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USL Files First of What Could Be Many Lawsuits

2009 December 9
by Brian Quarstad

USL_at-a-crossroadsOn the same day that Jeff Cooper, spokesperson for the newly proposed second division soccer league called the North American Soccer League (NASL), pulled out all the bells and whistles to announce their newest team, AC Saint Louis, the United Soccer Leagues filed the first of what could be many lawsuits.  Many of those following the drama of the two leagues believe yesterday’s announcement of AC St. Louis was strategically timed. The United States Soccer Federation (USSF) met Sunday with both warring sides and has now formed a Professional League Task Force to help clarify or decide which league will move forward in hosting second division soccer in the US. Officials from US Soccer asked for documents from both parties. IMS learned that the USSF requested stadium leases be turned into that task force by today. A stadium lease would clearly show a team has taken concrete steps to field a team for the 2010 season. It was suggested that US Soccer may make a decision as early as next week.

While USL most likely knew Cooper and his investment group would announce their team on Tuesday, they took the opportunity to counter by following through on their threats of litigation against those involved with the newly proposed league. Kartik Krishnaiyer broke the story this morning at The Kartik Report. The USL has filed a suit in the Hillsborough county court in Florida. The defendants are the Rochester Rhinos, Tampa Bay Rowdies and Crystal Palace FC USA.

The Tampa Bay Rowdies and Crystal Palace (CPFC) both made a decision several weeks ago to move to the newly proposed NASL. Inside sources told IMS that CPFC had a 500 thousand dollar bond placed with the USL. All USL teams have to secure a bond before the season starts to insure the league in case a team pulls out or folds. IMS was told the bond amount CPFC paid is consistent for a USL-1 team.  A few weeks prior to CPFC’s announcement, the USL suggested CPFC would be moving up to USL-1 from USL-2 where they had previously played.

IMS was told Tampa signed a 2-year agreement with the USL but Team Owners Association attorneys had consulted with Tampa and suggested they would have cause to break the agreement.

It was reported that Rochester, who has been wavering throughout the last year, was late in making a commitment to USL this season. They eventually gave the USL a verbal agreement that they would sign.  It’s unknown whether the team owned by Rob Clark actually signed a 1-year agreement with the USL. Clark announced on the 30th of November he had switched allegiances and was now convinced the NASL had a better business plan and was moving forward with the organization.

It’s rumored the USL has threatened other members of the TOA with lawsuits. Some people involved with the issue have gone as far as suggesting the USL could sue the USSF if they give the second division league rights to the TOA.

The USSF now has a dilemma on their hands. It looks as if the USL has the upper hand legally in this issue and as reported in the podcast I appeared on yesterday, the USL may win because of the legalities.

Public sentiment seems clearly on the side of the NASL at this point.  Even if USL does prevail in this dispute, there will most likely be a public backlash. The USSF will have to deal with that backlash and no matter what the decision will not come out looking good. They may be forced to make a decision from a legal standpoint and not for what is in the best interest of soccer in the US. This leaves US Soccer with a scenario they most likely are not happy with at a time when they are attempting a World Cup bid. It’s been reported by those associated with US Soccer that they are disappointed with both sides and were hoping they could have come to terms on their own.

There may not be many winners in this situation — except for NuRock Holdings and Francisco Marcos, owners of the USL.

Please see The Kartik Report for this breaking story and links to the actual court documents.

52 Responses
  1. nathan3e permalink
    December 9, 2009

    I am sure USL is suing for the proverbial good of the game. Right?

  2. Steve Knudson permalink
    December 9, 2009

    Does the USL not see the cards on the table here? Granted, they may win in the short term, but won’t this color their relationship with the rest of the professional teams and any future franchises? If I were considering joining USL, this would certainly cause me to think twice. Even if they force teams to honor their contracts for 2010, won’t teams just refuse to sign up for 2011 and be “free agents?” Certainly they can’t force teams to play in their league beyond contract expiration, can they? I just can’t see the USL winning long-term here. Just what exactly is their vision regarding the professional divisions, or do they even have one?

