Riccardo Silva’s efforts to try and bring promotion and relegation to American soccer have ended in another courtroom defeat.
The wealthy owner of Miami FC and former backer of the NASL saw his lawsuit against U.S. Soccer suffer another loss. The lawsuit seeking the installation of promotion and relegation in professional American soccer came to an end after the Court of Arbitration for Sports upheld a FIFA ruling that determined Major League Soccer was not obligated to operate in an open system with promotion and relegation, despite wording in FIFA bylaws that could be read to suggest that promotion and relegation is mandatory in all leagues.
According to the New York Times, the “CAS ruling states that FIFA’s rules only applied to competitions that already existed as a pyramid structure”.
The ruling effectively states that FIFA as the game’s overlord can decided whatever it likes when it comes to its rules pic.twitter.com/PA7f7VJplQ
— tariq panja (@tariqpanja) February 6, 2020
The ruling is a death blow to efforts to bring promotion and relegation to the top of American soccer, as Major League Soccer expands to 26 teams in 2020, and moves toward becoming a 30-team league.
Silva initially filed his lawsuit more than two years ago, when Miami FC was one of the remaining teams in NASL as the league collapsed following U.S. Soccer’s decision to not grant Division 2 status to NASL, granting it instead to USL. The NASL disbanded after being forced to cancel the 2018 season due to a shortage of teams.
Silva’s Miami FC and the New York Cosmos remained active, playing in lower divisions, but Miami FC recently joined the USL while the Cosmos remains in operation in the National Independent Soccer Association.
Promotion and relegation won’t be coming to MLS, but it is still a possibility in USL in the future, with the league now featuring three divisions. While that may be, any hope of a future where promotion and relegation could exist between MLS and the USL ended with the CAS and FIFA decisions rejecting Silva’s lawsuit.