A lawsuit against the MLS Players Union (MLSPU) that was part of American youth clubs’ quest to receive compensation for their former players who go pro was dismissed by the U.S. District Court Eastern District of Texas, Sherman Division.
Commonly in the rest of the world, youth clubs receive training compensation and solidarity payments, as stipulated by FIFA’s Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players (RSTP).
For example, when Manchester United paid a transfer fee of $10 million to Bayern Munich to acquire 30-year-old Bastian Schweinsteiger in 2015, small German club TSV 1860 Rosenheim received a $42,000 share because Schweinsteiger played for it before moving to Bayern Munich at age 14.
MLS does not make such payments while the U.S. Soccer Federation does not enforce RSTP, having cited that such payments would violate U.S. anti-trust law.
In July of 2016, Dallas Texans, Crossfire Premier (Washington) and Sockers FC (Illinois) filed a class action lawsuit in a federal court in Texas against the MLS Players Union (MLSPU) charging that MLSPU was threatening an antitrust suit that would interfere with their negotiations with MLS and U.S. Soccer to implement a system of training compensation within the USA.
The MLSPU is against solidarity fees and training compensation, claiming the fees would come out of the earnings of the players it represents.
On Wednesday, U.S. District Court Eastern District of Texas dismissed the lawsuit, granting a motion by the MLSPU that the court lacked personal jurisdiction.
The three clubs are still
waiting a decision from FIFA's Dispute Resolution Chamber (DRC) on claims for a combined $480,500 on transfers involving DeAndre Yedlin (Crossfire), Clint Dempsey
(Texans) and Michael Bradley (Sockers FC). Crossfire claims it’s entitled to a $60,000 share of the Yedlin transfer fee. (About $20 million have changed hands during the pro
club transfers of Dempsey, who played youth ball for the Texans.)
Attorney Lance Reich, who represents the three youth clubs, told ESPN FC’s Jeff Carlisle he was "still mulling over the full import of the opinion" but added: "The key we're focused on is the specific ruling by the judge that the MLSPU is not a party to a player transfer, therefore they don't have a cause of action, so they can't sue us for antitrust."
For its part, the MLSPU issued the following statement from its executive director Bob Foose:
"We have said consistently that training compensation and solidarity payments are bad for players, and would treat players differently than employees in any other industry, including sports. For example, it's absurd to think that a business school could demand a fee from a company that hired one of its students. Yet, that’s the kind of payments the youth clubs seek.
“No player should have the market for his services adversely affected by these payments. This is not to say that players and the Players Union don’t believe in and support youth development. We do, but it should not be funded through a tax on randomly selected professional players' contracts. We have said all along that we do not understand why the youth clubs sued players and their union, and we certainly do not believe that the suit was filed in the appropriate court. We’re very satisfied that the Court has agreed and brought this case to a close by dismissing it in its entirety.”
Besides anti-trust, other reasons cited for RSTP not applying to American youth clubs have included child labor laws, ruining non-profit status and NCAA eligibility, and the fact that Americans clubs are already compensated by the fees they charge the players. Lawyers for the youth clubs say none of those are applicable, and clubs cite that if they received compensation from pro clubs they would be able to increase financial aid to other players.
Report: Jonathan Klinsmann to go on Everton trial
U.S. U-20 goalkeeper Jonathan Klinsmann will go on trial with English Premier League club Everton after attending the U.S. U-20s training camp in London next week, reports the Daily Mail. Klinsmann started for the USA during its Concacaf U-20 Championship win in March that qualified it for the 2017 U-20 World Cup.
A sophomore at Cal, Klinsmann trained with German club VfB Stuttgart’s U-23s, for whom his father Jurgen Klinsmann played in the 1980s, earlier this month.
The U-20 World Cup, hosted by South Korea, takes place May 20-June 11.