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Matthew Bunch

Matthew Bunch has lived in Miami since 2005, covering a variety of collegiate and professional sports. As Editor in Chief of The Miami Hurricanes, the student newspaper of the University of Miami, Matthew and his staff won the paper's first ACP Pacemaker Award since 1992. With the return of professional soccer to Miami-Dade County in 2016, Matthew channeled his professional interest with his personal passion for the Beautiful Game. You can contact Matthew at bunch.mcs@gmail.com.

Miami at the heart of Relevent Sports’ USSF lawsuit over league matches

Relevent Sports filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Soccer Federation on Monday. Photographic by Matthew Bunch.

Relevent Sports, LLC, an advertising and marketing firm responsible for bringing high-profile international and club friendlies to North America, has filed suit in New York state court alleging that the U.S. Soccer Federation is improperly prohibiting the organization from bring foreign league matches to the United States.

The lawsuit, which was first reported in the New York Times, is the culmination of months of frustration between Relevent and a number of national federations. Relevent, which is co-owned by Miami Dolphins and Hard Rock Stadium owner Stephen Ross, first attempted to bring a La Liga match between Barcelona and Girona back in January. That plan stalled until finally Barcelona withdrew from the LaLiga North America partnership, at least for this season.

The plan was opposed by the U.S. federation, but also the Spanish federation, FIFA and the Spanish players’ union.

It appears that, without fanfare, Relevent tried again, this time attempting to bring two Ecuadorean clubs (Barcelona S.C. and Guayaquil City) to Hard Rock on May 5. This time, the U.S. Federation more directly rejected the proposal.

According to the Relevent complaint, the federation’s refusal to sanction the game is in violation of Federation Bylaw 102, which states the federation’s purpose is, “to promote, govern, coordinate, and administer the growth and development of soccer in all its recognized forms in the United States for all persons of all ages and abilities, including national teams and international games and tournaments.”

USSF response

On Tuesday, the federation responded, claiming that sanctioning of the game would be in violation of FIFA’s guidelines. Therefore, allowing the game to be played would be detrimental to the game and in violation of Bylaw 102.

While the FIFA Council did make its opinion known on the Miami league game matter last year, that opinion has not yet officially been codified in FIFA’s Laws of the Game. The crux of Relevent’s argument is that the Council’s opinion should not be interpreted as official rule.

Copa connection

Interestingly, the court filing in New York Supreme Court (note: the state supreme court in New York is not the highest court, instead generally serving as a civil trial court) confirms reporting from last year that Relevent Sports made efforts to bring the aborted Copa Libertadores final to Miami, and lays the blame for the failure to land the game at the feet of the USSF president (and Miami resident) Carlos Cordiero.

“At the end of 2018, when fan violence prevented the finals of the Copa Libertadores from taking place in Argentina as scheduled, Relevent and Mr. Ross reached out to USSF and its President, Carlos Cordeiro, to offer to stage the final in Miami, Florida. USSF and Cordeiro effectively refused to engage.”

Legal limbo

This is the third Miami-adjacent lawsuit pending for the USSF. The now-defunct North American Soccer League has filed a lawsuit contending that it has violated anti-trust regulations, and a lawsuit spearheaded by local club The Miami FC to the Court of Arbitration for Sport is asking that promotion and relegation be introduced in the American club game.

Magic City Soccer establishes broadcast partnership with The Miami FC

Magic City Soccer Joins The Miami FC Broadcast Network

Magic City Soccer and The Miami FC Broadcast Network today announce the formation of a broadcast partnership to stream all of The Miami FC’s 2019-2020 NPSL regular- and post-season matches.

The coverage will include a preseason match this Saturday against FC Miami City at 7 p.m., as well as the home opener against Miami United FC on April 20 at 7 p.m., both from Barry University.

The broadcast will include Magic City Soccer contributors Omar Moubayed, Lee Ifans and Matthew Bunch, as well as Kartik Krishnaiyer, who served on the broadcast last season and contributes regularly to the club’s multimedia offerings.

Magic City Soccer contributor Abel Iraola will be working in a production capacity on the studio side while continuing to provide excellent coverage of the local soccer scene in English and Spanish. Christian Gomez will be filling in throughout the season and continuing to serve in his primary capacity with our UPSL streams.

“We are pleased to continue offering live complimentary streaming of our home NPSL matches this season for our fans in South Florida and throughout the country,” Miami FC Vice President of Marketing and Communications Matt Britten said in a statement released by the club. “With Kartik’s depth of knowledge of the game and our club, along with the experience that Lee, Matthew and Omar bring from covering and broadcasting local Miami soccer for years, we will provide a versatile, high-quality broadcast for our fans and corporate partners.”

“Magic City Soccer is honored to partner with The Miami Football Club in their fourth year of competition,” Magic City Soccer co-founder Omar Moubayed said in the statement. “Throughout the years, MCS has enjoyed a wonderful relationship with The Miami FC while covering the club. This agreement allows us to take the next step with our platform and shine the brightest of spotlights on Miami’s premier soccer organization as The Miami FC look to defend their NPSL title.”

BREAKING: Fort Lauderdale commission unanimously votes to proceed to negotiations on Inter Miami bid for Lockhart renovation

The City of Fort Lauderdale unanimously voted Tuesday to proceed to negotiations with Miami Beckham United on its plan to renovate Lockhart Stadium.

After questioning and deliberation Tuesday afternoon, the City of Fort Lauderdale’s commission rated the Miami Beckham United bid over the FXE football, LLC bid.

Stay with Magic City Soccer as this story develops.