The Promotion & Relegation Compilation

Few topics have been viewed on my humble blog as much as my pieces on promotion and relegation, particularly as it relates to US soccer.

Because I’m not gung-ho about the adoption of the system here, see pitfalls and dispute some of the suggested effects it may have – at least to the extent claimed – and take exception to some of the approaches taken, some characterise me as “anti-pro/rel”.

This is untrue.  My stance on it is explained relatively concisely (for me – brevity isn’t my strong suit) on this page.

The purpose of this particular post is to compile my various posts.  Links and summaries of the content and where relevant, the context of these posts is below:

Links in general order of relevance:

I’ve ranked the least partisan and more informational posts towards the top of the list.  My position on pro/rel in the USA is somewhat fluid, as I do believe there is proven merit in the concept in general and that the American soccer landscape is growing and evolving.  Therefore, what I posted two years ago isn’t necessarily how I’d characterise my stance today.  Indeed, in 2009 my stance was very different…

  1. Pro/Rel: The Numbers
  2. No Rel for USA?: A Half-Baked Plan Involving a Flattened Pyramid
  3. Riccardo Silva’s Pro/Rel Power Plays
  4. Is Garber Inadvertently Providing a Problem for Pro/Rel to Solve?
  5. Pro/Rel: The Politics
  6. US Soccer Deformed: The Pro/Rel War
  7. Buying Bricks When You Don’t Need a Wall: Promotion and Relegation in the USA

Posts in Chronological Order with Synopsis/Review

Buying Bricks When You Don’t Need a Wall: Promotion and Relegation in the USA

Posted on March 12, 2015.  This was my earliest post on the subject.  It’s limited in scope an in hindsight, rejects the subject a little too easily.  In truth there were more nuances to the topic than I appreciated at the time.  The stance here is entirely MLS-centric: pro/rel wasn’t appropriate for the league at that point and owners would be unlikely to want it.

That position isn’t incorrect.  There’s just more to the topic and the post doesn’t really explore the pros, cons and viability of implementing pro/rel in the US.


US Soccer Deformed: The Pro/Rel War

Posted February 29, 2016.  This was largely a relatively early reaction to the more serious Pro/Rel Activist movement.

I dispute some of the more common arguments made, such as the idea that player development inherently grows out of promotion and relegation, the theory that massive investment will be driven by the system, the impact on attendance and the current quantity of clubs that could viably form part of a US soccer pyramid.

My prime concern here was the idea that the movement may be gaining traction and that USSF may be moved, or have their hand forced to adopt the system prematurely, with disastrous results.

I no longer have that fear.  First of all, I don’t believe the movement is gaining that much traction.  I also now have more faith that as pro/rel becomes more of a viable option, the stakeholders involved have enough of a grasp of the situation to – should it come down to it – implement it sensibly and based on appropriate circumstances, as opposed to external pressures.


Pro/Rel: The Politics

Posted May 23, 2016.  This is a lengthy one: an effort by me to tackle some of the politics surrounding pro/rel in the US.  This one is somewhat partisan as there are approaches by certain subsets of the advocacy movement that I strongly object to.  There are also a number of theories and opinions, largely surrounding the conduct of USSF and MLS, as well as positions on pro/rel as a moral or ethical mechanism that I tend to disagree with.

If you’re interest in my opinion, click away.  If you want info on the politics and positions of pro/rel advocates, again, consider that my presentation is inherently biased.  For balance, look up Chris Kessell of #ProRelforUSA fame to see the heavily “pro-pro/rel” (and somewhat anti-MLS) position.  For somebody who is openly opposed to pro/rel in the USA, Mr Dan Loney of has written a few pieces over the years.

The likes of Beau Dure, Nipun Chopra and David Rudin bring more balanced views.


Pro/Rel: The Numbers

Posted May 25, 2016.  Another marathon post.  If you’re looking far a fact-based analysis of pro/rel around the world, this is my humble attempt.  Here I go over a number of statistics that I compiled over the course of a few months, looking at things like attendances, competitiveness of leagues and more.

By design, this skirts the political elements and focuses on the data.


No Rel for USA?: A Half-Baked Plan Involving a Flattened Pyramid

Posted October 11, 2016.  The third of my “ridiculously long” trio, this is the least “pro/rel” focused of this compilation but it does relate significantly to the topic.  It was also born out of my previous analysis.

Basically, this is my “outside the box” idea for growing our domestic leagues in the US.


Is Garber Inadvertently Providing a Problem for Pro/Rel to Solve?

Posted March 27, 2017.  This is my take on Don Garber’s claim earlier in the month that MLS would be done with with expansion at 28 teams.

While I’m skeptical of the claim, such a hard stop coming in the face of 12 expansion applications could create a case for pro/rel, given that there could potentially be several more D1 candidates in existence than MLS could accommodate.


Riccardo Silva’s Pro/Rel Power Plays

Posted August 4, 2017.  My thoughts on reports that:

  1. Miami FC owner Riccardo Silva, on behalf of MP & Silva, made a $4bn offer for MLS (among others) broadcasting rights, with pro/rel a condition.
  2. Miami FC and Stockade FC, lodged a claim with CAS, in a bid to make FIFA force USSF to implement promotion and relegation between professional leagues.

My general take is that based on a) MLS being contractually prohibited from discussing a broadcast deal at the time and b) CAS not being recognised by CONCACAF as having jurisdiction on the respective matter, these moves are simply grandstanding for PR.


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