NASL's legal barrage continues with suit against U.S. Soccer's board of directors

U.S. Soccer's board of directors have been dragged into the barrage of legal actions filed by the NASL or those with ties to the NASL.

In the latest one, the NASL filed a civil lawsuit in New York County (Manhattan) court against 14 of the 15 voting members of U.S. Soccer's board of directors and secretary general Dan Flynn.

The board members sued were president Sunil Gulati, vice president Carlos Cordeiro, Pro Council members Don Garber and Stephen Malik, Youth Council members Jesse Harrell and Timothy Turney, Adult Council member Richard Moeller, Athlete Council members Chris Ahrens, Carlos Bocanegra and Angela Hucles, independent directors Valerie Ackerman, Lisa Carnoy and Donna Shalala and at-large director John Collins.

By a 9-1 vote, the board denied sanctioning the NASL as a Division 2 league for 2018. Gulati, Garber, Malik, Bocanegra and Collins recused themselves from the vote. USASA president John Motta, the second Adult Council member, was the lone board member to vote no on denying sanctioning.

Robert Contiguglia, the immediate past president, is on the board as a non-voting member and wasn't sued. To the contrary, Flynn, a non-voting member, was sued.

The NASL's complaint alleges the board was motivated by conflicts of interest and economic considerations and breached their fiduciary duties to the NASL in the handling of the sanctioning decision. It is seeking injunctive, monetary -- not less than $100 million -- and declaratory relief.

In other matters:

-- In September 2017, the NASL sued U.S. Soccer in U.S. District Court, seeking an end to divisional sanctioning of pro leagues. It sought an injunction to have Division 2 sanctioning maintained in 2018 while the suit continued but it lost that part of the case. A decision on the appeal is awaiting.

-- A month earlier, Miami FC, the 2017 NASL fall and spring champion, and the NPSL's Kingston Stockade filed a complaint in the Court of Arbitration for Sport against U.S. Soccer, Concacaf and FIFA to require promotion and relegation be adopted across all U.S. divisions.

-- Last week Hope Solo, the former U.S. national team goalkeeper and a candidate for U.S. Soccer president, filed a complaint with the U.S. Olympic Committee against the federation, contending it is in violation of USOC by-laws and provisions of the Stevens Act, which governs national governing bodies like U.S. Soccer. Solo's lead attorney is Lee Charles, a merger and acquisitions attorney for the firm of Baker Botts that represents Mediacom, the cable firm owned by Rocco Commisso, the New York Cosmos owner and chairman of the NASL board of governors.

2 comments about "NASL's legal barrage continues with suit against U.S. Soccer's board of directors".
  1. R2 Dad, February 7, 2018 at 3:20 p.m.

    The NASL is dead, effectively the baby strangled in the bassinet by MLS. Going forward, the only leagues allowed to thrive will be USL-related. Garber has won the battle, but the war is not yet over. Even giving pro-rel to Div2 and Div3 is just a distraction. Hopefully the next president will be able to establish a roadmap to rationalize league structures. If MLS is going to continue to suck at developing players and signing 20 YOs from south america the least they can do is send down their top academy players to south america to do the actual development. Half our players are hispanic anyway so it's not a stretch.

  2. James Madison, February 7, 2018 at 6:15 p.m.

    Aha!  The back story.  Mediacom.  On the merits, better USL grow and a D-2 emerge from a succdessful D-3 than the NASL struggle on by judicial fiat.

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