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A Yank's Question About England's Free-Transfer Rules

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In earlier versions of FM, players became eligible for poaching when their contracts had six months to run. In FM2009, the poaching can't begin until there is only a month left in their contracts.

My dumb question is this: Do I now have an extra five months to negotiate new contracts before my players are at risk from poachers?

PS--I tried searching for this but found no postings. (Probably too basic a subject for all except Yanks.)

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Also, as an american, can you tell us why the MLS wont just adopt a transfer system like the rest of the world? This whole drafting thing is silly in football, baseball, basketball american football yeah ok thats fine. But come on!

Why be different to the rest of the world?

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It depends on the league, i know if your an English/Scottish team you cant agree to sign a player from another English/Scottish team until they have one month left. From the rest of Europe however you can negotiate with 6 months left on their current contract.

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Also, as an american, can you tell us why the MLS wont just adopt a transfer system like the rest of the world? This whole drafting thing is silly in football, baseball, basketball american football yeah ok thats fine. But come on!

Why be different to the rest of the world?

I suppose the US may come round to it, it was my impression that the the draft system was in place to ensure a fair spread of young professionals, please correct me if im wrong!

Remember in the MLS when it first began and penalties were run from the half way line? Eventually the MLS changed it so you still have hope.

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It's still there but slightly changed, they can still be "poached" under the Bosman ruling from teams overseas.

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IRL you cant sign a pre-contract with a team in your own country until you have only 1 month left on your contract. If you are signing players from abroad then you can approach them when they have 6 month left.

IRL we all know that teams would approach players but not offically eg, Michael Owen. It is well know that clubs approached him with a view to moving in June on a Bosman but nothing was official as it is against rules.

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I suppose the US may come round to it, it was my impression that the the draft system was in place to ensure a fair spread of young professionals, please correct me if im wrong!

Remember in the MLS when it first began and penalties were run from the half way line? Eventually the MLS changed it so you still have hope.

Yeah im just saying its an English game and most English would get peeved if americans took the game and changed the rules!

I mean American football is blatantly Rugby

Apparantly Football derived from china and has been apparantly proved.

Lets say we brought it back and developed the game, making it English.

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Also, as an american, can you tell us why the MLS wont just adopt a transfer system like the rest of the world? This whole drafting thing is silly in football, baseball, basketball american football yeah ok thats fine. But come on!

Why be different to the rest of the world?

I'm not an American :) but I think it's just because the draft system is so integral to their idea of fair sporting play. The draft system is there to make sure no one team dominates for decades and makes the sport stagnate. That's why you see a lot of different teams challenging for the Super Bowl etc every year. A club can put together the core of a good team and keep it for years but they are stopped from getting first dibs on all the up and coming players.

It's an odd system to have to use in Football but considering the relative age of the American teams and competitions it's a good idea. If they scrapped the system and one team just ran away with it year after year then the whole thing would die.

As for the OP, I don't know but is it partly an age thing as well? Players under a certain age get their contracts protected for longer?

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Also, as an american, can you tell us why the MLS wont just adopt a transfer system like the rest of the world? This whole drafting thing is silly in football, baseball, basketball american football yeah ok thats fine. But come on!

Why be different to the rest of the world?

The MLS is a mess. It's one of the reasons I play in England in FM. There's no simple answer to your question. Part of the answer is that nearly everything in MLS stems from the fact that the league, not the clubs, own all player contracts. Another part is the tradition of drafts in the other USA sports leagues.

Drafting in football -- er, soccer -- is silly. In general, the level of training in colleges is poor when compared to pro clubs around the world. In general, a young player wastes his developmental years by going to college. There is only a handful of good college programs in terms of developing talent. Most of the good young USA players did not choose college or played college ball for a brief time. Much of our national team pool skipped college and were with pro clubs when they were 18-22 years old. Occasionally, the draft will produce quality players. But most are reserve-level talent willing to play in MLS for as little as $12k a year. A few will develop. Most won't. But the draft system is a way of keeping full rosters with lower wage and scouting costs. Now in its 13th season, the MLS continues to run a deficit. Even a $15M sale of Beckham to AC won't balance the books. That said, we in USA are lucky to have MLS investors who care more about developing football than making money.

