Major League Soccer, or MLS, commissioner Don Garber wants to make some interesting rule changes to the sport, including the addition of a time-wasting rule. The 65-year-old American recently spoke with The Times about a wide range of issues. That includes the aforementioned time wasting, as well as microphones on players and referee explanations for decisions.
Apparently, Garber despises it when players fake injuries to waste time. “Gamesmanship frustrates me to no end,” the commissioner said. “We sat down and said if someone is going to flop around and feign injury, getting leg massages, guess what? They’re coming out of the game. The players are beginning to [get up] quicker. The fans love it.”
The potential rule would make players get up within 15 seconds or face three minutes on the sidelines. Similar laws are currently in place in the lower tiers of American soccer. While Garber loves the idea, more research needs to be done before implementing it in MLS.
“We have work to do, collect more data, before we take it into MLS,” Garber explained. “I’d love to see that rule in MLS. We’re viewed sometimes as ‘the crazy Yanks’ and ‘let them try things out before we bring it to the rest of the world’. We were one of the innovators of VAR. There isn’t a sport in the U.S. that does not have video review and video review makes the game more true. The U.S. is the technological capital of the world.”
MLS Commissioner wants more than just time-wasting rule
Garber also spoke on the idea to mic up players and referees as well. The commissioner confirmed that he loves the idea. “I would in a heartbeat,” proclaimed Garber. “I’ve seen rugby matches with the referee having a GoPro camera. Whether that would ever happen I doubt it. But why not mic a player? There is a delay in broadcast so you wouldn’t have bad language.”
Younger fans certainly seem to want more engagement with sports. More leagues around the U.S. are implementing microphones on players. Major League Baseball even allowed on-field player interviews during games throughout the 2022 season.
Most fans want post-game referee interviews
One rule that almost all soccer fans would love to see implemented would be to allow referees to explain their decisions in a post-match interview. Garber certainly agrees. “When a referee has a stinker there’s no reason why the referee shouldn’t say, ‘It’s no different than the coach had a bad day or that player should have scored that sitter, I had a bad day.’ That would humanize our referees. It would earn the respect of fans and technical people,” claimed the commissioner.
These ideas would certainly shake things up in MLS. A timeframe of these potential new rules was not expressed by Garber though and it remains to be seen when or if the ideas will be put into place.
PHOTO: IMAGO / ZUMA Wire
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