As part of its federal lawsuit against the U.S. Soccer Federation (USSF), the NASL alleges that MLS‘s marketing arm attempted to shut down the New York Cosmos.
The NASL recently filed an antitrust lawsuit against the USSF, alleging that the federation has violated federal antitrust laws through its structure that saw NASL denied Division II status. The case comes after the USSF announced in September that the NASL would not obtain its Division II status for 2018.
In a recent turn, it has been revealed that court filings contain an allegation that Soccer United Marketing (SUM)–the marketing arm of MLS–attempted to buy out and effectively shut down the Cosmos. Among the claims in the filings are that SUM sought to purchase the Cosmos, along with the club’s intellectual property and other assets, for $5 million “with the intention to close (the club) down.” Furthermore, it claims that SUM sought to stipulate that “New York Cosmos LLC and its owners shall not own or operate a soccer team in the New York metropolitan area under any name,” for a period of 10 years after the sale was finalized. More from Yahoo Sports:
MLS did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Rocco Commisso, CEO of Mediacom, purchased a majority stake in the Cosmos on Jan. 10.
Sports management professor Stefan Szymanski claimed in the lawsuit that SUM, a “partner of USSF,” was attempting to “destroy the Cosmos as a potential competitor to MLS teams.” He also claimed that the USSF “is so intent on protecting” MLS that “it seeks to weaken competition.”
Commisso’s purchase of the Cosmos was finalized after USSF confirmed that it would grant the NASL provisional Division II status for 2017. Arguments in the ongoing lawsuit are expected to be heard later this month.
Image courtesy New York Cosmos.
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