Yes, we have a player draft and, no, we'll never have promotion-relegation.

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Also, as an american, can you tell us why the MLS wont just adopt a transfer system like the rest of the world? This whole drafting thing is silly in football, baseball, basketball american football yeah ok thats fine. But come on!

Why be different to the rest of the world?

I'm not an American :) but I think it's just because the draft system is so integral to their idea of fair sporting play. The draft system is there to make sure no one team dominates for decades and makes the sport stagnate. That's why you see a lot of different teams challenging for the Super Bowl etc every year. A club can put together the core of a good team and keep it for years but they are stopped from getting first dibs on all the up and coming players.

It's an odd system to have to use in Football but considering the relative age of the American teams and competitions it's a good idea. If they scrapped the system and one team just ran away with it year after year then the whole thing would die.

As for the OP, I don't know but is it partly an age thing as well? Players under a certain age get their contracts protected for longer?

Peljam has one part of it right. The fairness aspect along with the salary cap is used to try to even out the teams so that basically any game you watch could be a close one.

Another reason is financial. If a player can negotiate with multiple teams for the highest wages they can get, they will get more than if they are locked into one team. It might not be fair to the player but the MLS is still a young league and most of the teams have been losing money for over 10 years. Without some of the special transfer rules in place to keep wages in check, there would be no MLS today.

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Also, as an american, can you tell us why the MLS wont just adopt a transfer system like the rest of the world? This whole drafting thing is silly in football, baseball, basketball american football yeah ok thats fine. But come on!

Why be different to the rest of the world?

There is a world outside of America? Are you sure?

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My dumb question is this: Do I now have an extra five months to negotiate new contracts before my players are at risk from poachers?

Don't wait too long. I think teams from other European leagues can still poach your talent. So don't be surprised if your bright young prospects switches to a top Italian or Spanish team.:D

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Don't wait too long. I think teams from other European leagues can still poach your talent. So don't be surprised if your bright young prospects switches to a top Italian or Spanish team.:D

Thanks, everyone, for the help. I don't take chances with the talented players. I usually get them locked up to extensions during the off-season. What prompted my question were a few aging players who I may not want to re-sign. I wanted to know how long I can wait on these guys, who I don't think will be high on anyone's poach list. If I wait on these guys, they probably will cut their salary demands.

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As some other people have said teams from other countries can poach your players 6 months from the end of their contracts. It's only teams from your own country when you are playing in England or Scotland.

Really you should never let a player you want to keep get to a year or less on their contract. That way if they want to move to another club you have all the factors favouring you, once the player has less then a year on their contract they have you by the balls. You can occasionaly convince a player to stay at your club, but in general they are leaving no matter what you want so sell them as fast as possible to get the best price.

As for the draft thing I never really got it. I know it is supposed to level the playing field but the rubbish teams in general are still rubbish, it just seems to level out the difference between the top teams. Sometimes a rubbish team does get better but it often takes a decade or more for a team to turn around, unless you are talking Basketball or maybe Ice Hockey where one great player can carry along the whole team. Even then that team generally returns to mediocrity once that player inevitably moves on to a better team. It's also slighty bizarre that a country that loves free trade and capitalism whole heartedly embraces such a socialist idea IMO.

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As for the draft thing I never really got it. I know it is supposed to level the playing field but the rubbish teams in general are still rubbish, it just seems to level out the difference between the top teams. Sometimes a rubbish team does get better but it often takes a decade or more for a team to turn around, unless you are talking Basketball or maybe Ice Hockey where one great player can carry along the whole team. Even then that team generally returns to mediocrity once that player inevitably moves on to a better team. It's also slighty bizarre that a country that loves free trade and capitalism whole heartedly embraces such a socialist idea IMO.

