(Westport, Conn., July 2, 2002) – Major Indoor Soccer League (MISL) Commissioner Steve Ryan announced today that the League’s Management Committee has voted to retain a multi-point scoring system while eliminating 1-point shootout goals. Issues concerning the scoring system, the rules of play, the 2002-03 schedule, local television, and conference alignment were addressed during the League’s two-day meetings held in St. Louis on June 26-27.
The decision on the scoring system ends months of speculation on whether the MISL would retain its multi-point structure or convert to a single-point format that had been utilized by the original Major Indoor Soccer League as well as several other professional indoor circuits during the sport’s 23-year history.
“After extensive research, debate and discussion, the League’s Management Committee has decided to keep a scoring system that rewards players for their efforts by awarding a higher point value to goals scored from beyond the 45-foot arc,” Commissioner Ryan stated. “Additionally, the League has simplified the scoring system by eliminating the
1-point goal and clarifying the rules regarding time penalties.”
Under the new rules, technical infractions, such as delay of game, will no longer result in a shootout. Instead, shootouts will only be awarded for time penalty infractions when a player, who has a clear and unobstructed path to the goal, is fouled outside of the penalty area.
The 5-second time limitation associated with the shootout has also been eliminated. Instead, shootouts will be live game situations and dynamic in nature, similar to penalty kicks in which any player on the field may play the ball once it is put into play by the player designated to start the shootout.
Finally, shootout scores will carry the same point value as goals registered during regulation play. Any goal scored from beyond or on the 45-foot arc will carry a value of three points while all other goals will be worth two points.
“The rule changes that will be enacted for the 2002-03 season are designed to speed up the game, decrease the number of whistles and stoppages, and enhance flow,” Ryan stated. “The ultimate goal is to expose the skill level of our players who represent some of the best soccer talent in the world while appealing to the broadest base of North American sports fans.”
The League has also adopted a pair of cumulative penalty rules. Teams will be assessed a two-minute penalty upon receiving three team misconducts in a game and a player will be ejected if he accumulates three penalties of any type during a contest.
In non-rule related decisions, the MISL Management Committee, comprised of League investor-operators, gave the nod to an East-West conference alignment while approving several significant dates for the upcoming campaign.
Training camp for the 2002-03 season is scheduled to begin on Monday, August 26 with the regular season commencing on Saturday, September 28. Teams will play a 36-game regular season schedule (18 home, 18 away) with the campaign running 26 weeks and concluding on Sunday, March 23, 2003.
The 2002-03 schedule will feature an unbalanced format with teams facing in-conference opponents more often than non-conference foes. The 2003 MISL Playoffs are scheduled to begin the week of March 24, 2003.
The League also has established a set of television broadcasting minimum standards. Under these standards, each member club will be required to broadcast a minimum of three games during the 2002-03 regular season.
“The new local television package will provide loyal fans with the opportunity to view MISL games when they are unable to make it to the arena while exposing an expanded audience to the excitement of the indoor game,” Ryan stated. “The local television package will also compliment a national television deal that the League is striving to have in place for the upcoming season.”
A series of announcements concerning the 2002-03 campaign, including the regular season and playoffs schedule as well as the 2003 MISL All-Star Weekend and the assignment of member clubs to specific conferences, will be made in the coming weeks.