After being declined Division II status, the NASL has taken action against U.S. Soccer.
The NASL announced that it has filed an antitrust lawsuit against the U.S. Soccer Federation. Per the league’s press release, the complaint says that the USSF favors Major League Soccer, “the commercial business partner of the USSF,” and the United Soccer League over the NASL, and therefore has “violated federal antitrust laws.” The complaint targets the “anticompetitive ‘Division’ structure that divides men’s professional soccer for U.S.-based leagues based on arbitrary criteria”.
“The USSF left the NASL no choice except to file this lawsuit,” said Rocco Comisso, owner of the New York Cosmos and chairman of the league’s Board of Governors. “The NASL has taken this step to protect not just the league, but also the game, fans, and everyone with a stake in the future success of professional soccer leagues based in this country.”
The NASL used European league structures to defend their claim. According to the USSF’s criteria, “there are European clubs that have successfully operated for decades that would be considered ineligible for ‘Division I’ or even ‘Division II’ status due to arbitrary requirements like stadium capacity and market size,” they said. Additionally, the complaint points toward Soccer United Marketing, MLS’ marketing arm.
The NASL says it “only seeks injunctive relief” from the complaint, which was filed in Brooklyn federal court.
The lawsuit comes two weeks after news broke that the USSF had rejected NASL’s application to be a Division II league again next season.