Less than a month after a three-person USOC panel dismissed her complaint
against U.S. Soccer
that the federation was in violation of USOC by-laws and provisions of the Stevens Act, which governs national governing bodies, Hope Solo
appealed the decision.
Demand for Arbitration: Hope Solo v. USSF
U.S. Soccer's motion to dismiss was granted on the basis that the former national team goalkeeper has not exhausted her administrative remedies -- if she had a complaint with U.S. Soccer about how it
operates, she needed to first to take it up with the federation and file a grievance -- but Solo has appealed the ruling to the American Arbitration Association, the body that hears appeals of USOC
decisions under Section 10 of the USOC's dispute resolution procedures, charging the U.S. Soccer grievance process is legally flawed.
The USOC panel found the internal grievance process
that U.S. Soccer uses, employing an AAA arbiter, to be "fair and impartial, time driven with deadlines that must be met and not overly complicated."
In a statement she issued on her web site
Thursday night, she said it "was wrong that I have to ask the federation to investigate and police itself,"
and termed it "laughable" that she should have to have the federation hear her case against it and go to arbitration.
The USOC panel had found that she made no claim that the grievance
process "was unfair, biased or prejudiced against her. Nor did she claim that the process was bureaucratic or fraught with administrative pitfalls."
The legal point Solo again challenges
is that U.S. Soccer utilizes a single-arbiter from the AAA and therefore violates the USOC mandate under the Stevens Act that “panels” have 20 percent athlete representation.
U.S. Soccer's position was that the Stevens Act only applied to panels it conducts, and not matters heard before the AAA or CAS, the international sports organization. The USOC panel did not
specifically address the question of 20 percent athlete representation but noted outside arbitration was used in all types of cases.
She also argues that because the federation would
submit her case to outside arbitration, she doesn't have to exhaust her remedies within the federation -- emphasis on the word "within" -- because there are none.
Finally, she again
argues the process would cause unnecessary delay with her case potentially going before three AAA panels plus the USOC panel.