As you may or may not know, the Womens Professional Soccer league is in trouble. Big, big trouble. Unless it finds an investor for a sixth team (it’s supposed to have eight) by this Monday, the league will lose USSF sanctioning for 2012. The lowdown via player Yael Averbuch in the NYT’s soccer blog:
This, as I understand it, is the situation: On Nov. 20, US Soccer met to decide whether W.P.S. would be continue to be sanctioned as a professional league. The federation has established basic standards for a league to be considered professional, and this past season W.P.S. did not meet several of these standards. There must be no fewer than eight teams, and they must span more than one time zone — two stipulations for which W.P.S. was granted an exception. US Soccer has given W.P.S. 15 days to secure another franchise, meaning the league would again consist of six teams, still technically below the standard. But this has put W.P.S. in a bind. A bind that could potentially threaten the league’s existence.
This is what I know about the world of soccer governance. The USSF, like all FIFA member nations, dictates its own criteria for league sanction as per FIFA statutes 18.1, 18.2. The reason, I presume, for the eight teams minimum rule, is the same as it is for Division II in the US: to prevent the league from taking on fly-by-night start-ups only for them to disappear from financial mismanagement, as Brian Quarstad points out from last year’s D2 rule changes.
Except in this case, if the WPS doesn’t get a sixth team, women’s soccer disappears. Full stop. Which seems fairly arbitrary, and a situation where the law is a bit of an ass. As the WPS petition to USSF states:
And what does this mean for your daughter? Or for your little sister? Your cousin? Your friend? WUSA has folded and we have recovered. But to see Women’s Professional Soccer fail twice would surely mean the end. The opportunity for the millions of young girls that dream of being the next Hope Solo or Alex Morgan will never get the chance. All because US Soccer did not back the league that is playing in their back yard.
It would be a shame to destroy womens soccer over this.