From Mark Coker with his trusty Seattle P-I. Complete with comments!
Some of the interesting points from an article in this morning's Seattle Post-Intellegencer, so there's a bit of "how this affects the Sounders" sprinkled through the article. My editorial comments added in brackets.
- Negotiations remain underway to create a relegation system in the year 2000 between the new league and the nation's premier league, Major League Soccer. The top second division teams would move up and replace the MLS' worst teams each year, an arrangement used by ever other major soccer league in the world.
- The Sounders' franchise competes at the second division level rather than premier, mainly because it lacks a stadium with a grass surface.
[MHC: It's also hard to be taken seriously as a future First Division candidate when your average attendance is around 3000 _and_ has dropped 50% in the last two years].
"We will be a major player in the new league," Sounders co-owner Neil Farnsworth said. "This merger will create strong divisional and geographic rivalries for all the franchise owners as well as better soccer."
Said Seattle's majority owner, Scott Oki: "This merger signifies North America's legitimate entry into the world soccer community."
[MHC: Isn't Mexico part of North America? Doesn't this continent have two teams inthe much-maligned FIFA Top 20?]
- A team salary cap ranging from a minimum of $100k to $350k will be implemented, slightly less than the A-League's $400k limit now in place.
- Umbro, an international soccer equipment manufacturer, will have ownership of 60 percent of the new league, with USISL commissioner Francisco Marcos owning the other 40 percent. Marcos also will become commissioner of the new league.
[MHC: What happens to Richard Groff? Is Marcos on e-mail?]