The heads of two pioneering US soccer clubs say that they are proud to have raised the issue of relegation and promotion in the United States at the highest level after the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) ruled against them in a judgement based in part on the concept of ‘deference’ to Fifa’s right to interpret its own rules.
In a joint statement, Dennis Crowley (founder of Kingston Stockade FC) and Riccardo Silva (owner of The Miami FC) said:
“Two and a half years after the filing of this case, the CAS arbitral tribunal has finally rendered its decision. The CAS panel found that the wording of Article 9 of the Fifa Regulations could arguably lead one to believe that the rule is universally applicable, and that the system implemented in the United States is not compliant with Article 9.
“However, the tribunal ruled that Fifa has considerable discretion and deference when it comes to the interpretation of its statutes, and concluded that Fifa didn’t intend for the rule to apply to US soccer. We are proud to have raised an issue which has been affecting soccer in the US for many years. We respect the CAS ruling, but we still believe that an open, merit-based system would bring major benefits to the quality of the game, and would create inclusive, competitive and non-discriminatory soccer in the US.”
The US and Australia are the only major countries not to operate promotion and relegation in their football leagues.