I don't know much about European geography but London has a population of something like 15M(off top of head) and New York has 18M, if we go by major professional sports, New York usually has 2 teams(baseball, football, hockey), But there is only 1 MLS Team.

There are how many soccer teams in London? 10 at least and about 5 of those are top flight, because there are so many teams, it reduces the difference between the London and Birmingham clubs in terms of Popularity, Media Contracts, etc.

In North America, we don't have that, its unheard of to have 5 teams in a major professional sports league in 1 city, even if its New York City, Is it fair to have New York(18m) to compete against Kansas City(200 Thousand)? absolutely not, New York would have a much larger fan base, bigger television contracts and would have the ability to sign all the big players thus, there would be no parity.

That is my explanation to have the draft system in North American Sports

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I don't know much about European geography but London has a population of something like 15M(off top of head) and New York has 18M, if we go by major professional sports, New York usually has 2 teams(baseball, football, hockey), But there is only 1 MLS Team.

There are how many soccer teams in London? 10 at least and about 5 of those are top flight, because there are so many teams, it reduces the difference between the London and Birmingham clubs in terms of Popularity, Media Contracts, etc.

In North America, we don't have that, its unheard of to have 5 teams in a major professional sports league in 1 city, even if its New York City, Is it fair to have New York(18m) to compete against Kansas City(200 Thousand)? absolutely not, New York would have a much larger fan base, bigger television contracts and would have the ability to sign all the big players thus, there would be no parity.

That is my explanation to have the draft system in North American Sports

Kansas City? Isnt that near where the Wizard Of Oz lives?

And the MLS is divided by north and south i understand? Just like our JPT

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The draft system is based upon the Franchise System is it not? e.g the equal distribution of talent ensures that even the poorest of teams can't stay poor for long and ensures that Franchises are attractive to investors.

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That's only for the Generation Adidas kids no? I know a guy who just got drafted up this season and he's generation Adidas and hence has a larger salary than most of the other guys who got in in pick rounds 2,3 and 4.

Problem is most of these youngsters aren't even guaranteed a contract and with the roster limit cut, less chances for them to actually prove themselves.

Most top colleges do have an intensive training program, I would rate those in the top 20 rankings to have decent training programs, if not facilities.

They've gotten rid of the Supplemental Draft though, so that's one step in the right direction...

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booo draft

i am crushing mls currently with tfc and the draft is appaling

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That's only for the Generation Adidas kids no? I know a guy who just got drafted up this season and he's generation Adidas and hence has a larger salary than most of the other guys who got in in pick rounds 2,3 and 4.

Problem is most of these youngsters aren't even guaranteed a contract and with the roster limit cut, less chances for them to actually prove themselves.

Most top colleges do have an intensive training program, I would rate those in the top 20 rankings to have decent training programs, if not facilities.

They've gotten rid of the Supplemental Draft though, so that's one step in the right direction...

They also got rid of the Reserve Division, and there's also less roster spots, which ain't good imo. :(

I think the United Soccer League won't mind loaning some MLS players though...

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Kansas City? Isnt that near where the Wizard Of Oz lives?

And the MLS is divided by north and south i understand? Just like our JPT

Nope, Western and Eastern Conference, just makes more sense with the travel, playing teams that are geographically closer to you more often than taking a 10Hr plane ride across the continent.

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Nope, Western and Eastern Conference, just makes more sense with the travel, playing teams that are geographically closer to you more often than taking a 10Hr plane ride across the continent.

I suppose thats best lol, must be the only thing to do having a league in a large nation

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To the people who don't like the draft or think it's stupid:

Besides it being different and maybe confusing, what do you have against it?

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I just couldn't resist New York Red Bull is actually based off of New Jersey, New York's unnoticed little step brother... So yeah New York doesn't actually have a team it just has the illusion of having a team by name... Same situation with the New York Giants they play in the same stadium (which by the way is another issue Europeans would have with the MLS a lot of teams play in American Football stadiums)... Imagine if Reading FC where called London FC even though they were located in Reading and played in Reading... Why does New Jersey always have to suffer under New York's shadow... New York is so fake...

