• Normally I would treat the announcement of a new American soccer league with an enormous amount of skepticism. The National Independent Soccer Association, though, is the brainchild of co-founder Peter Wilt, thus giving it instant credibility. If there is anyone who can make a lower-division league with promotion and relegation work, it’s Wilt, who I once branded “the American Soccer Gandalf” for his long experience leading myriad lower-division teams on adventures.
• I occasionally mention the UEFA Financial Fair Play regulations, which — in theory — prevent European clubs from spending more money than they make. Given that at least five clubs (AC Milan, Chelsea, Manchester United, Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain) finished the summer transfer window having spent at least $100 million more on players than they sold, though, it’s hard to understand how these regulations are supposed to be creating a level playing field.
• Last year’s French title race, in which Monaco prevailed over free-spending PSG, was a lot of fun. PSG responded by spending $262 million to buy Brazilian star Neymar from Barcelona, and $212 million for teenage sensation Kylian Mbappe,, on loan for a year from Monaco. It’s safe to say the Ligue 1 title race is likely to be less exciting this year.