Up top! On this episode of the Magic City Soccer podcast, Lee and Matt discuss The Miami FC’s season-opening win against Miami United. Then, Lee gives his UPSL roundup, followed by Lawsuits, Lawsuits, Lawsuits! (of the Inter Miami CF and U.S. Soccer Federation variety. Join us, won’t you?
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.
After its loss to The Miami FC 2 in the play-in round of the 2018 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup on Sunday, FC Miami City and the U.S. men’s U-20 team will play at Central Broward Regional Park’s Cricket Stadium on Sunday at 4 p.m.
It’s not the first time a local squad has scrimmaged against one of America’s youth squads. Last year, The Miami FC faced off against the U.S. U-19 team as part of its preseason.
The U.S. U-20s are using the game as a tune-up before they depart to Honduras. The team has two games scheduled against Los Catrachos on May 17 and 19. One player on the U-20 squad, Andres Jimenez, is from Miami. Jimenez currently is part of the youth system of Envigado FC, based in Colombia. Before the game, the team is spending six days in Florida to train.
It’s a celebration! Matt, Drew and Omar come together to record a live episode for the 50th episode of Magic City Soccer. We discuss lots of things, including The Miami FC 2 in the NPSL, U.S. Open Cup matchups, and USSF politics. Then we speak to Sebastian Abbot about his new book, “The Away Game,” which discusses Qatar’s search for the next great player in Africa. He will appear at Books and Books in Coral Gables on Sunday, May 6, 2018. Join us, won’t you? Thanks to our sponsor, Groundhopper, for helping to make Magic City Soccer happen!
If the 2026 FIFA World Cup does come to the United States, Miami-Dade County will play a prominent part in it, as South Florida was included as one of the hosts venues for the U.S. Soccer Federation and the “United Bid” which also includes Canada and Mexico.
It was just a couple of days ago where I gave you my experience from the U.S. Men’s National Team game in Orlando. After this game, every supporter in attendance thought two things, The U.S. was in and Panama was out. My God, how 96 hours changes things.