A day after losing a bid in U.S. District Court for a preliminary injunction against a USSF demotion to Division III, North American Soccer League (NASL) owners announced they will move ahead with an appeal, asking the U.S. Court of Appeals to reverse the decision.
Yesterday U.S. District Court Judge Margo Brodie denied the request for an immediate injunction based on antitrust claims, saying that while there is merit to the NASL’s arguments, there was not a compelling argument for a preliminary injunction that maintained the league’s 2018 Division II Status — an injunction the league says is crucial to short-term survival.
Here’s the statement from North American Soccer League (NASL) Interim Commissioner Rishi Sehgal:
Following the disappointing ruling issued by the U.S. District Court yesterday, the NASL filed an appeal with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. We remain confident in the merits of our case and that our request for a preliminary injunction is supported by the law. For that reason, we’re hopeful that the Second Circuit will deliver a ruling that allows the NASL to play at the Division 2 level in 2018 and enables us to continue growing and developing the sport. We have asked for our appeal to be expedited to eliminate the uncertainty facing all of our clubs, players, coaches, fans, and other stakeholders.
It’s important to note that was a request for a preliminary injunction and not a hearing on the full merits of the case. The NASL lawsuit argued that the decision to demote the circuit from Division II to Division III status would irreparably harm league owners. Their argument: the United Soccer League (USL) had plotted with Major League Soccer (MLS) and its affiliated arm, Soccer United Marketing (SUM), to put NASL out of business. Playing at Division III would impede NASL’s ability to attract new investors and new teams, while USSF officials say that putting aside its decision about Division II status would diminish its place in the marketplace and with FIFA.
No word on any U.S. Court of Appeals schedule.
Image courtesy NASL.
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