The Flynn-Sehgal letters: U.S. Soccer responds to the NASL

Given the lawsuit the NASL filed against U.S. Soccer and now in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit, tensions between the two organizations are high.

That's evident in the written exchange between NASL interim commissioner Rishi Sehgal and U.S. Soccer CEO Dan Flynn regarding the league's election concerns.

Sehgal, who had spoken to U.S. Soccer's board of directors at its Dec. 10 meeting in Toronto, raised questions about the role of MLS commissioner Don Garber and U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati in the election process, how the voting will take and how the Professional Council's delegates will be allocated. Sehgal raised the question of the allocation of Professional Council's delegates in the context of the election but also how the Professional Council votes for its two seats on the board of directors.

Flynn said Sehgal's letter smacked of "paternalistic entitlement" and he expected more professionalism from him.

1. Concerns over role of Garber and Gulati in election process.

Sehgal: Candidate Kathy Carter, on leave from her position as SUM president, has an unfair position because of her ties to MLS commissioner Don Garber and U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati, who serve as chairperson and member, respectively, of the Nominating and Governance Committee and, Sehgal wrote, "are privy to information regarding which Organization Members submitted declarations of support for candidates and to which candidates those declarations of support have been directed.”

Flynn's response: The role of the Nominating and Governance Committee ended with approval of the applications of eight presidential candidates. The role of overseeing the election is the responsibility of the Credentials Committee, not the Nominating and Governance Committee.

Credentials Committee:
Chair: Bob Kepner (NC Adult Soccer Association, former president)
Members: Dimitrios Efstathiou (MLS/SUM, VP, Business & Legal Affairs)
-- Tony Falcone (MD State Soccer Association, president)
-- Siri Mullinix (Clemson Univ., women's assistant coach)
-- Kathy Zolad (Conn. Junior Soccer Association, former president)

2. Monitoring of the election.

Sehgal: U.S. Soccer should utilize a third party to "conduct the entire election process," not just the election itself in Orlando.

Flynn's response: Sehgal's request was "insulting" to federation members who voted on the election rules and through the Credentials Committee, operate the election. He said that in addition to an independent parliamentarian and election voting vendor, the federation engaged "a leading firm to provide additional monitoring services."

(One question Sehgal raised in his letter to Flynn and not addressed in Flynn's response was whether there will be a break after the first round of balloting and subsequent rounds. According to the 2018 U.S. Soccer election rules, there will be a 10-minute “caucus” session between rounds to allow the candidates and delegates to confer.)

3. Allocation of Professional Council delegates.

Sehgal: The four pro leagues should each get 25 percent of the Professional Council's vote -- which accounts for more than 25 percent of the overall vote -- instead of MLS's formula, based on attendance and teams, for each league's share:

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

Flynn: The allocation of Professional Council delegates is based on a formula in place since 2009 and representatives of the NASL and USL agreed to the formula in advance of the 2013 National Council. He said NASL can change its mind but he added the board of directors had the right to reject the NASL's position.

4. NASL's request to remove Steve Malik from the board of directors.

Sehgal: North Carolina FC and North Carolina Courage owner Steve Malik, named to the board of directors as one of the two Professional Council representatives along with Garber in 2017, should be removed following NCFC's decision to leave the NASL for the USL.

Flynn's response: Just because Malik no longer owns an NASL team, that does not make him unfit to serve on the board. Flynn added he was unwilling to ask a board member to resign absent any finding of misconduct and could find nothing in the by-laws to support such a move.
1 comment about "The Flynn-Sehgal letters: U.S. Soccer responds to the NASL".
  1. Mario Cesarone, January 5, 2018 at 10:08 a.m.

    This is quite entertaining.  Lack of knowledge and common sense by NASL.  Pro vote formula seems quite realistic based on attendance and teams.  The USL may pass MLS in the future as they grow.  NASL could do the same if they had any common sense. 

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