Tuesday, September 19, 2017

NASL files anti-trust suit in Federal Court


The NASL's press release reads:

The North American Soccer League (NASL) announced Tuesday that it has filed a federal antitrust lawsuit against the United States Soccer Federation (USSF) in Brooklyn federal court. The NASL is a men’s professional soccer league that has operated since 2010.
The NASL’s complaint alleges that the USSF has violated federal antitrust laws through its anticompetitive “Division” structure that divides men’s professional soccer for U.S.-based leagues based on arbitrary criteria that the USSF has manipulated to favor Major League Soccer (MLS), which is the commercial business partner of the USSF.  Its business arrangements include multi-million dollar media and marketing contracts with Soccer United Marketing (SUM), MLS’s marketing arm that also jointly sells and markets MLS rights combined with rights to U.S. national soccer teams operated by the USSF. 

The complaint alleges that the USSF has selectively applied and waived its divisional criteria to suppress competition from the NASL, both against MLS and against United Soccer League (USL).  For example, under the USSF’s divisional criteria, there are European clubs that have successfully operated for decades that would be considered ineligible for “Division I” or even “Division II” status due to arbitrary requirements like stadium capacity and market size. 

The complaint alleges that the USSF sought to limit competition from the NASL to MLS and USL, and now seeks to destroy the NASL by arbitrarily revoking the NASL’s “Division II” status for the upcoming 2018 season. The complaint only seeks injunctive relief against the USSF’s conduct regarding its divisional designations.

Rocco B. Commisso, Chairman of the NASL’s Board of Governors and the principal owner of the New York Cosmos, which plays its home games in Brooklyn, stated:  “The USSF left the NASL no choice except to file this lawsuit. The NASL has taken this step to protect not just the league, but also the game, fans, and everyone with a stake in the future success of professional soccer leagues based in this country.”


READ THE SUIT IN ITS ENTIRETY HERE

Some questions that USSF Presidential candidates should ask Sunil Gulati



Recently we have seen public announcement by Paul LaPointe and Steven Gans as candidates for President of USSF against the incumbent Sunil Gulati. Sunil Gulati has not been a huge fan of talking to the media over the course of the last few years.

With the help of THIS NY DAILY NEWS article we've developed a few questions that we feel that these candidates and any who hopefully join in (We are talking to you John Motta and Jerome De Bontin) should be directly asking Mr. Gulati to answer. 



-- What was your relationship with Chuck Blazer? How long did you know Mr. Blazer?


-- As president of the United States Soccer Federation, did you review and sign off on contracts between USSF and CONCACAF that were negotiated by Blazer? Were you aware of commissions paid directly or indirectly to Blazer?


-- Between the bribery scandal that led to Blazer's departure from international soccer circles in 2013 and the Justice Department's unsealing of its indictment in 2015, what did you as a FIFA and CONCACAF executive do to uncover fraud in either organization?


-- As a senior lecturer in economics at Columbia with experience working for the World Bank, how did you not notice the blatant irregularities in CONCACAF's financial reports while you were serving on the organization's executive committee?


-- Have you been questioned by the FBI, Justice Department prosecutors or other U.S. government investigators? Did you appear before or submit documents to the grand jury that handed up the FIFA indictments? Have you spoken to the Swiss authorities who are leading the FIFA investigation in their country? Is it true that you were wiretapped by the FBI during their investigation of Chuck Blazer?


-- Did you ever share office space at the Trump Tower, which was home to CONCACAF, with Chuck Blazer? Were you ever aware of allegations that Blazer used CONCACAF funds to fuel his high-flying lifestyle, including a $6,000-per-month Trump Tower apartment for his cats?


-- Why did you decline to attend the U.S. Senate committee hearing on the Justice Department's FIFA investigation on July 15? USSF chief executive officer Dan Flynn, who appeared on behalf of USSF at the hearing, claimed American soccer officials did not have any leverage to push for reform at FIFA. Do you agree with his assessment?


-- Why does USSF deal with SUM as a broker for its media rights when even MLS (the parent company of SUM) feels that dealing directly with its broadcast partners is required to have a successful partnership?


-- Is it concerning to USSF that MLS favors some teams over others when it comes to player allocation and that a sitting USSF Board Member would lie about it?


