The NASL’s fight against U.S. Soccer took a big step on Tuesday.
The NASL announced on Tuesday that the league has filed a lawsuit in New York state court against members of the U.S. Soccer Board of Directors. The defendants named in the league’s lawsuit include President Sunil Gulati, Vice President Carlos Cordeiro, CEO Daniel Flynn, and Board members Valerie Ackerman, Christopher Ahrens, Carlos Bocanegra, Lisa Carnoy, John Collins, Don Garber, Jesse Harrell, Angela Hucles, Stephen Malik, Richard Moeller, Donna Shalala, and Timothy Turney.
In the lawsuit, the NASL claims that the defendants breached their duties to the NASL as a result of conflicts of interest and economic considerations. The lawsuit comes as a result of U.S. Soccer’s decision to not sanction the NASL as a Division II league heading into the 2018 campaign.
According to the NASL, the league wasn’t sanctioned due to the members’ commitments to both MLS and Soccer United Marketing.
The complaint alleges that the defendants looked to “freeze out” MLS competitors, like the NASL, while signaling out Gulati and Garber for advancing “MLS interests while enhancing their own clout and influence”.
Earlier this week, according to ESPN, the NASL sent a demand letter calling for U.S. Soccer to turn over all records relating to what the league sees as a potential violation of the New York Not-for-Profit Law(N-PCL). The letter called for U.S. Soccer to turn over all minutes and records from meetings of the Board of Directors as well as any relevant committees. The letter also asks for the disclosure of U.S. Soccer’s financial statements for the fiscal year ending March 2017.
According to the report, U.S. Soccer responded on Tuesday, telling the NASL to go to the the federation website to view available financial records and meeting minutes. U.S. Soccer also reportedly said that financial statements for 2017 are still being prepared.
Regarding the other materials, the federation says they “fall outside of the scope of U.S. Soccer’s obligations” pursuant to the N-PCL.
Tuesday’s lawsuit is the latest step in the legal battle between the two parties following the decision not to grant the NASL Division II status heading into 2018. That decision recently went under appeal after the the NASL’s injunction in U.S. District Court was denied.