FIFA exposed its hypocrisy this week when it went public with its response to the ruling on the European Super League, which is completely the opposite of the way it treats North America’s version of The Super League, Major League Soccer (MLS). FIFA has one rule for soccer and a different one for MLS.

This week, the European Court of Justice ruled that FIFA and UEFA abused their power in attempting to block the breakaway league from forming. The two governing bodies also acted unlawfully by threatening to sanction any club for joining the league as well.

FIFA quickly released a statement after the official ruling’s announcement.

“In line with its statutes, FIFA firmly believes in the specific nature of sport, including the pyramid structure – which is underpinned by sporting merit – and the principles of competitive balance and financial solidarity,” stated the governing body.

“Football owes its long and successful history to the above-mentioned principles, which FIFA, the confederations and the member associations will continue to promote in the future, in the interest of all football fans worldwide.”

However, these words are FIFA are hollow since they don’t apply them to the United States, which doesn’t have a pyramid structure, nor does it use sporting merit to allow the best teams to rise to the top.

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While FIFA claims to support a pyramid structure, this is not the case here in the United States. Major League Soccer has been a closed division since its creation in 1996. Yes, there are smaller leagues in the United States, but these clubs cannot earn direct promotion to the top flight.

Promotion and relegation in MLS have been a heated debate among soccer fans since the league’s formation. Many soccer supporters here Stateside would love for MLS to implement promotion and relegation. Nevertheless, it will not happen anytime soon.

There are various claims as to why MLS has strongly resisted the move. Many say that team owners would never agree to potentially being relegated from MLS. In turn, this would devalue their massive investment.

MLS Commissioner Don Garber has also shot down suggestions of promotion and relegation many times during his reign. Garber even suggested in 2011 that there is “no strong second division” here in the States. This was although several lower-level teams became MLS franchises.

However, Garber’s biggest blunder regarding the topic came in 2015. The commissioner claimed that it made no sense to invest billions of dollars only to perhaps play in “Chattanooga in a stadium of 4,000 people on a crappy field with no fans.”

FIFA hypocrisy supports Super Leagues outside of Europe like MLS

As the MLS commissioner and the club’s owners are content with the status quo, the fans keep asking questions. FIFA, despite the aforementioned hypocritical statement, is also backing the North American league’s current system. The United States Soccer Federation governs MLS. U.S. Soccer currently calls FIFA the “ultimate administrative authority” on the game. This organization is part of CONCACAF. The confederation is then one of FIFA’s six continental governing bodies for the sport.

FIFA’s thinly veiled stance on the pyramid structure is only valid in certain areas. While the governing body correctly wants to block the formation of the European Super League, they do not seem to mind supporting other super leagues. After all, MLS is a super league of its own in Canada and the United States.

So, when you see the slogan “Earn it on the pitch” in different European leagues (and FIFA) that are in opposition to the European Super League, ask them why they don’t apply that to US soccer too.

Photo: FIFA.