MANCHESTER, England (AP)—FIFA president Sepp Blatter wants Major League Soccer to switch to a traditional soccer schedule that starts in late summer and ends in the late spring.
Currently, several MLS teams share stadiums with NFL franchises and don’t have access to arenas on many weekends in the fall. The schedule creates difficulty when players transfer from MLS to Europe and back and causes MLS matches to be played on days set aside by FIFA for national teams.
“American football plays in winter, so they can only play from March to October, which means you are not in the right season,” Blatter said Wednesday before watching Manchester United beat Inter Milan 2-0 in the European Champions League. “The best American players are playing here, and this is the basic problem with the MLS.”
MLS has said it hopes to eventually make the switch but it can’t for now because it shares several stadiums with NFL teams. Eight MLS teams are in soccer stadiums built for the league, two share with NFL teams that are controlled by the same owners as the soccer club sand New York shares with NFL teams through 2009 before moving into its own stadium.
DC United plays in a city-owned ground where it is the primary tenant, Houston is at the University of Houston’s college football stadium and San Jose and Kansas City are at temporary homes.
“This league was founded after the 1994 World Cup, but is still struggling to get the position they should have according to the number of football players there are in the United States,” Blatter said. “It has the highest number of young players in any sport,” he said. “But the league has not found yet its position. It can only find its position if the league has its own stadiums.”
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