Needless to say, there are a lot of questions surrounding exactly what WMLS.us (which is what the league prefers to be referred to at the current time for legal reasons) will look like in 2011. Many have questioned whether or not MLS will step in and prevent the use of the name “WMLS.” The Equalizer has learned that the there are conversations between the two groups, but no further details were provided.
On Wednesday, LTA Agency released this interview (not conducted by The Equalizer) in an attempt to explain more about the league. As reported on Tuesday, WMLS.us is not attempting to challenge the second division status of W-League or WPSL. The idea, Shek Borkowski says, is to develop women’s soccer in the United States. In the interview, he makes note of the league’s different financial model, which was also discussed in yesterday’s report.
Check out the interview below and share your thoughts on the league below. Most of the information was reported on Tuesday, although the interview provides some direct quotes on the situation. Again, to be clear, this was a press release sent to The Equalizer, so make your own judgments. Do you think this model can make it?
Q: There are three other leagues in place, why another league?
SB: We are not a competitor to WPS, W-League or WPSL. They all very
good organizations, have a role and place in the market, and we are
just another option for clubs.
Q: How is the league organized?
SB: Like every men’s and women’s league in the world: single table,
promotion/relegation, all FIFA rules, no playoffs. In 2011, we will
begin in May and end in July. There are other plans in place for 2012.
Q: WMLS.us model is nothing like we have seen before in this country.
No franchise fees, no payments to the league. Can it work?
SB: All of us involved in women’s football have a responsibility to
protect and develop the sport. It is of utmost importance that we put
in place infrastructure which is sustainable. There are many people
who believe that whether you are a youth player or a professional
club, you must pay to participate.
From elite youth clubs to the ODP program to league participation,
everybody must pay.
That, unfortunately, eliminates many quality individuals and
organizations from participation.
I, and many others, believe that football in general and women’s
football in particular belong to people, teams and clubs. So we
started an open league in which anyone can place a team. If clubs are
not committed and focused, they will not succeed. If they are, our
league gives them an excellent opportunity for long-term success. I
believe that in our model we can achieve steady organic growth with a
Q: What measures are in place to ensure that teams don’t fail mid-season?
SB: Failure is part of life, its unavoidable. Even in leagues with
large budgets you can’t avoid failure. Operational failure occurs
because of lack of expertise and long-term commitment. Money,
regardless of how much you have, can’t prevent failure. In our model,
we are not interested in making money from teams. Teams are trusted to
use all of their financial resources to improve themselves and to give
themselves the best opportunity to survive and thrive. I know that as
in any league there will be setbacks but we have entities on board who
understand what we are trying to build.
Q: How will promotion and relegation work?
SB: After we have 10 teams in place, all new teams wishing to join
will have to join the 2nd level of play. Ultimately, last placed team
in the top level will be relegated and top team in the lower level
will be promoted.
Q: As I understand it, teams outside of the Midwest will not be able
to join WMLS.us
SB: Not so. Teams from anywhere can join, but because of travel
expense, we will need to be very prudent going forward. We are not
interested in league footprint and expansion, just in developing
women’s football infrastructure and operating a sound and sustainable
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