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Garber: No plans soon for international calendar
VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA (AP) - Now that the United States has failed to land the 2022 World Cup, Major League Soccer Commissioner Don Garber says his league has no plans to switch to soccer's international calendar anytime soon.
On the day of the MLS Cup final last Nov. 21, Garber said "we're going to do a study" and "we're telling the world we're going to begin taking a very serious look at this whole issue."
Then, on Dec. 2, FIFA's executive committee voted for Qatar to host the 2022 World Cup instead of the United States.
This year's MLS season will run from March 15 to Oct. 23, with playoffs to follow. Most European leagues are on an August to May/June schedule.
"I don't think we are going to a winter calendar any time soon," Garber said Monday on a visit to Vancouver, which joins his league this season. "To think about playing in Toronto in January or December, it's hard to imagine we are going to be able to do that. The fact our league is only 16 years old we don't yet have that deep, deep commitment from fans to come through thick and thin. I'm not sure we are ready for that. But at some point I think we probably will be."
FIFA sets aside certain dates for national teams to play. Because MLS also schedules on some of those date, its teams must play without some stars who away on national-team duty.
"I'm not sure if we are ever going to get full alignment with FIFA's international calendar," Garber said. "That being said . . . there are not enough weeks in our current schedule to really have an ideal schedule. We are going to have to continue to look at expanding our season."
Garber admitted the FIFA vote was a factor in what he said in November.
"We thought it would be smart to show the international football community that we were open to do some things that would more align with the international confines of the sport," Garber said. "That is probably less important for us now."
By Tom Fitton
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