Tag Archives: Barcelona

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.

FC Barcelona waive white flag, will not play in Miami’s Hard Rock Stadium in January

Hard Rock Stadium is pictured during an International Champions Cup match between Real Madrid of LaLiga and Manchester United of the Premier League in Miami Gardens on July 31, 2018. FC Barcelona hoped to play Girona FC at the stadium in January 2019. Photo courtesy Real Madrid.

Three months ago, it appeared La Liga and Relevent Sports would be bringing one of the biggest soccer events in South Florida history to Hard Rock Stadium in January. But today, FC Barcelona announced it would not be participating in a game with Girona FC next month, dealing a significant blow to the league’s hopes of playing outside Spain.

L’Esportiu de Catalunya: Barcelona and Girona to play first LaLiga North America match in Miami in January 2019

Hard Rock Stadium is pictured during an International Champions Cup match between Real Madrid of LaLiga and Manchester United of the Premier League in Miami Gardens on July 31, 2018. Photo courtesy Real Madrid.

According to L’Esportiu de Catalunya, a prominent sports newspaper based in Spain’s Catalonia region, Barcelona and Girona will contest the first LaLiga North America match at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens on the weekend of Jan. 26 and 27.

While the plans have not yet confirmed by the clubs or the league, both Barcelona and Girona are based in Catalonia.

LaLiga announces league games in North America in partnership with Relevant Sports; Miami a likely destination

Hard Rock Stadium is pictured during an International Champions Cup match between Real Madrid of LaLiga and Manchester United of the Premier League in Miami Gardens on July 31, 2018. Photo courtesy Real Madrid.

In a tectonic shift for the world of international soccer, LaLiga announced Thursday morning that it intends to bring league matches to North America as part of “LaLiga North America,” a partnership between the league and the Miami-based Relevant Sports. While no announcements of specific cities has been made, it’s virtually a certainty that Miami will host some of these games.

New Women’s International Champions Cup will bring games to Miami-Dade

Women's International Champions Cup

Andrew Das of the New York Times is reporting that the International Champions Cup, the brainchild of Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross and Relevent Sports executive chairman Charlie Stillitano, will be adding a four-team Women’s International Champions Cup competition this summer. In addition, all the games featuring top-flight women’s clubs will take place in South Florida, with a final at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens.

(UPDATE: Matt Higgins of RSE Ventures confirmed to Magic City Soccer that all games will take place at Hard Rock.)

Magic City Soccer Episode 34: Between Spring and Fall NASL seasons, but still a ton of stuff to discuss

Magic City Soccer podcast

Matt and Omar take time before the NASL Fall Season kicks off to talk about all kinds of things on Magic City Soccer, including but not limited to: San Francisco Deltas, Bruce Matheson, Pro/Rel, Socialism, and El Clasico Miami. Join us, won’t you?

To subscribe to Magic City Soccer on iTunes, click here. To subscribe to Magic City Soccer on SoundCloud, click here.