Why the Promotion/Relegation Debate Should Be Ignored

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One of the topics that generates a lot of clicks on the Internet, but that we’ve purposefully stayed away from, is the debate about promotion/relegation in the US soccer system. There’s a couple of reasons why we’ve avoided it until now. One, it’s a hornet’s nest. It attracts a lot of irrational comments from both sides of the fence. The “conversation” among readers ends up quickly descending into chaos.

The second reason we generally avoid the topic is that promotion/relegation isn’t going to happen in the United States until the NFL adopts it first, which means it’s never going to happen. The mere concept of pro/rel is completely against the way that the NFL and MLS operate.

For soccer fans in the United States who want promotion/relegation to happen, it’s a pipe dream. The system in place will not allow it. And even if they did, which they won’t, the vast majority of second and third tier clubs in the US aren’t financially or commercially ready to sustain the move up to the top tier.

Soccer is not a democracy. While we like to think we do at times, soccer supporters have no representation or impact on how soccer federations run or are governed.

At the same time, the pro/rel debate has continued because people in the media have made the topic a priority because it generates clicks, views and heated debate. By engaging in the topic and replying to trolls tweeting about the topic, the anti-pro/rel crowd (mostly fans of MLS teams, or the MLS in general) have added fuel to the fire and given exposure to the promotion/relegation advocates, which is exactly what they want.

I realize that by merely bringing up the topic that this article feeds into that in a minimal way, but I felt it important to set the record straight regarding why we’re not covering the topic or getting into heated debates on social media about it.

One thing I do agree about is that it’s healthy to question the US Soccer Federation, MLS and other leagues and/or football associations around the world. But for those who want to make promotion/relegation a reality in the United States, it’s a waste of time. They’d be better off spending their time for something good that will have a positive impact on the sport in this country like volunteering to coach a kids’ soccer team, or something else.

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