USSF: Thanks, But No Thanks to Commisso $500M NASL Revival Offer

NASLThe U.S. Soccer Federation has turned down a proposal to overhaul divisional sanctioning and more as part of New York Cosmos owner Rocco Commisso’s plan for an NASL revival.

NASL had been shifted to Division III status for 2018 from Division II for 2018 after the league failed to field enough teams that met Division II Professional League Standards (PLS) for the entire league. Faced with the demotion, North Carolina and Indy Eleven shifted to rival USL — which was instead moved up to Division II status from Division III — while several other teams either left USL or folded, leaving NASL with only three active teams: New York Cosmos, Jacksonville and Miami.

Commisso offered to drop the NASL’s lawsuit against USSF and MLS and offered to put $5o0 million ($250 millions of his own money) into NASL. There were a few conditions that USSF apparently found too onerous, including the provision that the NASL effort to meet Professional League Standards (PLS) be spread over 10 years and that a single owner could own multiple teams in what would basically be a new NASL.

After meeting on May 27, the USSF Board of Directors decided to keep the current sanctioning system, which allowed for annual review of leagues as well as the Professional League Standards. (These rules are not strictly enforced: after all, NASL received waivers in the past several years to continue operating as a Division II league.)

And so Commisso and his current NASL partners will continue with their litigation against USSF and MLS, according to an open letter posted on the NASL website: “NASL will continue to pursue its breach of fiduciary duty claims against certain USSF board members, and it is about to begin the discovery phase in our antitrust litigation against USSF and MLS,” he said. “Even though USSF and MLS are attempting to push off the trial date of the latter proceeding to October 2019 to keep NASL from playing earlier than the 2020 season even under a favorable court ruling to NASL, I will do everything in my power to seek a timely and positive ruling to help our clubs return to the field in 2019.”

Image courtesy NASL.

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