MLS not implementing goal-line technology anytime soon
League commissioner also targets team in Queens, NYC
Major League Soccer has decided goal-line technology is over the line — the league's budget line.
After saying last year the league was "open to using goal-line technology as soon as it is made available," MLS Commissioner Don Garber said it's not worth the cost.
Soccer's international rules-making body approved goal-line technology last July. FIFA announced in February that the GoalControl-4D system will be used at the 2014 World Cup. England's Premier League said April 11 it will install the Hawk-Eye system next season, becoming the first domestic competition to use technology.
GoalControl said it is likely to cost about $260,000 US per stadium to install, and $3,900 per game to operate. Speaking Thursday to the Associated Press Sports Editors, Garber called the price "very, very, very expensive.
"It had us take a step back and pause and try to figure out is the value of having goal-line technology worth investing millions and millions and millions of dollars for the handful of moments where it's relevant?" Garber said. "And our view has been that we're going to wait and see how it works out. We certainly don't need to be the first league that has it."
He said it was a matter of "prioritizing how we spend our money."
FIFA has approved four systems: GoalControl-4D and Hawk-Eye use cameras, and GoalRef and Cairos employ magnetic field technology.
Flushing or bust
Major League Soccer hopes to announce plans in four to six weeks for a stadium in Queens for a 20th team.
The league and New York City have been involved in negotiations to build a stadium on a site in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park. MLS hopes a team there would start play in 2016 and be rivals of the New York Red Bulls, who play in Harrison, N.J.
"If we get this done, it will be in Flushing Meadow Park. There is no Plan B," MLS Commissioner Don Garber told the Associated Press Sports Editors on Thursday.
Garber said the league hopes to have an agreement with New York City, with the New York Mets' ownership group to use the parking lots at Citi Field and with an ownership group that would pay a $100 million US expansion fee.
Several hurdles would remain, including New York City's Uniform Land Use Review Procedure and consideration by the local Community Planning Board. The parkland used for arena would have to be replaced.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg supports the stadium. His term expires at the end of the year, and none of the candidates to succeed him has backed the project.
"I think it was really good that they didn't say no," Garber said. "It shows that there's some political value in not yet taking a stand."
The revived New York Cosmos, who start play in the second-tier North American Soccer League on Aug. 3, are not discussing bidding to become the new MLS team. Garber said he speaks with the Cosmos owners but was dismissive of their efforts.
"The Cosmos are a very storied brand steeped in the past," he said. "Pele is not playing for them anymore, and neither is Franz Beckenbauer."
On another topic, Garber said the sport must deal with a glut of soccer on American television, where MLS has national deals with ESPN, NBC and Univision. NBC takes over the English Premier League next season from Fox, which retains rights for the European Champions League and Europa League. BeIN Sport televises the Spanish, Italian and French leagues, GOL broadcasts the German Bundesliga and ESPN and Univision televise Mexican games.
"There's more soccer on television than any other sport by far," Garber said. "You've got European soccer. You've got Mexican soccer. You've got Major League Soccer. There's way too much soccer on television. I think all of us got to figure out a way to narrow that window so you can get a situation like the NFL has, a couple of days a week, short schedule, something that's very compelling and very targeted."