Monday Musings: So Many Questions in the NASL v. USSF lawsuit(s)

No, this won’t be a weekly feature (at least I don’t think it will), but with some time having passed since New York Cosmos owner Rocco Commisso’s remarkable conference call, and with some time before we get more substantive documents in the various lawsuits, I figured I’d ask some rhetorical questions that I’d love answers to.

1) About those settlement talks:

It was widely reported, and confirmed by Commisso, that settlement talks occurred before breaking down. Commisso wouldn’t divulge the contents of those discussions, only saying he was “unhappy” with how those discussions ultimately came out. Commisso isn’t likely to discuss what the outlines of those proposals were (confidentiality and all), but I’d love to know if at any point they thought they were close to an agreement. There were some reports of a bait-and-switch by USSF. Was that true? Going forward, does Commisso see any chance of reengagement, given his comments?

2) Extreme Sanctioning, USL Edition:

Commisso has been extremely critical about USSF’s treatment of USL in contrast to what he believes was essentially a snap-decision by the USSF board to de-sanction NASL, without giving them a chance to cure the defects in their application. It’s absolutely true that USSF gave NASL no chance to cure any issues with their application, while ultimately extending USL’s deadline until 2018 to make changes to their application. What has been left unanswered is what steps NASL took to comply with the 2017 provisional sanctioning, as outlined in the letter sent to NASL when they were granted that designation. Also, have Commisso or NASL ever gotten a look at MLS/USL/NWSL applications for divisional sanctioning? Will that be a part of their discovery request? I imagine it would be.

3) Walking away:

I previously expressed confusion over the revelation that NASL teams were apparently able leave the league in 2017, so long as they gave notice. Commissio subsequently confirmed that in his widely discussed conference call. Aside from REALLY wanting to read that document, here is something that is…let’s call it interesting. Rocco stated in his conference call that the deadline for those teams wanting to withdraw with no penalty was September 1. So who was/were the parties who pushed for that language? When was that document executed? Did Gulati and the rest of the Board know about that provision? If so, who told them? And isn’t it a little odd that USSF made their sanctioning decision on September 1? But maybe that last bit is just a coincidence.

4) SUM additional questions:

Without belaboring the issues that Rocco and NASL generally have with Soccer United Marketing, Rocco raised a few interesting issues which I’d love to know more about. For example, Rocco indicated that SUM generates about $50 million per year, with USSF getting between $20-$25 million. Has he seen any of the SUM/USSF/MLS agreements? What analysis did he use to come to those figures if not? Speaking of agreements, Commisso mildly criticized Riccardo Silva for his $4 billion offer to MLS. What concerns did he have about that offer, and did he express those to Silva? Finally, does he expect to get a look at that SUM agreement through the discovery process? And on that note…

5) Discovery channels:

Many fans of the NASL (or simply those who want to see reforms to the USSF) are holding out hope that once Commisso and the NASL get a look at the SUM/USSF/MLS agreement, and other documents generally, that will provide leverage to force a settlement. First, does Commisso agree? Is he worried that the court will limit the scope of discovery such that certain things will be off limits? What kinds of additional documents outside of the SUM agreement would Commisso like to look at?

6) We have a breach (of fiduciary duty):

Rocco and the NASL’s New York State lawsuit alleging a breach of fiduciary duty by the board lists a number of incendiary allegations. Essentially, they argue that the board were at best negligent in their duties, and possibly corrupt. Does Rocco believe that all of the board members were equally complicit? Were some acting under the orders of others? Is he looking to the discovery process to corroborate these claims? Does he already have independent information to verify some of these allegations?

Of course, I’m not expecting to get answers to all/any of these questions, but I’ll have the ability to possibly ask a few of them as I’ll be on with the Cosmos owner tonight at 5:00 p.m. Pacific with Feuerstein’s Fire, along with Kartik Krishnaiyer, Neil Morris and host Daniel Feuerstein. Should be a great discussion. Tune in!

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