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I just couldn't resist New York Red Bull is actually based off of New Jersey, New York's unnoticed little step brother... So yeah New York doesn't actually have a team it just has the illusion of having a team by name... Same situation with the New York Giants they play in the same stadium (which by the way is another issue Europeans would have with the MLS a lot of teams play in American Football stadiums)... Imagine if Reading FC where called London FC even though they were located in Reading and played in Reading... Why does New Jersey always have to suffer under New York's shadow... New York is so fake...

The NY Jets play in the same stadium also.

By the way, MLS teams are slowly moving out of the American Football stadiums. It's going slowly because it takes a lot of money and support/approval of the communities which in some places is even harder to get than money.

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I just couldn't resist New York Red Bull is actually based off of New Jersey, New York's unnoticed little step brother... So yeah New York doesn't actually have a team it just has the illusion of having a team by name... Same situation with the New York Giants they play in the same stadium (which by the way is another issue Europeans would have with the MLS a lot of teams play in American Football stadiums)... Imagine if Reading FC where called London FC even though they were located in Reading and played in Reading... Why does New Jersey always have to suffer under New York's shadow... New York is so fake...

The New York Red Bulls new state of the art soccer complex,The Red Bull Arena,is due to open in 2010! Where? You guessed it. Harrison, NJ.

The New York tag=money where New Jersey, well...not so much. They used to be called the Ny/Nj Metro Stars but dropped the Nj.

It's all about marketing and making money.

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The New York Red Bulls new state of the art soccer complex,The Red Bull Arena,is due to open in 2010! Where? You guessed it. Harrison, NJ.

The New York tag=money where New Jersey, well...not so much. They used to be called the Ny/Nj Metro Stars but dropped the Nj.

It's all about marketing and making money.

Like the MLB's Anaheim Angels now Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim... :rolleyes:

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To the people who don't like the draft or think it's stupid:

Besides it being different and maybe confusing, what do you have against it?

Well seeing as sport is, like life, inherently unfair I don't see the point in trying to even the field in such a way.

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Well seeing as sport is, like life, inherently unfair I don't see the point in trying to even the field in such a way.

It lets the small market teams compete with the large market teams. It stops the large market teams from dominating year after year. The smaller teams would most likely fold if there was no chance at ever being able to compete. American sports are about making money so the more teams you have in a league the more money you make.

IMO It makes it exciting , changes things up a bit.

example- The Arizona Cardinals were the worst American football team for years. Through the draft they built up a pretty good team and made it to the Super Bowl.

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If they adopted the transfer system, they could always revamp the whole system and develop upper and lower leagues? That way big teams play big teams and small teams against small teams, then its up to MLS to get the money flowing around the teams.

My idea probably wont be a very good one as football isnt as popular in america as other sports, so development of any team would be minimal.

Although american teams can buy players they only tend to bring in old popular players. David Beckham is the main example, but others have been targeted, i remember near the beginning of the season, Seattle were targrting Thierry Henry (i may be wrong about the team, or wrong altogether, as it was probably a romour)

Most aging american players go back to the MLS, e.g Claudio Reyna, whilst promising young players tend to come to Europe, E.g Jozy Altidore, freddy adu, and Eddie Johnson.

Draft all you want MLS, good talent will come to Europe

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I don't think its appropraiate to slate the MLS draft because it works well in the states, as someone mentioned above, it evens the playing field. Keeps things competitive in order to attract a larger fanbase. If the MLS were similar to England, with one or two teams dominating every year, Americans would lose interest and the lesser teams would fold because of a lack of interest.

The biggest difference between Europe and the states is that we have the history, each club has usually over a 100 years worth of history. Our fans usually turn out in their thousands even though their team, like Derby last year, were bottom of the league all season. That wouldn't happen in America. We seem happy a lot of the time to accept season after season of mediocrity because we are "true football fans".

