Relevent Sports sues US Soccer Federation

Relevent Sports, the match promoter which owns and markets the International Champions Cup (ICC), has filed a lawsuit against the US Soccer Federation (USSF) for failing to sanction moving an Ecuadorian League match to Miami.

The law suit effectively means the federation is the subject of seven active legal actions and is under increasing pressure to reform from within.

Relevent was seeking to play a match between Barcelona SC and Guayaquil City in the US city on 5 May but the game will now be played in Ecuador due to the USSF’s refusal to give it the green light.

Included in the complaint filed by Relevent are concerns about the USSF’s relationship with MLS-owned Soccer United Marketing (SUM). These concerns are similar to those that have been raised in the antitrust lawsuit filed by the North American Soccer League (NASL) against the USSF.

In the complaint, Relevent outlines what it sees as conflicts of interest between the USSF and MLS/SUM, as a motivation for the USSF not sanctioning the Ecuadorian League match. Relevent also reveals in its complaint that it has paid the federation over $19m (€17m) in sanctioning and gate receipts fees to the federation over the past six years.

“In refusing to sanction Relevent’s application, USSF has thus elevated the economic interest of a select group of its members over its statutorily mandated purpose,” the complaint states.

The USSF is also the subject of a gender discrimination lawsuit filed by the US Women’s National Team (USWNT) in March this year. 28 members of the current women’s squad accused the organisation of ‘institutionalised gender discrimination’ and called for pay parity with their male equivalents.

Relevent, which was also behind plans to bring a regular-season LaLiga match Miami, filed suit Monday against both the USSF and the federation’s Secretary General Dan Flynn.