U.S. Soccer presidential election: NASL questions allocation of delegates

In a letter to U.S. Soccer's secretary general, Dan Flynn, the NASL's interim commissioner, Rishi Sehgal, questioned the process of allocating delegates for U.S. Soccer's National Council, which will select the next U.S. president on Feb. 10, and more generally the role of U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati and MLS commissioner Don Garber in the election.

The Professional Council -- which includes MLS, the NWSL, NASL and USL -- holds an equal voting strength with the Adult and Youth Councils (25.8 percent each at the 2017 AGM in Maui).

The Professional Council failed to reach an agreement among the four leagues on the distribution of delegates for the 2018 National Council, and Sehgal presented the NASL's case to the board of directors at its Dec. 10 meeting in Toronto. Gulati deferred board action until its next meeting.

MLS's proposal is that the leagues' positions should be divided:

-- MLS 57.14%
-- NWSL 18.05%
-- NASL 4.51%
-- USL 20.3%

The NASL argues that the four leagues should each get 25 percent.

At issue is the interpretation of U.S. Soccer's by-laws related to the voting structure of the councils. The NASL's position is that the Pro Council has the authority to determine the number of delegates -- MLS wants it increased from 14 to 16 -- but that the allocation of the delegates should be "based on the level of competitive division" among the leagues.

Just what is the definition of "the level of competitive division" is what MLS and the NASL are arguing over. (Other councils use registration figures to determine the voting strength of state and national members.)

MLS's majority control of the Professional Council not only makes it the most powerful member organization in the National Council -- the only one with more than 10 percent of the overall vote -- but also gives it control over the nomination of the two Professional Council seats on the board of directors. (The NASL wants North Carolina FC and North Carolina Courage owner Steve Malik removed from the board following NCFC's decision to leave the NASL for the USL.)

Sehgal also argues for U.S. Soccer to utilize a third party to monitor the entire election process, not just the election itself in Orlando. He also suggests that candidate Kathy Carter, on leave from her position as SUM president, has an unfair position because of her ties to Garber and Gulati, who serve as chairperson and member, respectively, of the Nominating and Governance Committee.
3 comments about "U.S. Soccer presidential election: NASL questions allocation of delegates".
  1. Wallace Wade, December 29, 2017 at 9:30 a.m.

    If you don’t think “The fix is in” your crazy! If Carter is elected, it will spark an all out Soccer revolution in the US. Many Clubs and leagues will completely pull out of US Soccer all together. A new more European model will be adapted by these organizations. US Soccer landscape will be more fractured than ever! Carter should do the right thing and pull out of this election.

  2. R2 Dad, December 29, 2017 at 2:53 p.m.

    I'm not a conspiracy theorist, but there are a few fishy elements to this whole USSoccer/MLS/NASL story:
    1) Carter is on leave from her position as president. The president position does not lend itself to temporary leave, and she isn't on pregnancy leave. So why didn't she quit? There is a fiduciary element to this position, since MLS is not the only vested interest.
    2) US Soccer recently proposed a GM position that would oversee the USMNT and other U teams. The timing is suspect--just before the presidental election in February--and could appear to be a way to isolate the USNMT program/process from the new president and his/her initiatives. MLS/Garber had an ally in Bruce Arena, who has now left. It's crucial for MLS to continue this narrative that MLS players are good enough for the USMNT, and the surest way to do that is to ensure an american is selected as head coach of the USMNT.
    3) The NASL recently lost division 2 status while USL (MLS-affiliated USL) has gained division 2 status. Yet MLS proposes MLS (57%) and USL (20%) is a fair dispersal of voting rights. This leads to an almost unanimous 77%. Since USL is MLS-affiliated, you could make an argument that USL should get 0% since MLS is already representing USL.
    Taken together, this DOES smell like an inside job. I believe it's time for MLS soccer to fly away from the  US Soccer nest, as it's already a thriving and separate entity, so that US Soccer can focus on what's best for americans and our national teams. That should include US Soccer detaching itself from SUM.

  3. Bob Ashpole, December 29, 2017 at 6:58 p.m.

    The trouble with USSF is too much politics and not enough sport. I suspect that the vast majority of USSF members are more interested in sport than money and the soccer entertainment industry. At least some, if not all, of the candidates reflect this too. I hope that now that the business side of USSF has been well secured by the present management team that we will see equal progress on the sporting side. 

    I don't disregard the important of professional soccer but I do not confuse the sport with the entertainment industry. Are we turning into a nation of spectators?

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