    I have also been thinking about the whole issue of FIFA and lawsuits. The common wisdom seems to be that the threat of FIFA action hinders the USSF and NASL more than USL. If I recall, however, in Chile the result was the club dropping the court challenge; they obviously knew the fan backlash if their legal action caused Chile to miss the World Cup. If I were NuRock, I’d have to consider that. If their legal action causes FIFA to take action, either in regard to the 2010 World Cup or the 2018-2022 World Cup bid, who is going to be blamed by the fans: USSF, NASL, or the one who filed the suit, USL? NuRock’s USL brand won’t be worth much if the fan perception is that they harmed U.S. soccer, regardless of how they may have helped the game here in the past. NuRock seems to be forgetting that at the end of the day the court of public opinion is the one that counts long-term.

  3. sylvain permalink
    December 9, 2009

    look to me like a desperate last attempt….nothing positive coming out of all the action the USL have taken on the other side every TOA move have done are a step forward…

    once again sorry for my poor english…. french man here lolllll

  4. December 9, 2009

    Sylvain, your French is welcome here, I’ll just have my girlfriend interpret for me. 🙂

    Steve, I think your dead on man!

  5. sylvain permalink
    December 9, 2009

    TY Brian

    i just wonder the possibility off NASL to get sanction by CSA ?????

  6. December 9, 2009

    See my links yesterday to Duane’s articles at the 24th Minute and Ryan Johnstons article at Canada Sports Net. They have some good insight into the matter. You can find the links here:
    http://is.gd/5g0t5

    I don’t think they would cross the USSF.

  7. Stephen permalink
    December 9, 2009

    I kind of believe FIFA will stay out of it unless a suit is filed directly against the USSF. Once you threaten one of their federations then it’s game on.

  8. December 9, 2009

    As was explained on the podcast I referred to, the USL’s attorney is the former attorney of the USSF according to Krishnaiyer. He knows FIFA, CONCACAF and USSF like the back of his hand. The USL are not f’ing around.

  9. sylvain permalink
    December 9, 2009

    yes i look it out fast yesterday… that a problem whit canadien politic but i wont go deeper on that topic lollllll……

    😉

  10. thesuperrookie permalink
    December 9, 2009

    Stadium leases…anyone know if the 30 days are up for the NSC and the beloved Thunder.

  11. December 9, 2009

    I hope the USSF doesn’t allow themselves to be bullied by USL… are they REALLY going to let them paint them in to a corner? What would that say about the USSF? This is the death blow of USL… the fact that they are depending on lawsuits to keep their league proves that they are already dead. I am sick and tired of all this and I hope that all the NASL teams, not matter WHAT the USSF says, NEVER plays ONE GAME under the USL banner. If they have to play exhibitions against each other for a year, so be it. But I hope they don’t allow themselves to be subject to this madness. It’s OVER. No matter what, NASL has won.

  12. December 9, 2009

    Not yet and they would be foolish to commit at this point.

  13. December 9, 2009

    As a former member of the USL, I am fully behind the TOA, The costs and fees associated with the USL are ubsurd cosidering they do no help in any marketing and sponsorship opportunities. There are alot of blind spots in the USL and although I am close with some of the members of the front office, I believe the top people are not in the best interest of growing the game and helping out professional clubs. They are good for the youth scene and PDL/W-league, although the same problems exist with their help in marketing and branding of clubs ( wasnt it 2008 W-leaue Final only had some 500-1000 spectators ) Really the only people that get hurt from the TOA are the lower employees of the USL as I am sure their salaries depend on the USL-1 teams. It is a shame that the leading brand in US soccer ( besides MLS ) cant seem to budge on making promising Division 2 League, no one wins in these matters.

  14. Andy permalink
    December 9, 2009

    The USL has little choice but to sue. Their league is not viable without the teams that left. Their lawsuit isn’t to get the teams to come back and play a season. There would be no point. It is to recover the franchise fees from the teams that defected.

    The USSF cannot choose only one 2nd division league. That would be conspiracy to create a monopoly, and it is illegal. For the billionth time, USSF and FIFA rules do not trump US law. If both the USL and the TOA meet the business requirements, the USSF must grant them both 2nd division status.

  15. Tom permalink
    December 9, 2009

    Win the battle, but lose the war…..

  16. fotbalist permalink
    December 9, 2009

    These issues will always be a problem until someone has the courage to start a real league here, which will not be anyone’s property except the USSF. The best option – I think – is to have the league be a non-profit governed by some system that’s equitable for team owners, fans, and USSF & state soccer associations. The other issue – again in my opinion – is that you don’t have a system of leagues/divisions that “soccer”, rather it honors business acumen, investment, and profit. You begin to honor teams for their true soccer performance only when you have a mandatory promotion and relegation system.

