Putting Your Cards on the Table

We’re about an hour away from New York Cosmos owner Rocco Commisso’s conference call, where he will address the anti-trust suit, the New York state suit, the Cosmos’ future and the USSF election, among other things.

Rocco has held court with the press a few times, as far back as January 2017 after he bought the team. They never lack for interest; in one such call he accused one of the USSF board members of sleeping through part of NASL Division 2 presentation. This call promises to raise the stakes, in light of the recent Court ruling affirming the District Court’s decision which denied NASL’s request for an injunction.

So what should we make of this conference call? First, I think it’s extremely unlikely that Rocco decides to fold and dismiss this matter. Based on everything he’s said up to this point, there is simply no reason to believe he’ll walk away now. Now, it’s possible two major losses which have resulted in NASL cancelling the 2018 season have caused him to have a change of heart, but the seems unlikely. I’d put the chances of an outright dismissal and walking away about about: 1%, only because I don’t believe in 0% chances as a philosophy.

It’s possible he decides to settle this matter. After all, these cases aren’t going to get any cheaper. I actually think it is possible that cooler heads prevail and that something gets done. But not at this point. We’re only a week out from the ruling, and the NASL is still likely deciding how they want to proceed. Plus, there may still be some hurt feelings from the last alleged settlement attempt that fell apart. Plus, there likely hasn’t been enough time to negotiate anything given what has occurred over the last week or so. So maybe in a month, we can revisit this, but for now: 5% chance of announcing a settlement.

So maybe he decides to soften the rhetoric and extend an olive branch, while keeping his options open. There’s nothing like a good humbling to focus the mind. The NASL has lost two major hearings, its teams are scatted, and the league is on the brink. While there have been morsels from the Court for NASL to chew on, that’s not much of a meal. Additionally, Miami FC, one of the other three protagonists in this tale, has at least expressed publicly a willingness to work with new USSF President Carlos Cordeiro. If there is any hope of a settlement, at some point Rocco will have to dial back the rhetoric; maybe stop implying that people will go to jail. I’m an optimist, so I’d put the chances of this at about: 24%, because hope springs eternal.

For the pessimists out there, don’t fret. The overwhelmingly likely outcome of this conference call is a Festivus-like “airing of grievances.” Let’s not forget: Rocco hasn’t officially commented since the ruling denying the injunction came down. He’ll certainly have something to say about that. Additionally, the news of NASL cancelling the season is still only a few days old, and is undoubtedly still raw. So we may still only be in the anger stage right now. Again, given Rocco’s reported personality and previous statements, it’s hard to see anything other than a tour-de-force against the USSF, MLS, SUM and anyone else unlucky enough to be in earshot. I still don’t see any reason why the lawsuits don’t proceed apace while they explore other options for the NASL and the Cosmos, so let’s give this a 50% chance of happening.

This promises to be a very interesting (potentially pivotal) conference call. So stay tuned.

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