Sepp Blatter has gotten himself in hot water for recent comments, but the FIFA president steered clear of controversy when talking about Major League Soccer.
In an interview with Fox Soccer, Blatter addressed the MLS schedule, maintaining his position that it would be better if the league aligned itself with the European calendar as opposed to continuing the March-to-November schedule.
"If (U.S. Soccer) has the courage to change, they will do it," Blatter said in an interview that will be shown on Fox Soccer Channel during the week. "But they need some time to change that – to adapt to the international calendar. It means to the European calendar. It would be better for U.S. Soccer, and specifically also for the [United States] national team. And the popularity inside the country."
Prior to the awarding of the 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cups, MLS officials appeared more open to the idea of shifting to the European calendar as a concession to having the United States secure hosting rights for the 2022 event, but that was before FIFA gave the hosting rights to Qatar. No radical change to an August-to-May schedule appears imminent, even though Blatter says that MLS is heading toward that direction.
Here are a couple of more items to get your Tuesday going:
TWELLMAN REPLACES HARKES IN TV BOOTH
There will be a noticeable change during MLS and U.S. Soccer television broadcasts next year.
Former New England Revolution and national team striker Taylor Twellman will reportedly replace John Harkes in the ESPN TV booth for MLS and U.S. national team games, taking his seat alongside lead play-by-play voice Ian Darke.
Twellman was the color commentator for Philadelphia Union games this past season and has done studio work with ESPN for MLS and U.S. games. The oft-criticized Harkes, meanwhile, did not have his contract renewed by the network.
ANELKA LINKED WITH CHINESE CLUB
Well-traveled Chelsea striker Nicolas Anelka is a name frequently linked with MLS teams as a potential Designated Player signing, but he reportedly has interest from the other side of the world as well.
Chinese club Shanghai Shenhua is looking to sign Anelka during the winter transfer window for a reported £9.17 million salary, according to The Guardian, something that would likely price him out of MLS range.
The 32-year-old Anelka's contract with Chelsea expires this summer, when he will become a free agent and therefore a more attractive signing for MLS teams, who wouldn't have to pay a transfer fee for his services.
Do you think MLS should align itself with the European calendar? Think Twellman is a better choice for the TV booth for MLS and U.S. games? Would you want your MLS team to sign Anelka?
Share your thoughts below.