MLS wants NEW int'l tournament ..
20 March 2002 (www.Teamtalk.com
Major League Soccer deputy commissioner Ivan Gazidis has expressed the League’s desire to aid in the formation of a new international club competition.
“We need to elevate the level of respect that our players have, not only in this country, but around the world,” said Gazidis on Tuesday at the MetroStars media day.
Gazidis said that although the international view of the US top-flight has been improving rapidly, thanks to solid performances by MLS teams in the FC Champions Cup and the defunct FC Giants Cup and Copa Merconorte, there is still a feeling that these tournaments lack credibility or recognition among much of the viewing public.
“What we need to do is have credible international competitions ... where [MLS clubs] can go out and prove themselves,” said Gazidis. “We need a tournament whose status is elevated above where the Champions Cup is in terms of promotion, in terms of public awareness.
"I don’t think people understand where the United States is against, for example, a great league with the history and traditions of the Mexican League. I think we compare very favorably. It’s unbelievable that we’re only six-years old.”
Commissioner Don Garber and Gazidis listed among their goals to help organize in coordination with the Football Confederation (CONCACAF) a new regional competition that elevates the status of their players in the way that the revered Copa Libertadores does for CONMEBOL club teams.
Neither discounted the suggestion of possibly approaching CONMEBOL about inclusion in the Copa Libertadores, which is currently open to top Mexican clubs, as well.
Gazidis also added that although their focus is regional, he feels there is a place for a worldwide competition like the cancelled FIFA Club World Championships.
“Maybe it’s not the Club World Championship the way FIFA figured it today, but I thing there is a place for that type of tournament, where all of the best clubs of the world come together to compete against each other.”