Laporta admires US model
The Barcelona president believes the salary cap can serve as model for the future.
Last Modified: 01 Aug 2009 15:12 GMT

Joan Laporta has been impressed with the standard of football in the United States [GALLO/GETTY]
Barcelona president Joan Laporta believes that the Major League Soccer salary cap can serve as a model for other teams and leagues to control costs.

FC Barcelona became the first Spanish team to win Spain's first division, the nation's Copa del Rey and the European Champions' League in the same season this year.

Only three other European clubs have won league, national cup and continental championships during the same season.

"There are interesting things that we have to study in Europe, such as a salary cap,'' Laporta said, one day before his team will meet the Los Angeles Galaxy in an exhibition at the Rose Bowl.

"Maybe we have to establish some parameters for revenues and players' salaries but maybe not as strict as in MLS.''

Laporta became familiar with MLS and its subsidiary, Soccer United Marketing (SUM), through negotiations to bring an expansion team to Miami.

Though negotiations failed, "the project is open,'' Laporta said.

"I had a lot of conversations with MLS,'' Laporta said. "In these meetings, I learned a lot of things, especially in marketing. SUM is working very well in this direction.''

The outgoing president, whose term expires next year, also said that he finds the development of American football impressive.

"We are really surprised at the progress of football in the States,'' Laporta said.

"The level of football is getting better. We are sure that the position of the United States' national team and soccer in the States is progressing thanks to the professionals involved.

US dreams

Laporta even hopes to have an American player wear Barcelona's blue-and-red uniform some day.

"I'd be delighted to have an American playing on my team,'' Laporta said.

"It would be great. I think it's important for us as a global brand, a global club, to have players from everywhere. Maybe the adaptation of an American to our culture would be an advantage (for him).''

The game against the Galaxy is part of a three-city trip that will take FC Barcelona to Seattle to play Seattle Sounders FC on Wednesday night and to San Francisco for a game against Mexico's CD Guadalajara, also known as Chivas, on August 8.

In the process, Laporta said he hopes to expand Barcelona's recognition and revenues.

"In our strategy in the States, we're trying to develop grass roots,'' Laporta said.

"We're trying to get a franchise in MLS and to develop our image with campaigns in merchandising and marketing.''

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