCACAF officials openly against charges of favoritism in the Mexican press. Relate to Mexican journalists that these officials are the same individuals assigned to World Cup qualifying matches.

3- Clearly publish the rules of the competition before it begins. This in particular relates to tiebreaker rules which CD Guadalajara was made unaware of until right before the club’s match against Atlante.

4- Open the competition up to the winner of the Central American Club Championship, which this year would have been Montagua from Honduras who at the time sporting Amado Guevara who was on loan from MLS.

5- Ensure the Telefutura announcers do not show their bias during the telecasts. The jingoism of the Telefutura announcers has led indirectly to the return jingoism of some American commentators including yours truly. It’s imperative after so many problems this year that this event returns to being a sporting competition not a war between nations and ethnicities.

This entry was posted in Leagues: Major League Soccer, Superliga. Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to Fixing Superliga

  1. Ian says:

    Good post but honestly the tournament is now becoming too much in the way of violence and fighting. It needs to go away.

  2. Lee says:

    1. One of the biggest criticisms of the tournament is fixture congestion. Adding more games (due to home & away) isn't going to help.

    2. Agree. Also giving the FMF input onto securing referees wouldn't be a bad idea.

    3. If Chivas didn't know the rules until right before their last match, they have no one to blame but themselves. The problem was clearly they assumed what the rules were, without actually taking the time to verify them nor communicate them to the players & coaches.

    4. No. What makes this so attractive of a tournament is that its the regions two most powerful leagues going head to head. No one in Mexico or the USA gives a fark about the occasional Hondouran team. Thats what the Champions League will be for.

    5. I don't know Spanish, so I don't know what the commentators are saying. But a little national pride doesn't hurt things, although I do wish there were English broadcasts (at least in the markets without Telefutura) to help balance things.

    Overall I love SuperLiga. It provides the most compelling football that MLS clubs encounter at least until the MLS Cup playoffs (which in my opinion is in more need of an overhaul than SuperLiga).
    As for the pay structure, the only reason its an issue this year (where were the howls from the players last year?) is because the players union is heading into its next CBA negotiations, plain & simple.

    Thanks for the article!
    Lee

  3. Ian says:

    Good post but honestly the tournament is now becoming too much in the way of violence and fighting. It needs to go away.

  4. Pingback: Soccer News Aggregator » Fixing Superliga

  5. Lee says:

    1. One of the biggest criticisms of the tournament is fixture congestion. Adding more games (due to home & away) isn’t going to help.

    2. Agree. Also giving the FMF input onto securing referees wouldn’t be a bad idea.

    3. If Chivas didn’t know the rules until right before their last match, they have no one to blame but themselves. The problem was clearly they assumed what the rules were, without actually taking the time to verify them nor communicate them to the players & coaches.

    4. No. What makes this so attractive of a tournament is that its the regions two most powerful leagues going head to head. No one in Mexico or the USA gives a fark about the occasional Hondouran team. Thats what the Champions League will be for.

    5. I don’t know Spanish, so I don’t know what the commentators are saying. But a little national pride doesn’t hurt things, although I do wish there were English broadcasts (at least in the markets without Telefutura) to help balance things.

    Overall I love SuperLiga. It provides the most compelling football that MLS clubs encounter at least until the MLS Cup playoffs (which in my opinion is in more need of an overhaul than SuperLiga).
    As for the pay structure, the only reason its an issue this year (where were the howls from the players last year?) is because the players union is heading into its next CBA negotiations, plain & simple.

    Thanks for the article!
    Lee

  6. MLS Fan says:

    Great ideas. I fully agree that some spreading out of the games would be good – and then add home/away matches.

    It is great to see two MLS teams in the final – but they all got to play home games. Certainly the final would look much different if all the games had been in Mexico…

  7. MLS Fan says:

    Great ideas. I fully agree that some spreading out of the games would be good – and then add home/away matches.

    It is great to see two MLS teams in the final – but they all got to play home games. Certainly the final would look much different if all the games had been in Mexico…

  8. Ian says:

    Good post with some great ideas.

  9. Ian says:

    Good post with some great ideas.

  10. Max says:

    I like the tournament and would hate to see it die, but yesterday's show of solidarity by the Houston and NE players after the match is sure to have major ramifications going forward.

  11. Max says:

    I like the tournament and would hate to see it die, but yesterday’s show of solidarity by the Houston and NE players after the match is sure to have major ramifications going forward.

  12. Jim says:

    I think it's funny when people, mainly Mexican team fans or non-MLS American soccer fans, say “well go play them in Mexico and THEN it's a real tournament.” You don't think Soccer United Marketing, the FMF, and MLS thought of that? Athletico Madrid's tour of Mexico barely brought out fans south of the border, you think a midweek matchup between Santos Laguna and the Revs is going to bring in the crowds? Sorry Charlie, not gonna happen and if the Mexican players and clubs won't own to it up publicly they know it's true regardless. I like this tournament a lot (and I did before my Revs won it) but it is a money-making venture for MLS, SUM, and the FMF teams. Is Chivas original flavor really “on the road” when they're in DC and half the stadium is on their side? The Mexican teams are here to connect with their fans in this country, MLS is trying to show them they can also support it's teams, and both organizations want to (and are) making a nice chunk of change from this. Playing this tournament in Mexico would be more “fair” in some people's eyes but in the eyes of the accountants and officials it's monetary death.

  13. Jim says:

    I think it’s funny when people, mainly Mexican team fans or non-MLS American soccer fans, say “well go play them in Mexico and THEN it’s a real tournament.” You don’t think Soccer United Marketing, the FMF, and MLS thought of that? Athletico Madrid’s tour of Mexico barely brought out fans south of the border, you think a midweek matchup between Santos Laguna and the Revs is going to bring in the crowds? Sorry Charlie, not gonna happen and if the Mexican players and clubs won’t own to it up publicly they know it’s true regardless. I like this tournament a lot (and I did before my Revs won it) but it is a money-making venture for MLS, SUM, and the FMF teams. Is Chivas original flavor really “on the road” when they’re in DC and half the stadium is on their side? The Mexican teams are here to connect with their fans in this country, MLS is trying to show them they can also support it’s teams, and both organizations want to (and are) making a nice chunk of change from this. Playing this tournament in Mexico would be more “fair” in some people’s eyes but in the eyes of the accountants and officials it’s monetary death.

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