    Secondly, the Canadians (for full disclosure: I am Canadian) should use this opportunity to resurrect a national league in Canada. It is possible putting together Montreal, Vancouver, teams from the CSL (based in Ontario & Quebec), PCSL (based in BC) and even encouraging some activity in Alberta and Manitoba where there are very strong leagues even though not professional clubs per se.

    Just some thoughts on how to radicalize the concept of soccer management.

    keep kicking

  17. ERic permalink
    December 9, 2009

    I don’t see any winners in this situation. Not even NuRock, Papadakis and Marcos. They may ‘win’ back Rochester, Baltimore and Tampa for 2010, but none of those teams will sign anything with the USL for 2011, so they’re guaranteed to be gone. The thing that sucks out of all of this the most is that I don’t see that anything could have gone any other way. Once the league was sold, both sides have had a hard line that’s only gotten harder with each step. The USL1 is dead by 2011 if not sooner, no matter what the USSF does.

  18. ERic permalink
    December 9, 2009

    Andy: “For the billionth time, USSF and FIFA rules do not trump US law.”

    That’s what worries me. In every other case internationally, because soccer is bigger than anything, that statement doesn’t apply. But soccer is not bigger than anything in the US. It’s an open question as to whether that’s true or not here — it hasn’t been tested. It’s starting to look like it might be tested by this mess. There are loads of cases where FIFA has said ‘either drop the lawsuit or we yank your team from the World Cup.’ If this lawsuit goes forward, especially if it targets the USSF, there’s plenty of reason to expect FIFA to threaten to bar the US team from 2010.

    A lot of people think like you do here in the US. But I don’t want to test that statement. These people need to get their crap together.

  19. Jason permalink
    December 9, 2009

    I’m not sure that there is any antitrust issue here as long as USL has some designation. USSF can’t drop USL completely because of US monopoly laws, but as far as monopolizing the “2nd division” title, I can’t see this holding up in court.

  20. zlatan permalink
    December 9, 2009

    Zlatan’s Opinion:

    There are a number of issues as stake here.

    1. USL Status – Does the USL have enough teams to adhere to the 8-team minimum required by FIFA (and still meet other requirements?) Without 8, USSF would have justification to drop them a second-division league. However, USL could hold teams that already consummated their agreement for 2010 play. In turn, these teams could dissolve and seek to remove their league requirement to play. Unlikely that a judge would allow them to dissolve and reform, just to get out of a contract. If the team don’t want to dissolve they will probably be forced to play USL for 1 more year. This would give USL time to find new markets and/or teams for the 2011 season. Still very risky for USL and teams that are bound by existing contracts.

    2. NPSL Status – same as USL, can they meet the 8-team and other requirements? If so, USSF will be forced to allow them to play. But the likelihood of TOA teams that are legally bound to USL being part of the 8+ is a long shot. NPSL could look for other markets, play a much briefer schedule, with amateur/less-talented player to keep cost down, and welcome in the TOA teams currently bound to USL, in 2011. Very risky to invest lots of money in new markets or change your product, in the hopes of a better year next year.

    3. TOA – Teetering Owners Association – interesting group. Lots of egos and access to some capital. But remember, attorneys could be charging $400/hour plus expenses…they money will dry up fast. Unfortunately for TOA, some or all are probably legally bound to USL for 2010. I haven’t seen a league contract, but it probably prohibits them from owning or directing another team in a comparable/competitive league. Forming with CSA and creating a league fully owned and managed in Canada may be their best shot. Still US law can reach in and smack them even north of the boarder.

    4. MN Thunder status – the remnants of the Thunder organization, and the break away faction trying to create something new are cooked. Nobody with any business sense would bankroll either of these groups. It will take an entirely new cast of management and money to have a team in MN next year, unless someone will clean up the wreckage (pay all the bills) the Thunder left in their wake.

    5. USSF – of course they would like 1 stronger league, but if they can’t get TOA/NPSL to play nice, and both leagues meet the requirements, they will be forced to allow 2 leagues. FIFA laws don’t trump US law. I can’t see 2 marginal leagues, run by marginal owners and management staying around very long.

