Will U.S. Soccer Be Forced to Adopt Promotion and Relegation?
28 Journal of Legal Aspects of Sport 3-18 (2018)
22 Pages Posted: 30 Aug 2017 Last revised: 9 Mar 2018
On August 3, 2017, Miami FC of the second division North American Soccer League and Kingston Stockade FC, an amateur side in the National Premier Soccer League, filed a claim with the Court of Arbitration for Sport (“CAS”) in Lausanne, Switzerland in an attempt to force U.S. Soccer to use promotion and relegation. This would require leagues to be organized in a strict pyramid in which the top teams each year are promoted to the next highest division and the bottom teams are relegated to the next lowest division. Their claim is that promotion and relegation, a longstanding feature of the “open” leagues dominant in Europe, but foreign in the “closed” leagues used in the United States, is mandatory under FIFA rules and Swiss law. This Essay evaluates the Request for Arbitration and concludes that there are procedural, substantive, and technical obstacles that make success at CAS unlikely.
Keywords: U.S. soccer, Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), FIFA rules, promotion and relegation, 'open' leagues, 'closed' leagues
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