FIFA president rebuffed after he claimed MLS would change its calendar.
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“What I’ll say is what [MLS Commissioner Don Garber] said last year. We looked at it last fall and we concluded that at this point in time, it was not a change that we could make. We don’t rule it out for some point in the future, but there’s not an imminent plan to change to the international calendar.”
MLS Deputy Commissioner Mark Abbott rules out the possibility for the time being of the league changing its calendar to fall into line with Europe and much of the rest of world football.
Abbott was responding to comments made by FIFA president Sepp Blatter, who said a decision to shift the calendar had already been made.
Speaking ahead of the U-20 Women’s World Cup in Canada, Blatter said: “They have taken the decision… I do not know exactly when they will start… to adopt their calendar to the European calendar. You know, right now they are a little bit outside of this international calendar compared to Europe.”
The MLS season runs from March until early December, playing through the summer, with some of its players temporarily loaned back to Europe during the close-season.
His comments are understood to have taken MLS officials totally by surprise and Abbott was happy to clarify the league’s stance.
Last year MLS commissioner Don Garber said that the league had considered an international calendar, but decided against it so as not to compete with traditional US sports and to avoid playing in freezing conditions in many American cities.
“We have not been able to figure out a way… to justify moving those games from the very valuable May and June time period into February and end of December,” Garber said. “We will continue to look at it … but it’s not something we’re going to do in the short-term.”
The league took a break during the World Cup and it is unclear whether Blatter meant it would shift its entire schedule, or simply amend it to fall into line with FIFA’s international calendar. Or, whether he had simply got it wrong.