In a not-so-shocking recent decision on a case, the Court of Arbitration for Sports ruled that FIFA’s statutes mean nothing.
The ruling found that US Soccer, as a recognized member organization of FIFA, doesn’t have to follow FIFA’s statutes to remain a member because FIFA doesn’t care whether the US follows its statutes.
That brings up a couple questions.
Why have statutes?
Why not change the language of the statutes to clearly reflect that there are exceptions?
But, at least this answers a key question for those who would like to bring pro/rel to the U.S.: FIFA is not your ally. You will need to find another way to achieve your objective.
I would even guess that FIFA officials aren’t even sold on pro/rel or fathom how it has help make their crown jewel competition, the World Cup, one of the world’s most lucrative sports competition.
My guess is that pro/rel wound up in its statutes as a mere artifact of the early days of English football league consolidation.
Just like in youth and indoor leagues in the U.S., pro/rel emerged as a solution for seeding teams into divisions in those early days as leagues were merging and consolidating to let clubs from those leagues settle into appropriate levels of competition.
That, it turns out, is a better solution than most other methods of seeding teams, which can result in disastrous mismatches on the field. 15-0 soccer matches aren’t much fun for either side.
I imagine that artifact persisted as the sport spread to other countries. When FIFA was founded to organize competitions between those countries, they probably put pro/rel in its statutes without much thought because it was already a common feature in the leagues as various countries copied England’s model.
Now…I could be wrong about that. If so, let me know. That’s based on some Google research and knowing what I know about how thing come to be.
But, if I’m right, I might also be right that FIFA officials might also view the U.S. as an experiment.
The experiment: Can Garber build a valuable soccer league that teams don’t have to win their way into, and keep winning to stay, but rather buy their way in?
And, instead of leveling the field through competition, they try to level it with salary caps and other roster controls.
Who might benefit?
Soccer club owners who now transfer most of the sport’s earnings to players to buy the best players possible to keep doing as good as possible.
Some of those owners might be interested in a system where they were protected from that arms race and have their investment generate some cash flow for them.
Who wouldn’t that be good for? Players. Like in the U.S., they would still be able to do pretty well, but probably not as well as they can do now.