Inter Miami coach Phil Neville has hit out at Major League Soccer (MLS) over delays in announcing the playoff format for the upcoming season. It’s not the first time we’ve seen Inter Miami criticize MLS either.

Neville claims that the lack of information regarding the proposed playoff format one week from the start of the season, is one reason why the league isn’t considered among the top leagues in the world.

Proposed MLS changes

MLS’s proposed change in format is set to increase the overall number of matches in the league.

The proposed change will also accommodate more inventory for the MLS season pass on Apple TV and create more game-related revenue for owners. 

It has also been reported that the MLS wants to ensure that every playoff participant will host at least one postseason match broadcast.

Moreover, a proposed shift to a best-of-three round will see the MLS expanding the league to include nine teams from each conference. The eighth and nine seeds will contest a play-in match if the new format is adopted. 

The winner would advance and face the first seed from their respective conference in best-of-three conference quarter-finals. This format would also see a minimum of 25 playoff matches. 

The regular season is set to kick off next week on February 25th, with this campaign being the first of a 10-year partnership with Apple. 

The tech giant has paid an astonishing sum of $2.5 Billion to acquire the rights to show every MLS match. The deal is believed to be one reason the league is considering expanding the playoffs.


Neville, who is frustrated over the lack of information, said in an interview with The Athletic

“We’re six days, seven days out from the first game of the season; we don’t know the playoff format. I think that’s poor. 

“When you’re talking about professionalism, and ‘elite,’ I think when you’re seven days out from the start of the season — we’ve had talks here, and one of our players asked one of the MLS guys the other day ‘what’s the playoff system’ and they were like, 

‘We don’t know.’ And I’m like, ‘That’s not elite.’ You’re talking about differences between the U.K. and the U.S.? We talked about the intensity of the fans. (This is another) big difference.”

The former Manchester United player continued, 

“If we want to be the best and be compared to the top leagues, this should’ve been decided two months ago. So that irks me a bit.”

“We’ve planned the whole season and we actually don’t know when the season ends and how many games we’ve got after the regular season. 

So, for me, seven days out from the start of the regular season, that’s cross — we need to be better at that … My question is who is figuring it out? Is it Apple? Who is wagging the dog?”

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