Garber discusses goal-line technology and more in latest public conversation

Don Garber (AP)

By FRANCO PANIZO

Goal-line technology is a hot topic in the world of soccer these days, and it could be implented in MLS as soon as this season.

FIFA is set to decide whether to change its long-standing rules of not using technology to aid match officials when it comes together to discuss the matter this July, and if the new approach is approved, MLS would not mind being one of the first leagues to use it.

"We're interested in being a test league and we hope that we could achieve that," MLS Commissioner Don Garber told the Associated Press Sports Editors on Thursday. "I would be open to whatever it is that could be done to ensure that we have goal-line technology.

"There's a lot more that we need to learn about it, understanding the process. The bottom line here is that I would be open to using goal-line technology as soon as it is made available."

Another topic of interest Garber touched on is expansion into the league. Garber said MLS is still focused on bringing a 20th team into New York, and that there are several ownership groups interested in purchasing the rights for that team should talks for a stadium lead develop into something more concrete.

Other markets that interest the league in expanding beyond 20 teams include Miami, Orlando, Atlanta and the Southwest. There was no mention of the Carolinas despite MLS officials recently visiting their to hold a public forum with fans.

Aside from expansion, MLS is currently working with Chivas USA to help find a new home in the Los Angeles area. Chivas USA wants out of the Carson-based Home Depot Center, which is also used by the Los Angeles Galaxy, and is hoping to relocate in the near future.

"We're got to work hard to figure out a repositioning and a re-energized approach," Garber said.

Garber, who once again reiterated the league is nowhere near promotion and relegation nor is it close to switching to the international calendar, touched on the league's recent decision to hand out retroactive suspensions by use of video review. Garber believes the new policy, which has its share of detractors, is working well, especially when it comes to eliminating simulation.

"Americans generally … view that aspect of the game as not fitting with our culture or our view of fairness," said Garber. "We have almost eliminated that unpleasant or unsavory aspect of the game from our sport."

Garber also revealed the league's interest in acquiring former Schalke 04 striker Raul. The former Spanish international said Thursday he would leave European soccer when his contract with the German club expires this summer.

Signing a player like Raul could help MLS attract more casual fans to the league, and that is something Garber desires. 

"We've got to grow our televisions ratings in order to achieve our goals," said Garber. "We could turn that switch on if we wanted to invest in more David Beckhams, because we've seen ratings growth with (Thierry) Henry and Beckham when those two players are on national television."

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What do you think of MLS possibly using goal-line technology this season? Would you like to see Atlanta and Miami get expansion teams? Think Raul would be a good addition to the league?

Share your thoughts below.

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39 Responses to Garber discusses goal-line technology and more in latest public conversation

  1. Gnarls says:

    Garber is hoping to reposition and re-energized the Goats. How about another couple “re’s”: relocate and rebrand.

  2. Mike says:

    Worth considering this whole diving thing. It is clearly part of the game everywhere else in the world. For multiple strategic reasons really. So, I’m a bit torn. On the one hand, there is nothing worse than a dive that results in a goal during a close match (Mr. A. Young, for example). But as a means of, for example, slowing the tempo of a match to break up a speedier team’s rhythm I can’t help but think it’s incredibly useful.

  3. Gnarls says:

    Your latter scenario happens frequently in MLS. The league can’t eradicate all forms of simulation. Seems to me the diving/cheating is a rarity in MLS compared to Serie A and La Liga.

  4. scott says:

    There are ways to slow the game down without diving. If you can’t, you don’t deserve to win.

  5. Mike says:

    Sorry, I’m talking about the retroactive suspensions.

    Are MLS players at a disadvantage if they leave the league or play with their national teams as a result of these sort of suspensions?

  6. Mike says:

    I totally understand your point. At the same time, it is so much a part of the game everywhere else that I can’t help but feel deserve has little to do with it. I don’t mean this antagonistically. But it’s there right?

  7. Dimidri says:

    Why relocate? Plenty of talented, star players only want to play in LA or NY-why artificially limit the amount of players like that you can get? The problem isn’t even the branding, it’s the owner. If Chivas USA play well, have their own geographic part of LA, get a Frank Lampard, etc. they’ll be net beneficial for the league staying in LA.

  8. vik says:

    I guess in some way playing in a league where you are trained not to dive as much might be a “disadvantage” to you at the international level. That said, I think the league is really picking on blatant dives and blatant fouls. Falling to the ground to after someone kicked your leg hard is just helping the ref make a call; staying on your feet is trying to play for advantage.
    I think the real question is whether refs will start treating fouls when the victim does not “go down” as a foul. Too often when players make the effort to stay on their feet in the box and then lose the ball, the penalty never comes. Hopefully eradicating blatant dives will help make these calls easier for refs.

