The North American Soccer League (NASL) is suing the US Soccer Federation (USFF) after the removal of its status as the second-tier competition in US club soccer.
The lawsuit, which was filed on Tuesday in a Brooklyn federal court, asks a judge to conclude that the USSF violated antitrust laws and further asks the court to grant the NASL unspecified relief. NASL said that USFF had illegally protected the monopoly position of its business partner, Major League Soccer (MLS), from American and Canadian competitors.
USFF has declined to comment publicly on the court case.
The NASL was founded in 2009, and first became active in 2011 with division two status. Earlier this year, however, the USSF promoted the United Soccer League (USL) from the third-tier category to second, and granted both the NASL and USL provisional division two status for 2017.
Earlier this month, the USSF denied the NASL second-tier status for the 2018 campaign. It stated that the minimum requirements for second-tier status call for 12 teams in each league and noted that the NASL lost four of its participants in 2016, leaving only eight clubs to compete.
At the time, the NASL said that it was ‘disappointed with the decision’ and it did not believe that the federation acted in the best interest of the sport.
An NASL statement read: ‘US Soccer’s decision negatively affects many stakeholders in soccer: fans, players, coaches, referees, business partners, and the NASL club owners who have invested tens of millions of dollars promoting the sport. The decision also jeopardises the thousands of jobs created by the NASL and its member clubs.’