Parity in Football
By Chris Riordan
The detractors of MLS are very quick to point out the leagues’ deficiencies. However, there is something that MLS has, which a lot of Europe ’s top flights don’t … parity. Sure, it’s a bit frustrating seeing the level of team’s play fluctuate so much, week to week. It certainly show’s the lack of a league powerhouse. And this makes it difficult to separate the cream of the crop from the flotsam and jetsam.
However, this is one of the things that make the league exciting. How many top leagues in Europe do you know that are as wide open as MLS, late in the campaign? Every year in England , it seems to be the same top four. I’m sure the supporters of clubs like Newcastle , get tired of watching football shows that only cover the “Big Four”.
Yes, it would be nice to see a little more consistency from teams in MLS. Who can go from looking like a title contender to a bottom feeder, any given match. But what sounds more enticing to fans? Watching your team fight all year in a balanced league, for playoff spots? Or, watching a top heavy league, watching your team fight for the right to … fight off relegation another year?
I realize that a lot of this has to do with the salary restrictions in MLS, and the single entity that the league is. Without these restrictions, teams in larger markets could dominate, just like in the EPL. Yet, isn’t there something that can be done to level the playing field in Europe a bit more?
As has been stated on this site, the FMF maintains a highly competitive league, while keeping the balance that makes each fixture so exciting. Even with this parity, the FMF remains entertaining and continues to dominate CONCACAF regional championships.
While I wouldn’t mind seeing a little more separation between the best and worst teams in MLS … I feel that European leagues could learn at least something of this “parity” from North America .