  9. RLW2020 says:

    how about addressing the butt-ugly MLS logo from the 90’s. or at least making a bit huge and noticeable on everyone’s jerseys

  10. PanchoMiguelMoralesdeConejo says:

    A re-brand is in order.
    Who wants to follow a ‘2nd Tier’ red-headed stepchild of Chivas Guadalajara?
    They took a gamble that the MexAm population would flock to them, or that enough Chivas fans north of the border would adopt them…many of us told them ‘bad strategy’…
    no one wants a Chivas Jr. team in the MLS.

  11. sciroccer says:

    I say they expand the Railhawks or try to get the Southeast into this. I think that would help more then another NY team. Chivas should move out of LA and go to San Diego. Goal line tech would be cool, and I think Mr. Garber should get the league back to a balanced schedule with the top eight teams in the playoffs, regardless of “Conference”. There’s my opinion Don!!!

  12. abc says:

    Soccer / FIFA / MLS need to do THREE things:
    1) add two assistant referees, one for each penalty area.
    2) add goal-line technology.
    3) mandatory post-game review of all questionable decisions, with cards added/removed, fines/suspensions, etc.

  13. Ezra says:

    Chivas would have just as hard of a time competing with nearby Club Tijuana for fans in San Diego as they do with the Galaxy in LA. And they would have a smaller population base there to begin with.

  14. Oog says:

    I like the idea of the goal-line assistants. It’s not just questionable goals that are a problem (quite rare) but also questionable penalties (more common in my opinion). An extra set of eyes close by would be very helpful with that.

  15. somedude says:

    Would love to see Raul in the league. he’s scored some awesome goals for Schalke this year. If a 36 yr old Bernardo Corradi can score goals for Montreal, no reason why a 34 year old Raul can’t produce. Lets hope he chooses a better lifestyle over the riches of Qatar/UAE/China

  16. solles says:

    Yah Chivas USA HAS no identity….they’re like a farm team thats not a farm team, are a guest in their own stadium, and have no “brand” tie to their community whatsoever. Even “Chivas LA” would be better than “Chivas USA”.

  17. tmack says:

    which is why players like thierry henry aren’t suspended when they try to go through opponents studs up….garber is a joke……has as much credibility as stern/donaghy

  18. fischy says:

    I’d love to see Raul in the league, but Garber is vastly overestimating the striker’s pull. Raul might make some Europeans pay more attention to MLS, but he’s not going to be a huge draw here. Might be interesting to the fans of whatever team gets him, but it won’t go much beyond that. He’s not Henry, not Beckham, and for American fans who mostly see the EPL, he’s probably not even as well-known as Robbie Keane. Will he be interesting to Hispanic fans who pay more attention to La Liga? Possibly, but even the top Mexican players have been massive draws.

  19. fischy says:

    On rule changes — Goal-line tech would be good. MLS is a good lab for that. There’s another change I’d like to seem but it can’t start here or it will be seen as a joke along the lines of the old NASL’s shootout and 35 yd. line. still, I’ll throw it out here, because I wrote about it earlier on Soccer Insider as a way to address all the clutching and grabbing on set pieces: Soccer needs to follow hockey’s lead with a penalty box for malefactors.

    Right now, soccer rewards players for fouling and even injuring opponents. If someone is doing a lot of clutching on a corner or a free kick, the ref should send him off the field for a couple of minutes, and then retake the kick, if needed.

    The reason I think the penalty box idea is so important is that the game, as it is, rewards and encourages fouls. If there’s a good attack going, just bring the guy down to stop it. The worst that happens is you get a card. Not only do you stop the attack, but the guy you brought down may be hurt, forcing the other team to use a valuable substitution. Even if he doesn’t have to leave the game, the other player will be sent by the ref to the sidelines for the restart, for having stopped play. It should be the other way around.

  20. Dimidri says:

    Fair enough-my point still stands though about them staying in LA. Think about having two Galaxy’s, both attracting big talent, mining the great young talent in LA, selling out, etc.

  21. Dimidri says:

    Crazy idea-all red cards and penalties are automatically reviewed by the fourth official. No extra delay in the game because if you count the time between when one of these decisions is issued and the play restarts, you could EASILY do a quick replay. The game-changing, overt referee involvement in these two decisions shows why it would be non-arbitrary to just replay these two. With goal line technology obviously. I would even be down for, in addition to all this, ONE NFL-esque challenge per game that can be used for yellow cards, offside, out of bounds, foul/no foul, etc. Might be some weird implications of that though.