    Obviously, there is lots of posturing going on with law suites and all. None of these people afford a long court battle, which would likely eliminate the chance for a 2010 season, putting them both on a path for bankruptcy.

    Ultimately, TOA is hoping to sweeten their deal, and gain more control of the USL. So I predict that they work things out, by the TOA and other USL owners buying out a controlling interest in USL…for less than it would have cost 18 months ago. Still the MN Thunder and the NSC+former Thunder Mgmt factions are cooked…and the new TOA/owner-controlled USL will try to place a franchise in MN (hopefully with little of the current/former management and money.)

    I also predict that we have another 2nd division league in the US, owned by MLS, with relegation/promotion system, within 5 years.

  21. Former USL Season ticket holder permalink
    December 9, 2009

    I think that everyone should send feedback directly to the USL officers and make your point clear – whether that is supportive or not. Here are their email addresses just to make it easy.

    Chairman: rob.hoskins@uslsoccer.com
    C.E.O.: alec.papadakis@uslsoccer.com
    President: tim.holt@uslsoccer.com
    Director, PR: gerald.barnhart@uslsoccer.com

    I have already sent each one my opinion. I encourage you all to do the same. As a former USL season ticket holder and regular at CCS games I am not their biggest fan! Even if a compromise is forced and USL-1 exists next year I will not support the league. I will support teams so they can survive it, but only until they can leave the USL for a new league whether that ends up being the NASL or not.

    I have also emailed USSF my opinion while wishing them the best of luck in resolving this issue between USL and NASL. This is not as easy, but the url for their contact form is:
    http://www.ussoccer.com/About/Federation-Services/Resource-Center/Contact-Us/Contact-Us.aspx

  22. Jeff Wolter permalink
    December 9, 2009

    USL needs to just go away at this point. They have nothing left to win, the fans will support the clubs that put the team on the field.

  23. Steve Knudson permalink
    December 9, 2009

    Can anyone more familiar with the organizational structure of U.S. soccer answer me this:

    Just exactly what legal claim does USL-1 have on being a sanctioned division 2 league? Is there a legally enforceable contract or agreement between USL and USSF? Or is it merely a USSF designation that can be given or removed solely at the USSF’s discretion? Granted, USL could certainly sue USSF even without an enforceable contract: this is America, and anyone can sue anyone for any reason. But I am curious about what legal claim USL has on their sanctioning status, other than past precedent and incumbency.

  24. Soccer Boy permalink
    December 9, 2009

    Yeah, USL can sue, and I glad someone finally had the soccer balls to get this one into court. Five years from now and thousand of billable hours later, this one will get resolved. However, it will not be resolved in state court–if I was Rochester or Baltimore, and not able to get dismissed, I would move this to federal court as soon as possible.

    At any rate, what would the damages be for USL? I really do not see it based on what I know about the matters.

  25. December 9, 2009

    SB, Can one sue for a verbal agreement if nothing was every signed? Which is what I believe the case of Rochester is.

  26. Stephen permalink
    December 9, 2009

    I don’t see the 2nd division monopoly comments as making any sense. If USSF doesn’t sanction the TOA for 2nd division soccer, it doesn’t stop them from performing their business of putting on soccer matches. It just prevents them from playing in USSF/CONCACAF/FIFA matches, which I don’t see as a guaranteed right in US law.

    Can somebody clarify this? Preferably not someone who thinks there will be promotion/relegation in the US within five years.

  27. Howard permalink
    December 9, 2009

    Hey “Former USL Season ticket holder” your mother is calling you..Stop the whining. All this talk about a NASL…please the exist about as much as WMD did in Iraq. I was shocked the USSF mention them by name. Too many people are buying into the PR of it all (just like WMD)
    *Miami FC the worst organization in the USL. Gate average 176
    * Atlanta Silverbacks. they stopped being a mens team some time ago. Arthur Blank, say MLS please
    * Carolina wants to run with the big dogs in MLS (does the club want to lose MORE money)
    * Tampa Bay -a couple of silverspooners who with all the money they say they have either needs to listen to their lawyers or find some better ones.
    * ST. Louis A logo and a guy who was voted one of the 10 worst coaches in the game
    I like the Graham Bensinger and Neil Rackers rumor that they are looking at USL
    * Montreal, unlike Atlanta they will get MLS and Saputo has played both sides of the fence to get what he wants..MLS