It took our league until the 90's for it to become a commericial success and the formation of the EPL took us on to a different level. In 50 years time the MLS will probably adopt a similar transfer system to ours, so to criticise it now in it's current form is not constructive.

I've looked and I can't find any reference to why a player can't sign a pre-contract agreement at a minimum of 6 months, other than they have to be at least 23 years of age.

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It lets the small market teams compete with the large market teams. It stops the large market teams from dominating year after year. The smaller teams would most likely fold if there was no chance at ever being able to compete. American sports are about making money so the more teams you have in a league the more money you make.

IMO It makes it exciting , changes things up a bit.

example- The Arizona Cardinals were the worst American football team for years. Through the draft they built up a pretty good team and made it to the Super Bowl.

It didn't stop the New York Yankees from dominating Baseball.

It's a cultural thing really, like Jase1982 said Europeans will turn up week in week out even if their team is being demolished in every game, most will still turn up if the team gets relegated. We might be annoyed by the Man Utds, Real Madrids, etc... having a massive financial advantage but we live with it and it makes it all the sweeter when you beat those big boys. If a draft system was introduced over here I doubt that anyone would support it, let alone understand how it works. A salary cap is a much better system of leveling the field and also financially a good idea.

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It didn't stop the New York Yankees from dominating Baseball.

It's a cultural thing really, like Jase1982 said Europeans will turn up week in week out even if their team is being demolished in every game, most will still turn up if the team gets relegated. We might be annoyed by the Man Utds, Real Madrids, etc... having a massive financial advantage but we live with it and it makes it all the sweeter when you beat those big boys. If a draft system was introduced over here I doubt that anyone would support it, let alone understand how it works. A salary cap is a much better system of leveling the field and also financially a good idea.

This last season the Tampa Bay Rays (40 mill payroll) finished in 1st place in the same division as the Yankees (200 mill payroll) who finished 3rd. The Rays built their team through the draft.

I'm not saying the draft should be introduced in England. Just saying it works here. The reason is like you said- European fans are extremely loyal where a lot of American fans are not.

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If the draft system is scrapped and 2 or 3 teams begin to dominate, MLS will go bankrupt. The sport doesn't yet have the kind of loyal fanbase that will watch a losing team. That may take generations to establish.

p.s. did the OP really refer to himself as a "Yank" isn't that like a Scot referring to himself as a "Jock"?

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A salary cap is a much better system of leveling the field and also financially a good idea.

Will never happen, we'd be waist deep in spat-out dummies for just mentioning thinking about it.

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Will never happen, we'd be waist deep in spat-out dummies for just mentioning thinking about it.

Only because greed took over. There used to be a salary cap until Jimmy Hill led a players revolution in the 60's to have it abolished...now here we are 40 years later with vastly over inflated player wages and every club in England, if not the world living in debt.

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To the people who don't like the draft or think it's stupid:

Besides it being different and maybe confusing, what do you have against it?

Imagine I grow up in New York, a New York fan, my friends are all in new york, my family all live there, I have a significant other in the city...

Now assume i'm the hottest young talent in US footballing history...

Why should I have to go for FC Kansas because they happened to finish bottom, and thus got first pick my year?

Change New York to London, with me growing up an Arsenal fan. If i'm the best player in British history to come through, I can choose to play for Arsenal. If I'm not so good, that's where I have to decide between my city and my career.

Not very fair on young talent, is it?

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Imagine I grow up in New York, a New York fan, my friends are all in new york, my family all live there, I have a significant other in the city...

Now assume i'm the hottest young talent in US footballing history...

Why should I have to go for FC Kansas because they happened to finish bottom, and thus got first pick my year?

Change New York to London, with me growing up an Arsenal fan. If i'm the best player in British history to come through, I can choose to play for Arsenal. If I'm not so good, that's where I have to decide between my city and my career.

Not very fair on young talent, is it?

