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Hawaii residents suing USSF over USWNT game cancellation

You're not suing us, pal, we're suing you.

Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

In the wake of the USWNT boycotting their game against Trinidad & Tobago in Honolulu on December 6, there were murmurs that US Soccer might sue Aloha Stadium.

USSF's general counsel, Lisa Levine, sent the Aloha Stadium Authority a letter listing the field's poor condition. Hawaii's attorney general is reviewing the letter.

Meanwhile, two Oahu residents have actually gone forward with their suit, filing a class action against USSF and the stadium authority. Hawaii's Office of Consumer Protection has also opened an investigation. The plaintiffs will have to prove unfair or deceptive business practices by USSF; no doubt if and when US Soccer knew about the field's condition will come into play.

In his public apology, Sunil Gulati admitted that there was no inspection of the field ahead of time. But Aloha Stadium manager Scott Chan says USSF officials did visit the field a few days before the game, so even if there was no field inspection before USSF signed off on a contract to hold the game in Honolulu, at least they were aware of its conditions in advance of the USWNT seeing the field for the first time on Saturday, the day before the game, and accepted those conditions as adequate.

The plaintiffs may point to the lack of inspection (plus inspections for the other nine venues) as proof that USSF did not do its due diligence in ensuring the game in Honolulu would go ahead as planned. One assumes a defense of "we assumed the USWNT would swallow their complaints and play on any old rubbish surface like they have until now" may not play well in court, or at least the court of public opinion.

Though US Soccer is refunding all tickets, a demonstration of unfair or deceptive trade practices would entitle defendants to treble damages, which would be quite a reversal of finances for US Soccer considering the Hawaii Tourism Board was paying them $200,000 for the game.