-- What are your feelings on the American Soccer United "Call For Change" reform outline?






We would love to hear what questions you want to have Sunil Gulati answer also! Let us know in the comments section below and on social media. Make sure you use the #ProRelForUSA hashtag.

Friday, September 1, 2017

30 Supporter Group coalition release a letter of support for CAS case



August 14th 2017 The Supporter Groups for Promotion and Relegation coalition released a letter of support for Miami FC and Stockade FC  in regards to their complaint filed with CAS last month.

30 supporter groups have currently signed on. This list of signatures includes several MLS SG along with SG from NASL, USL, NPSL and PDL clubs.

This coalition of supporter groups represents thousands of the most passionate fans in this country and yet another display of the rapid growth of the #ProRelForUSA movement.



Thursday, August 31, 2017

Great 343 Podcast featuring Jerome De Bontin



John Pranjic has one of my favorite podcasts out right now. The 343 Podcast always features high quality guests and wonderful questions of the sort most podcasters don't ask.

This one features one of the most interesting men in US soccer at this moment, Jerome De Bontin.

I would love all of you to make sure you check this interview out.

LISTEN TO IT HERE


P.S.
Yes, I am in favor of Mr. De Bontin as the next USSF President. #JdBforUSSF

It is your choice.




Social movements have multiple stages... they emerge, they coalesce, they bureaucratize, and then win or lose, they run their course and end.

The #ProRelForUSA movement has grown extensively over the last few years no matter what a small group of very vocal online detractors say. The movement has moved from a few lone bold souls on Twitter not letting the issue die a silent death, to this point where owners of lower division clubs are now taking cases to CAS to try to achieve its implementation.

Without guys like Ted Westervelt would we be where we are today in this movement? I seriously doubt it. His single minded determination helped bring dozens, if not hundreds of vocal advocates on board through his direct social media actions. Without his tweet to me that said "hoping it happens isn't going to make it happen" I wouldn't have been given the spark to be the American soccer reform activist I am today.

Initially during the emergence of the promotion and relegation movement, creating conversation was more important than anything else. The topic of #ProRelForUSA was a minuscule piece of the overall conversation about American soccer. Really, the totality of the American soccer conversation wasn't even that large.

The plan for creating passionate discussion around the subject worked. It worked well. Today #ProRelForUSA and #OpenSoccer are likely the 3rd most hotly debated topic in all of American soccer right behind the #USMNT and #USWNT. Nothing stirs up consistent passionate debate like these three topics. No league. No team. No player. No coach.

One major issue with Ted and others who have continued to use his tactics on social media during this initial growth stage, is that they have also created countless enemies to the movement.

Today, is this in your face, bold, confrontational, and oftentimes abusive style still the best plan?

In mine and many others opinion it is not.

Where we are on this spectrum of social movement stages can be debated right now, but I think it is safe to say we are past the emergence stage.

These initially most important allies of the movement have now become a part of what is holding it back. The constant attacks on potential allies do nothing to move the conversation forward. The branding of potential allies as enemies does nothing but embolden their resolve to not join in the conversation.

At this point can we still call this very vocal, passionate, and outspoken subset of confrontational advocates allies?

Yes just to clarify Ted, Ben, HowsYourTouch and others out there who I didn't name but think I may be talking about them. I am talking to you.

As this movement progresses and grows. The strategy must change. If you do not grow and change with it... you are no longer allies.You are a hindrance to it.

What does this movement gain by you being an asshole/bully on Twitter?

It gains nothing.

If you want to argue with Dan Loney and the rest of the status quo'ists who are out there all day every day. Have at it.

Please just stop trying to shame, cajole, or bully potential (and in many cases, actual) allies who don't speak up often enough for you, in the manner you want, and when you want in to doing this movement your way.

Trust the facts to persuade them to speak up, when they want to speak up, how they want to speak up, and as often as they want to speak up.

Coalitions are forming. Advocacy groups are starting. Suits are being filed.

The last thing this movement needs is y'all convincing MORE allies to not speak up because you're assholes to them and others on Twitter and they don't want to be associated with you.

No one person is more important than this movement. It is your choice. 

Do you still want to be an ally or not?