Professional athletes in North America have no choice to choose where to play. That's just how's it been forever. Of course, you don't have to report to the team that drafted you...you just have to face the consequences.

We have this "It's a business at the end of the day" mentality where the club has all the power to determine where a player goes to when he's traded. Of course, there's something called a no-trade clause in some contracts. But that's another day for another discussion lol.

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Aren't English teams limited to signing youngsters to their Academy from within a certain area around where they're based? (At least English players, anyway.)

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Aren't English teams limited to signing youngsters to their Academy from within a certain area around where they're based? (At least English players, anyway.)

I'm 99.9% certain that is not the case in England. Our young talent generally go where the cash is.

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The MLS is a mess. It's one of the reasons I play in England in FM. There's no simple answer to your question. Part of the answer is that nearly everything in MLS stems from the fact that the league, not the clubs, own all player contracts. Another part is the tradition of drafts in the other USA sports leagues.

Drafting in football -- er, soccer -- is silly. In general, the level of training in colleges is poor when compared to pro clubs around the world. In general, a young player wastes his developmental years by going to college. There is only a handful of good college programs in terms of developing talent. Most of the good young USA players did not choose college or played college ball for a brief time. Much of our national team pool skipped college and were with pro clubs when they were 18-22 years old. Occasionally, the draft will produce quality players. But most are reserve-level talent willing to play in MLS for as little as $12k a year. A few will develop. Most won't. But the draft system is a way of keeping full rosters with lower wage and scouting costs. Now in its 13th season, the MLS continues to run a deficit. Even a $15M sale of Beckham to AC won't balance the books. That said, we in USA are lucky to have MLS investors who care more about developing football than making money.

Yes, we have a player draft and, no, we'll never have promotion-relegation.

It is because of this that the MLS will ultimately fail. It HAS to become subject to free market economy rules sooner or later or the whole thing will crash and burn. If Beckham's income can't support the current system... Wow, the league is doomed. Marketing simply does not get bigger than Beckham, the MLS needs to start living by the principles of economics or it will be like Pele, Moore, Best etc in the '70s. Football clubs need to be subject to market conditions.

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It didn't stop the New York Yankees from dominating Baseball.

It's the lack of a salary cap in baseball which has allowed the Yankees dominate. The draft in baseball is the least important of any of the American leagues, besides maybe hockey (NHL). Major League Baseball is the worst run professional league in the United States in my opinion and they are losing fans every year for various reasons.

Imagine I grow up in New York, a New York fan, my friends are all in new york, my family all live there, I have a significant other in the city...

Now assume i'm the hottest young talent in US footballing history...

Why should I have to go for FC Kansas because they happened to finish bottom, and thus got first pick my year?

Change New York to London, with me growing up an Arsenal fan. If i'm the best player in British history to come through, I can choose to play for Arsenal. If I'm not so good, that's where I have to decide between my city and my career.

Not very fair on young talent, is it?

That is a fair point; however...

If a player is that good, in real life they make their intentions known to the MLS and head over to Europe. There they would make way more money anyway. This year, two players (two of the best, in fact) that I'm aware of did that: Mike Grella and Marcus Tracy.

If they prefer to stay in the U.S. then they probably won't be playing for their favorite team. They could ask for a trade but it's unlikely to happen. This same thing occurs in the other American pro sports and to be honest with you, I can't remember a single instance of when changing cities has been an issue. It seems like it would be a problem for some but it really isn't here.

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It is because of this that the MLS will ultimately fail. It HAS to become subject to free market economy rules sooner or later or the whole thing will crash and burn. If Beckham's income can't support the current system... Wow, the league is doomed. Marketing simply does not get bigger than Beckham, the MLS needs to start living by the principles of economics or it will be like Pele, Moore, Best etc in the '70s. Football clubs need to be subject to market conditions.

Because of what that the MLS will fail? The draft, which is traditional, understood, and accepted in the U.S. and used as a way to keep player costs low? Or the system of training America's youth, in which the MLS pays $0 for thousands of professional coaches to train hundreds of thousands of Americans? Sure, the level of training isn't world class, but neither are the budgets of the teams.