    * Rochester – Which way does the wind blow, blow
    * Baltimore Crying Palace hope you not using the same lawyers a Tampa
    * Minnesota – calling Obama for a bail-out
    * Vancouver – MLS in 2011
    TOA keeps saying we are better…remember WMD

  28. Former USL Season ticket holder permalink
    December 9, 2009

    Howard, my mother is dead thank you. Any better retorts than that? I simply suggested you email the appropriate people involved to voice your opinion. If you don’t want to let the people who are actually involved in the dispute know what you think that’s fine. It’s not whining either. I wanted the USL to know that I have been a supporter for years and this situation was changing my view of the USL. In my opinion the USL-1 is just as fictional as the NASL. I vote with my money and I have done that by buying season tickets for two USL teams. If you feel so strongly in support of the USL email the staff and let them know how you feel. I did and got a very nice response from Rob Hoskins. His response is below…

    “I wanted to drop you a line to let you know that USL has been very carefully working on its growth strategies for all of its leagues, including USL-1. We have intentionally not responded to the various press releases that have been issued by the TOA/NASL, largely because we did not want to waste negative energy.

    The growth of USL-1 is never stronger and never better, in spite of all the releases that have been issued.

    In very short time, the public will begin to hear about all the great reforms that are currently going on with USL-1.

    Thank you for your email and your point of view.

    Rob Hoskins
    United Soccer Leagues”

    I just hope what he says is true.

  29. Jorey permalink
    December 9, 2009

    Those remarks by Mr. Hoskins remind me of that little Iraqi General that kept talking to the press during the second Iraq war he would come out and say stuff like “The Americans are losing and running from the Republican Guard” when in reality we were kicking there ass. The USL has always been a bad vessel for soccer in the US but for so long was really the only ship at sea, so the teams climbed aboard a very few thrived on the ship and a couple survived but most died and the Captain never changed course.
    Its time for a new ship or at least a new Captain. USSF try the new NASL ship that is being built because the USL ship is sunk.

  30. Mike permalink
    December 9, 2009

    They don’t need to be sanctioned by USSF to run a soccer league. If they want to be taken seriously and participate in the US Open Cup, etc., then they need to be, but USSF sanctioning of a league has nothing to do with US anti-trust law.

  31. fotbalist permalink
    December 9, 2009

    It’s really sad that the entire conversation is about lawsuits and insults rather than constructive gathering. I appreciate “Former USL Season Ticket Holder” simply because he has encouraged us to take positive action to influence the life of soccer as fans. I believe fans need to band together and make their collective voice heard by USSF, USL, NASL, etc, etc.

    keep kicking

  32. Paul permalink
    December 9, 2009

    Mike, that is correct. The NPSL in 1967 was unsanctioned and had a TV deal with CBS. They didn’t sue the rival league USA which was sanctioned by USSF and FIFA.

  33. Soccer Boy permalink
    December 10, 2009

    Brian, contracts can be formed verbally or in writing. However I think that the “statues of fraud” would cover a business situation like this, which essentially require the contract be in writing.

    In addition to this, I think there is a million other problems USL has right now from a legal standpoint. One problem for the USL that I identifiy is “lack of consideration.” What is a team getting to play in the USL with all the problems USL has? I think they also should have filed in federal court not in Florida, unless USL is really only interested in keeping the Florida (Tampa Bay and Miami) teams in the USL. Any respectable judge in Florida is going to dismiss non-Florida teams in a heart beat. Additionally, I think USL might have jumped the gun on filing a lawsuit now. USSF has not approved the NASL to play, so is there really a legal controvery?–Has the USL been harmed from a legal presepctive?

    Finally, I think there is a public relations problem. From reading the posts, there seems to be a lot of people upset with USL. My sympathies are with the TOA.

  34. December 10, 2009

    Very informative SB. Thanks very much for that.

    Mike, as I have previously pointed out not being sanctioned is more of a detriment to the Canadian and Puerto Rican clubs than the US clubs as they are then ineligible to play in a competition that can thrust them into CONCACAF Champions League. As well, it could be a detriment for all team to acquiring certain international players. There are players from the Canadian and Haitian National teams (I’m sure others as well) who played last season in USL-1. I would expect playing on a non sanctioned team would omit them from international play.