  22. marco says:

    San Diego would be great for a Chivas franchise except for no soccer specific stadium. NFL Chargers are trying to get taxpayers to pay for a new stadium, and they may get rejected, as the offer is heavy on the public pays, and the owners profit. If they leave for LA, then Chivas may get in.
    On another note. I think Garber will reject Klinsmann’s request to get young USA/MLS players more minutes and more meaningful games. He’ll tell Klinsmann that the MLS is not a developmental league for the USMNT. I hope Klinsmann continues to get quality loans for them.

  23. KC says:

    This makes no sense. The most popular sport in the world using the rules of a sport that only a few countries in world care about.
    Maybe hockey should try to be more like soccer instead.

  24. fischy says:

    Actually, your comment makes no sense. Why would it matter where the idea comes from? Ideas should float or sink on their own merit. Either it’s a good idea, or it isn’t. Whether hockey has something like that is irrelevant.

    Your comment comes in a thread that’s mostly focused on using technology to review a call by officials. That’s borrowed from American football, baseball, tennis, and yes, even hockey, which already has goal-line tech.

  25. MF says:

    You just missed the whole mass of Real Madrid fans and Spaniards that live in the US. Obviously, us Latinos would come out to see Raul. I feel like all Anglo-MLS fans believe like only England has a football league. EPL is really overrated in my opinion. To say that Robbie Keane is more well-known than Raul is incredibly ridicules. Might as well say that Keane is more well known than Roberto Carols, Ronaldo, Zidane, or Beckham. All Galacticos.

  26. David K. says:

    I agree two galaxy’s would help the league, but Chivas USA can never be that club unless it rebrands.

  27. fischy says:

    Actually, I didn’t miss anything. However, if you think there are lots of Spaniards in this country — enough to fill MLS stadiums, just because Raul is playing here — then you’re incredibly ridiculous. Yes, those Galacticos players are well-known here, though most of them were well known here long before they played for Real Madrid. Mostly, they’re known for their World Cup performances. Alas, Raul isn’t so well-known, in either regard. He did have a good start in the ’02 Cup before he got hurt. He’s just not that well-known here. Do Anglos think only England has a league? No, but that’s all that’s covered on Fox Soccer. Unless you subscribed to Gol TV, you didn’t see La Liga games when Raul played there.

  28. pd says:

    One idea I have suggested in several places- the option of trading a sub for a review in instances of penalties (or non calls) the result in a goal or red cards. The time it takes to review is roughly equivalent to a late game sub or goal restart so it would not hinder the flow of the game. Burning a sub to make a challenge would limit their use. That and a 5 second rule for all time wasting in the last 10 minutes of a match and all cramping needs to be taken to the sideline and let back in to okay at the discretion of the referee.

  29. Black Bill says:

    San Diego is close enough….still Southern California.

    LA will always be a Galaxy town

  30. Mark says:

    True….There are plenty of Spanish/Latinos that come out for Real Madrid and Barcelona friendlies. Raul is still a big name.

  31. Mel says:

    All soccer leagues should have goal-line technology. It’s about time. A goal in soccer is more important than a single score in any other sport.

  32. John says:

    The Disciplinary Committee’s power are too broad and it is being overused. It should only be able to give out suspensions/fines for infractions the actual game ref spotted and issued a card for. In society, you don’t expect to be convicted of a crime without being caught and charged by police. If the police aren’t catching the crimes, improve the police department. You can’t possibly implement this system fairly. Players aren’t going to want to come play in this league. Fans, eventually, are not going to want to watch the league. You are messing with the very competitive balance of the game. This will quickly make MLS look like the USSR of soccer leagues.

  33. El Duderino (Not into the whole brevity thing...) says:

    ATL, ASAP. Atlanta Chiefs FC.

  34. James says:

    Video Replay review is really all thats needed but Fifa is run by dinosaurs so that will never happen. MLS should take the initiative and implement it on their own.

  35. Helium-3 says:

    He might be a big name for those who know about soccer but Garber referred to drawing more “casual” fans as reason for Raul’s signing.

    Casual fans don’t know who Raul is; they know Messi and Ronaldinho. These casual fans wear Real Madrid/Barca/Man Utd jerseys and most wouldn’t know what these players look like other than the name on the jersey.

    I bet if you ask these “casual” fans where is Barcelona, they probably think it is somewhere in South America near a country named “Columbia” .
    I’m not referring to Barcelona team from Ecuador either.

  36. RK says:

    I’ve given up, unless they go over 20.

  37. Alex from Louisville says:

    I think MLS is getting Ahab disease. It is getting too obsessed with having a team in NYC. Yes it would be great, but the situation has to be right. It seems like they want to have a team in NYC even if it makes more sense to have the 20’th team somewhere else.