Or are you citing the fact that the MLS doesn't fully subscribe to free market economic rules (laissez-faire for those who studied economics)? There was a professional league in the U.S. that died about 25 years ago because it couldn't control its costs. Quality of play wasn't the issue as it featured players like Pele, George Best, Bobby Moore, Eusebio, Beckenbauer, Johan Cruijff, Rensenbrink, Neeskens, Hugo Sanchez, etc.

I am interested in hearing your economic argument of why football clubs need to be subject to market conditions though. How does that help them cut costs, raise revenue, and avoid debt?

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Major League Baseball is the worst run professional league in the United States in my opinion and they are losing fans every year for various reasons.

What? They've set attendance records almost every year since like 2002 IIRC, and their revenues reach over $6b. Ratings are generally up as well. Baseball is way, way more popular than it has ever been.

It's not run or marketed as well as the NFL, but it's above the NBA and obviously the NHL.

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The worst-run professional league in the United States is undoubtedly the NHL, even MLS has a better TV contract and coverage than they do, hell Arena Football and the WNBA have better tv contracts than the NHL

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My only issue with the draft system is exactly what has been mentioned about club loyalties and almostbeing forced to play for, in some cases a rival club or a team on the other side of the country from where you have grown up. However I guess that if you have grown up being used to that system then maybe it wouldn't be such an issue.

Again I guess it comes back to club loyalties not being as strong in the US as they are in Europe (at least in football terms)

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Because of what that the MLS will fail? The draft, which is traditional, understood, and accepted in the U.S. and used as a way to keep player costs low? Or the system of training America's youth, in which the MLS pays $0 for thousands of professional coaches to train hundreds of thousands of Americans? Sure, the level of training isn't world class, but neither are the budgets of the teams.

Or are you citing the fact that the MLS doesn't fully subscribe to free market economic rules (laissez-faire for those who studied economics)? There was a professional league in the U.S. that died about 25 years ago because it couldn't control its costs. Quality of play wasn't the issue as it featured players like Pele, George Best, Bobby Moore, Eusebio, Beckenbauer, Johan Cruijff, Rensenbrink, Neeskens, Hugo Sanchez, etc.

I am interested in hearing your economic argument of why football clubs need to be subject to market conditions though. How does that help them cut costs, raise revenue, and avoid debt?

Beckham was bought (at huge cost) to promote the league. However, the clubs cannot survive like this. 'Free market economics' would mean that clubs only have the income that they and the league generate- if soccer is only popular enough to attract 600 fans to a game (hypothetically) then the clubs need to pay their staff accordingly. Yes, this would mean poorer players and a poorer league, but until the income is there from the fans, so be it. Aldershot Town can't pay for a champagne lifestyle on a lemonade wage, neither should MLS clubs. I have no issue with a draft system. And Pele et al in the '70s make my point for me- it doesn't matter how good the players are if the league revenues can't support them. The MLS will have to build it's fanbase before it can pay top wages. Or get sugar daddy club owners to bank roll them. If the Premier League suddenly lost it's Sky TV money because fans stopped watching football in England then the top played players would look elsewhere. The MLS has it's work cut out to grow- it can never compete with MLB, NBA, NFL etc. But it can be realisitic and try and steadily improve the product and swell the fan base.

And by the way, I have not studied economics but 'laissez-faire' is not a term exclusive to this field. As you know, it simply means to leave something to it's own devices so to speak, a term used through out modern history. And an approach I would whole-heartedly recommend to the MLS.

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Aren't English teams limited to signing youngsters to their Academy from within a certain area around where they're based? (At least English players, anyway.)

Yes. So what Man United did is offer Beckham's dad a job at the club, so him and his son moved up north.

Arsenal found London work for Fabregas' dad too, so they could sign him legally.

It's not hard to make a player live in your zone!:p

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