Major League Soccer commissioner Don Garber said Thursday soccer leagues worldwide are working to unite and exert greater influence over FIFA as the corruption-tainted body reeled from a fresh wave of arrests.
Swiss authorities conducted another dawn raid at a Zurich luxury hotel Thursday as they did in May and arrested South American football confederation (CONMEBOL) president Juan Angel Napout and Alfredo Hawit, head of the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean football (CONCACAF). Garber said the arrests highlighted the need for leagues around the world to join forces to exert more pressure over FIFA.
“The arrests this morning demonstrate for me that there are two worlds of soccer,” Garber said during a conference call ahead of this weekend’s MLS Cup final.
“It’s the game played on the field and the scandals that exist with the governance of the sport at many levels.
“We have begun, as much as our league can do, to have an influence over the governance of the sport,” Garber said.
He cited his involvement in a meeting with leaders of England’s Premier League, the German Bundesliga plus the French and Japanese leagues in creating a new group to exert influence over FIFA.
“That’s going to happen,” Garber said of the new group. “I’m very focused to ensure that’s going to happen. I think it’s the right time to start this association of world leagues.
“We’ll work on the process of how we will as an association be recognized by FIFA and the decisions they make that have an impact on this great game. Perhaps we can make the game better at all levels.”
Among those decisions would be the awarding of the 2022 World Cup to Qatar, where hot temperatures forced a scheduling in November and December — the heart of the club season in Europe and a non-starter for many leagues.
The US Soccer Federation is set to host Copa America Centenario next June with North and South American national teams playing across America.
The event had been put in doubt by the FIFA scandal but it set to be played, with Garber saying MLS is seriously considering taking a two-week break in early June during the tournament.
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