USSF, CSA, PRFF, TOA and USL to Meet Sunday to Resolve Dispute
Inside Minnesota Soccer has learned that United States Soccer Federation (USSF) president Sunil Gulati called a meeting for Sunday that will include the parties of the Canadian Soccer Association (CSA), the Puerto Rican Football Federation (PRFF), the Team Owners Association (TOA) and United Soccer Leagues (USL).
Details of the meeting are sketchy except that the parties will be meeting in New York and the USSF hopes to have a clear path of direction by the conclusion of the meetings. It was also learned that all parties were given a gag order this past week which is why all was quiet except for Rochester Rhino’s owner Rob Clark who announced on Monday his organization was moving to the TOA’s NASL League. A source close to the situation told IMS the USSF was not at all happy with Clark’s announcement on Monday.
Theories abound on both sides and the reality is, no one knows exactly what USSF’s plans are. However, the inclusion of the CSA and the PRFF could very well be to make sure all associations are on the same track. This would certainly be important if the TOA with their NASL decided to defy a USSF decision against them and play unsanctioned. That would be frowned upon by FIFA. If the TOA’s NASL League was not sanctioned it would most likely not be as big a deal to the US teams who would be excluded from the US Open Cup. However, it would have a bigger effect on Montreal and Vancouver of Canada because of the Voyageurs Cup which allows those two teams and Toronto FC to compete for the chance to represent Canada in the CONCACAF Champions League. This would also be true of the Puerto Rico Islanders with the CFU Club Championship.
The TOA has already spent a good deal of time moving forward with their league and it was reported within the last several weeks that organizationally, things were moving ahead nicely. With the time and money invested in the league, one would have to wonder if the TOA would be willing to accept a USSF decision that went against them.
One last thought, with all the possibilities of lawsuits and counter lawsuits, it’s not entirely out of the question for FIFA to come down with a decision much like what happened in Chile last week. Evidently FIFA does not approve of civil or government intervention in soccer and will take appropriate steps to make sure that doesn’t happen. A dispute had arisen with the use of an illegal player on a team who were then relegated to a lower league because it was deducted points. The team took the league to court and FIFA immediately ruled that unless the team dropped the suit and accepted the decision, they could suspend Chile from FIFA and the country would lose its opportunity to play in the World Cup in 2010. Markus Kattner, FIFA’s deputy secretary general penned a letter to the Chilean soccer federation to persuade the Rangers to drop their appeal or face sanctions “in accordance with Article 64, Sec. 3 of the FIFA statutes.” Within days the dispute was settled and the team accepted the decision.
(see below for Article 64, Sec. 3 of the FIFA statute)
Hold onto your hats folks. This coming week could usher in resolution or could set off even more drama for the USL and breakaway NASL.
3. The Associations shall insert a clause in their statutes or regulations, stipulating that it is prohibited to take disputes in the Association or disputes affecting Leagues, members of Leagues, clubs, members of clubs, Players, Ofﬁcials and other Association Ofﬁcials to ordinary courts of law, unless the FIFA regulations or binding legal provisions speciﬁcally provide for or stipulate recourse to ordinary courts of law. Instead of recourse to ordinary courts of law, provision shall be made for arbitration. Such disputes shall be taken to an independent and duly constituted arbitration tribunal recognised under the rules of the Association or Confederation or to CAS.
The Associations shall also ensure that this stipulation is implemented in the Association, if necessary by imposing a binding obligation on its members. The Associations shall impose sanctions on any party that fails to respect this obligation and ensure that any appeal against such sanctions shall likewise be strictly submitted to arbitration, and not to ordinary courts of law.