Two years removed from their previous clash in South Florida, Venezuela and Ecuador took the pitch behind the support of thousands of their patriots. South Florida has long been the destination for Latin American migration, and it showed proudly with the amount of Venezuelan and Ecuadorian fans at Hard Rock Stadium. Over 12,000 showed for a friendly that was missing some notable superstars for both nations.
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.
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.”
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.
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.”
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.
New Superliga Argentina champions Racing Club have a couple of South Florida links. La Academia are managed by former Fort Lauderdale Striker Eduardo “Chacho” Coudet while the playing roster includes Dario Cvitanich, formerly of Miami FC.
Coudet at work in Estadio Juan Domingo Perón. Photo courtesy Golazo Argentino.
Hard Rock Stadium announced this week that the stadium will be hosting two friendlies this year, including Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuela.
On June 1, Venezuela and Ecuador will face off. On Sept. 6, Colombia will play Brazil.
Brazil faced off against Colombia at the stadium in 2014, fresh off its 7-1 thrashing at the hands of Germany in the 2014 FIFA World Cup. The Brazilians defeated Los Cafeteros 1-0.
One of soccer’s greatest goalkeepers, Gordon Banks, passed peacefully in his sleep last night at the age of 81. Banks was a World Cup winner with England in 1966 and part of the original NASL revolution in the 1970s. Banks was the goalkeeper for the Ft. Lauderdale Strikers in their infancy playing on the NASL roster alongside a whole load of greats including Gerd Müller, Teófilo Cubillas, Elías Figueroa and George Best.
While it may not be El Clasico in 2018, Miami is rumored to host some major friendlies in the summer at Hard Rock Stadium. In a leaked set of games from the International Champions Cup 2018 schedule, it seems that Miami will be hosting two men’s matches in addition to the two women’s matches announced earlier in the month.
A short roundup of coverage about Miami soccer:
Andre Carrillo, with his hair dyed gray, booted in a first-half strike, and Edison Flores used his left foot to knock in a rebound in the second 45, much to the delight of the crowd of 46,893, which was dominated by red-and-white clad Peru fans.
Walter Villa of the Miami Herald writes a recap of Friday’s Peru-Croatia victory, where Los Incas dominated in front of a very pro-Peru crowd. But he also goes into greater detail about what Peru’s participation in the 2018 FIFA World Cup means to the fans.
A short roundup of coverage about Miami soccer:
And, in the midst of it all is Canadian Mason Trafford, who has been a regular starter with Miami FC since the team acquired him from the Ottawa Fury after the 2015 season. Trafford is a linchpin for the second-year franchise.
Steven Sandor, who is a color commentator for FC Edmonton and a writer at The11.ca, gives us a look at Mason Trafford, with a particular focus on his desire to play for the Canada men’s national soccer team.
A short roundup of coverage about Miami soccer in the news:
Pinho scored a hat trick in a 3-0 road upset of Orlando City SC (MLS) to become just the third Brazilian to win the award. The Player of the Round honor is voted on by the staff of TheCup.us and a select panel from the North American Soccer Reporters.
Neil W. Blackmon takes what could have been a press-release-style story and turns it into a really interesting look at Stéfano Pinho and his adjustment to change, specifically moving to a new part of the world and adapting to fatherhood.