The Major League Soccer (MLS) is the highest level of professional football in the United States. However are they a part of, and recognised by FIFA?
Here’s what you need to know:
Is MLS a part of FIFA?
FIFA governs MLS through CONCACAF, which is the regional football federation that the MLS is a part of. MLS won the rights to be the Division 1 professional soccer league in the United States back in 1994.
As such, MLS is considered to be a part of FIFA!
Here’s the full breakdown of how MLS is being governed by FIFA:
FIFA is the international governing body of football
FIFA is the highest governing body of football.
This means that they are the highest authority when it comes to football. All decisions regarding how football is run are made by this body.
Interestingly, the Laws of the Game are set by the International Football Association Board (IFAB) and not FIFA. However, FIFA still has around 50% of voting power on the IFAB too.
FIFA also takes charge of running intercontinental tournaments, such as:
- FIFA World Cup
- FIFA Club World Cup
- FIFA Women’s World Cup
CONCACAF is a football federation under FIFA
FIFA is unable to govern all 211 national associations of football in the world. As such, they have 6 confederations that are under them.
These confederations help to govern 6 different regions in the world:
CONCACAF stands for the Confederation of North, Central America, and Caribbean Association Football. As such, they govern countries mainly from these 3 regions:
- North America
- Central America
The United States are part of North America, so this is why they are under CONCACAF.
The CONCACAF’s main role is to manage football competitions in this region, such as:
- CONCACAF Champions League
- CONCACAF Gold Cup
The CONCACAF Champions League is a competition between all football clubs in the region. Meanwhile, the Gold Cup is a biannual cup for the national teams.
USSF is one of the founding members of CONCACAF
The US Soccer Federation (USSF) is the national governing body of football in the United States.
They are in charge of the US Men’s National Team (USMNT) as well as professional soccer in the US.
USSF is one of the 13 founding members of CONCACAF. Since then, the CONCACAF has expanded to include 41 associations!
Since USSF is one of the founding members, it is unlikely that they will be switch allegiance to UEFA.
The USSF runs the different leagues and cups that occur in the United States, such as:
- US Open Cup
- SheBelieves Cup
MLS is considered to be the top-flight football league in the USA and Canada
When the United States won the bid to host the 1994 World Cup, they were required to establish a top-flight professional league in the US.
The MLS was selected to be the highest level of professional football in the US.
With the Canadian Soccer League folding in 1992, there was no professional football league in Canada. The MLS has also expanded into Canada and includes teams from Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal.
This is why the MLS is also considered to be the highest level of professional football in Canada too!
Is MLS recognised by FIFA?
MLS is recognised by FIFA as they are governed by the USSF, which in turn is governed by CONCACAF. Since CONCACAF is one of the 6 continental federations under FIFA, the MLS is also considered to be a part of FIFA.
There are different footballing federations in the world. Each of these bodies govern football at a different level:
- Country level
The MLS is a top-flight league under the USSF, which is under CONCACAF who is governed by FIFA.
In this way, the MLS will be considered to be a part of FIFA!
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