U.S. Soccer hauled into court again, sued over sanctioning power

U.S. Soccer was hit with yet another lawsuit, this time filed in New York state court by Relevent Sports, which promotes international matches, over its failure to grant sanctioning for an Ecuadoran league match between Barcelona and rival Guayaquil City, scheduled for May 5 in Miami Gardens, Florida.

Complaint: Relevent Sports vs. USSF and Dan Flynn

The suit challenges the federation's power to deny foreign league matches and goes to the question of what constitutes "clear and convincing evidence that staging the match would be detrimental to the sport of soccer."

The case comes more than six years after another sanctioning case was decided in U.S. Soccer's favor. The facts and issues involved in ChampionsWorld are very similar to those in the Relevent case.

Summary Judgment: ChampionsWorld vs. USSF and MLS

Charlie Stillitano started Champions World and his role as a FIFA match agent was decisive in the legal road the case took, forcing FIFA arbitration. He is executive chairman of Revelent Sports, owned by Miami Dolphins owner Steve Ross. Stillitano's role as a FIFA match agent is one of the factual issues in the Revelent  case.

Relevent promotes the International Champions Cup and is increasingly involved with the representation of South American federations seeking to play national team matches in the USA. Relevent and LaLiga are also partners. LaLiga's efforts to play league games in the United States have so far been rebuffed by the Spanish federation and Spanish players union. One view is that the case filed in the New York Supreme Court is a test case to open the door for LaLiga to enter the market.

Like ChampionsWorld, the Relevent case also goes to the role of Soccer United Marketing, Major League Soccer's marketing arm that also represents U.S. Soccer. In ChampionsWorld, SUM was viewed as a rival international games promoter. In Relevent, U.S. Soccer is viewed as conflicted by its relationship with MLS and SUM.

SA Reading:
2010: Federal court ruling threat to U.S. Soccer's authority
2012: U.S. Soccer wins six-year antitrust suit

1 comment about "U.S. Soccer hauled into court again, sued over sanctioning power".
  1. Wooden Ships, April 23, 2019 at 5:13 p.m.

    Not sure why another group isn’t allowed to promote games? Free market? Good luck Charlie. 

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