Major League Soccer made public its interest in expanding to 28 clubs at the Board of Governors meeting in Columbus this weekend. The owners also declared their backing of a suggested stadium location for a future expansion team in Miami, owned by David Beckham and partners. A number of other updates, such as video replay and a Copa Amèrica Centenario break during the summer next season, were also brought up.
The most prominent of these discussions was expansion. The current plans call for 24 teams by 2020, with Atlanta, Minnesota, (possibly) Miami, and Los Angeles the locations. But there could be more, as commissioner Don Garber said in a statement:
"There is no shortage of demand for MLS expansion teams, and we believe the opportunity exists to grow beyond our current plans," Garber said, per mlssoccer.com. "During the next few months, we will evaluate the possibility of growing the league to 28 teams and establish a process and timeline should we decide on further expansion."
MLS also seem to be in favor of bringing soccer to Miami, where Beckham is looking to build a stadium. Garber expressed that, courtesy of MLS:
"We are very supportive of Miami Beckham United’s plans to build a soccer stadium in the City of Miami's Overtown neighborhood," Garber stated. "Their vision for a world-class venue within the urban core that is accessible by mass transportation is impressive, and we believe it will be an important part of the continued revitalization of the area. We look forward to working with David and his partners to finalize plans to bring Major League Soccer to Miami."
Here are some of the other topics the league disclosed, according to Jeff Carlisle:
Video Replay: The Board of Governors provided an update on potential in-game video review and will continue to devise a plan for the future.
Decision Day: Similar to this season, all matches on the final weekend of 2016 will be played on the same day and in the same time slot. The conferences won't be separated this time around.
Copa Amèrica Centenario break: MLS will take a two week break during next year's Copa Amèrica tournament, hosted by the United States. The break will last from June 2 to June 14.
New All-Star Game policy: Any player who was selected to the AT&T MLS All-Star Game but does not participate in the game is not eligible to appear in his team's next match. If the player is declared medically fit for his team's next contest, he still would be excluded, but would receive "credit" for the match for bonuses and option triggers.
Hydration breaks: The threshold for hydration breaks (or "cooling breaks") is now 82 Wet Bulb Globe temperature. It was previously at 89.6 WBGT.
Match postponement policy: If a match is abandoned prior to conclusion, it will be postponed rather than cancelled or final. Any remaining time from the game would be played the next day or at the next practical date. The previous policy stated that any match past the 76th-minute that was abandoned would be considered final.
The owners also discussed Targeted Allocation Money. Details will arise on that at a later date.
What do you think of the changes? Should MLS continue to expand? Tell us your thoughts in the comment section.