  35. Stephen permalink
    December 10, 2009

    BQ, I think Mike’s comment was referring to my question above. Hence the line, “USSF sanctioning of a league has nothing to do with US anti-trust law”. Thanks Mike for confirming what I already thought, just another argument to throw in the TOA advocate nonsense pile.

  36. smatthew permalink
    December 10, 2009

    Hey BQ
    This part jumped out at me, “IMS learned that the USSF requested stadium leases be turned into that task force by today.” have you heard what (or if any at all) lease agreement was presented for the Thunder?

  37. December 10, 2009

    I have not and I would imagine that is exactly the point. That the USSF is going to weed things out here. Previously the USSF talked to the NSC but the NSC has still not officially announced that they are going to have a team. I’m sure the 30 days are getting close. I still wonder if someone from MN is going to jump out of nowhere and claim that they are working with the TOA and have taken over the Thunder. But if that’s the case its been kept VERY quite.

    Sadly, someone sent me a photo of the Thunder office the day it snowed last time and there were no tire tracks there and its reported there is never any activity there. As well, I was sent an email the other day that came from Angie and Thunder office canceling most of the Thunder winter clinics they were trying to drum up interest in. Very sad.

    Expect something from the NSC soon, but I am guessing they will wait for a USSF ruling before jumping into a league.

  38. Andy permalink
    December 10, 2009

    Soccer Boy: “Has the USL been harmed from a legal presepctive?” –well, they are out a lot of money in franchise fees from the teams that defected. Of course they are going to sue to get as much of that back as they can, and then hopefully use it to rebuild for 2011.

    As far as US antitrust law is concerned, it isn’t a matter of a link between it and USSF sanctioning. It is a matter of USSF granting a competitive advantage to one league over another when both meet the minimum requirements. If you were on the losing side of that battle, wouldn’t you sue? The details of how antitrust law comes into the picture is something the lawyers will determine. The belief that USSF and/or FIFA somehow have the power to come in and designate how competition in the soccer marketplace will take place without regard to US laws is wrong.

  39. ERic permalink
    December 10, 2009

    Andy: “The belief that USSF and/or FIFA somehow have the power to come in and designate how competition in the soccer marketplace will take place without regard to US laws is wrong.” Nevertheless, it *is* real, and must be taken into account.

  40. ERic permalink
    December 10, 2009

    I should’ve probably put a paragraph between Andy’s comment and my response.

  41. Steve Knudson permalink
    December 10, 2009

    Granted, FIFA and USSF do not have the power to overturn U.S. law. They do, however, have power that affects soccer in this country, particularly FIFA.

    FIFA can withhold sanctioning from the new league, even if a court were to order USSF to sanction, and FIFA is not under the jurisdiction of U.S. law. Indeed, FIFA gets very testy when courts/governments interfere with soccer administration. They can’t overturn those decisions, but they can (and have) placed bans on foreign competition and participation. If U.S. courts interfere in a way which FIFA deems to be infringing upon the “sovereignty” of the USSF, they could prevent the U.S. national team from playing in sanctioned international competitions, including the world cup, and they could prevent U.S. clubs from playing in FIFA or CONCACAF club competitions, such as the concacaf champions league. None of these decisions are subect to U.S. court control or U.S. law, but could have a real impact on soccer in this country.

  42. Corbin permalink
    December 10, 2009

    The USL’s problems have been a long, LONG time in the making. This is Marcos’ legacy. The guy has basically been running a soccer-based Ponzi scheme for the better part of twenty years. First he was just leading-on would-be franchise-owners, but that didn’t prove lucrative enough for him. Eventually, he hit upon the idea of lining-up – and fleecing – corporate partners. To his “credit”, he talked a good enough game to even pull the wool over the eyes of the likes of Nike/UMBRO. All the while, he made sure that he kept a cushy corner-office position – and salary/consultancy fee – for himself. There’s a special place in Hell reserved for this charlatan. It is an indictment against the state of soccer in this country that he was allowed to keep his sticky fingers in the pie for so long.

  43. Zlatan permalink
    December 10, 2009

    A FIFA sanction is not required to run a soccer league, nor is USSF’s. A league could be created without any regard for either of these organizations.

  44. Steve Knudson permalink
    December 10, 2009

    Correct, a league does not require FIFA or USSF sanction to operate.

