A scheduling conference is already expected sometime in June, with a likely December trial date. NASL and its attorneys are seeking to firm up a meeting this week. The argument is simple: time is of the essence, as a 2019 NASL season will requires months of prep in arranging teams, sponsors and stadium times. This, of course, assumes that NASL wins its lawsuit against the U.S. Soccer Federation and MLS; a loss would pretty much kill the league. From Law360:
Having already lost the 2018 season, the NASL argued that the case should be expedited to avoid more harm.
“Here, in light of Judge Brodie’s finding that NASL has established irreparable harm — subsequently confirmed by the cancellation of NASL’s 2018 season, and its loss of many of its member teams — an expedited hearing date is warranted to set an appropriate case schedule as soon as possible, so that NASL will have an opportunity to prove its legal case and potentially avoid suffering further irreparable harm from having to cancel its entire 2019 season as well.”
Showing irreparable harm, however, is not enough to prevail on the antitrust issues raised by NASL. Indeed, under the Sherman Antitrust Act, the NASL must demonstrate unreasonable restraint of trade — the entire point of the court proceeding. The league must show that U.S. Soccer Federation conspired with MLS to irreparably harm the NASL by demoting it to Division III and raising USL to Division III status, while professional league standards (PLS) prevent NASL from reaching Division I status.
Image courtesy NASL.
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