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NASL publishes letter of concern about USSF Presidential election

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A soccer warz twist on the election

Soccer: Carolina Railhawks at New York Cosmos Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

North American Soccer League Comissioner Rishi Sehgal has published a letter the organization sent to U.S. Soccer Federation CEO Dan Flynn about concerns they have about the USSF Pro Council and upcoming federation presidential election.

The letter is broken into two parts. The first details the league’s concerns about how MLS has proposed that the federation Professional Council will assign delegates. Currently, the federation is waiting to determine how to allocate council delegate percentages for the 2018 Annual USSF General Meeting, however, MLS has suggested the following breakdown:

MLS gets 57.14% of the delegates, NWSL gets %18.05, USL has 20.3% while NASL gets 4.51%.

NASL states that this is an unfair division that misinterprets USSF bylaws. The letter also asserted that all leagues should get 25%, pointing out that the National Women’s Soccer League should get an equal share of the 16 delegates as it is also a first division league like MLS. According to NASL, the MLS proposal bases the delegate percentages on criteria that are favorable to the league and does not follow the bylaws of the USSF. The letter cites a bylaw that states:

The number of delegates voting within a Council shall be proportional among its Organization Members based on the following: [i]n the Processional COuncil, the number of delegates for each Professional League shall be based on the level of competitive division among the Professional Leagues. USSF Bylaw 302(2)(b) then provides the USSF Board with resolving any disputes concerning only “the number of delegates.”

Sehgal also mentions that the league has requested Steve Malik, the owner of the NC Courage and North Carolina FC, be removed from the pro council. Malik is also bidding to have NCFC join MLS, the club left NASL for USL after the 2017 season.

In addition to the discussion about pro council delegates, the letter also discusses concerns the league has with the USSF Presidential election. After Grant Wahl reported that Sunil Gulati and Don Garber had been campaigning for Kathy Carter, NASL is requesting that a neutral third party oversee the election due to conflicts of interest between Gulati, Garber, and Carter.

Specifically, Sehgal notes that he thinks Carter has an unfair advantage in the election. His letter expresses concern that “Messrs. Garber and Gulati are privy to information regarding which Organization Members submitted declarations of support for candidates and to which candidates those declarations of support have been directed.”

Sehgal joins Kyle Martino in questioning the legitimacy of Garber and Gulati’s role in the election. After the original Sports Illustrated report broke, the candidate issued a statement pointing out that Gulati and Garber campaigning for Carter while sitting on the USSF governance committee is unethical.

Transparency and openness has been a theme that has emerged in the election. With a $140 million plus surplus that the federation has, the stakes are obvious. The issue also shows that the “soccer warz” conflict will be one that isn’t going away anytime soon and something that the next federation president will have to deal with.