    It does, however, if you wish to recruit top-quality talent. If FIFA or USSF make it known that those who play for teams in an unsanctioned league are ineligible for selection to national team duty, you won’t get top players from other nations, like the USL-1 has done for some time. If NASL (or USL-1) play without FIFA/USSF sanction, it may still be entertaining soccer and worthy of support, but the quality of the players (and hence the play) will be lower than USL-1 was last year. If that’s not a problem for you, then go for it. Also, as I mentioned above, playing without sanctioning invalidates you for participation in tournaments such as the champions league and U.S. open cup. Again, if that’s not an issue for you, then go for it.

    Personally, if I’m going to support and follow a professional team, I want one that can compete at those higher levels.

  45. FORMER USL FAN permalink
    December 10, 2009

    The USL is bad for the future of American soccer. They owe money and want decent American entrepreneurs to foot the bill. It is wrong to use our court system as coersion against the institution of new ideas. The USSF has every right to dismiss the USL. The USL has not listened to the TOA or its fans. Thats just bad business. The USL doesn’t care about US soccer. They don’t respect the USSF as a governing body for soccer in America. I got news for you USL, the USSF represents American Soccer and American Soccer no longer wants the USL.

    Find another way to settle your debts!

  46. ERic permalink
    December 10, 2009

    Former USL Fan: “Find another way to settle your debts!”

    Um, I’m just a little bit confused here. If they can’t settle it by negotiation, the courts are pretty much their only option. Is there some other way that you know of?

  47. CoconutMonkey permalink
    December 10, 2009

    I’m actually not so informed on whether or not the TOA clubs broke their contracts or have unsettled debts with the USL. But regarding the lawsuits, I think these things might be a factor.

    From the USSF Bylaws:

    Section 1. No Organization Member, official, league, club, team, player, coach,
    administrator or referee may invoke the aid of the courts in the United States or of a State
    without first exhausting all available remedies within the appropriate soccer organization, and as
    provided within the Federation. This bylaw does not apply to the commencement of an
    arbitration proceeding under these bylaws or the USOC Constitution and Bylaws or the
    enforcement of a decision rendered in such a proceeding.
    34
    Section 2. For a violation of this bylaw, the offending party shall be subject to
    suspension and fines, and shall be liable to the Federation for all expenses incurred by the
    Federation and its officers in defending each court action, including but not limited to the
    following:
    (1) court costs.
    (2) attorney’s fees.
    (3) reasonable compensation for time spent by Federation officials and employees in
    responding to and defending against allegations in the action, including responses
    to discovery and court appearances.
    (4) travel expenses.
    (5) expenses for holding special National Council meetings necessitated by the court
    http://www.ussoccer.com/About/Governance/Bylaws.aspx

    And this: Federal Baseball Club v. National League
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federal_Baseball_Club_v._National_League

  48. Soccer Boy permalink
    December 10, 2009

    Andy, with teams leaving or getting kicked out of the USL, they really do not have much of a league left–other than USL-2, PDL, etc. If I was one of the teams getting sued, I would leave to becuase they ain’t going to be anyone to play. You have to have 8 teams, right?

  49. December 11, 2009

    CoconutMonkey, very interesting. Thanks for the work in digging that up.

  50. Steve Knudson permalink
    December 11, 2009

    CoconutMonkey,

    The USSF bylaws section is interesting. I’m not sure though that the FBL v NL court case is relevant. I am not a lawyer, but from what I have heard that case is specific to baseball, and the courts have declined to apply that precedent to other professional sports. At least, that’s what I’ve heard on ESPN a couple of times during labor disputes in other sports.

  51. Little Birdy permalink
    December 11, 2009

    Manny Lagos OUT as Thunder Pres. That must signify the end of the organization. I’ll miss them.

  52. CoconutMonkey permalink
    December 11, 2009

    Yeah, I’m not a lawyer either -although sometimes I think I am- I don’t really think that FBL v NL is very relevant here either. Especially because these court cases aren’t really about that. But a few people mentioned anti-trust/monopoly with regards to the NASL’s sanctioning. So I figured it might have some bearing on that. I didn’t know the courts declined to use it with other sports though. Very interesting indeed!

    PS. The bylaws section didn’t look nearly that crazy when I pasted it! I swear!

    PPS. SaganTosu finished a respectable 5th this year! Only 10pts away from promotion!

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