USL Situation (UPDATED WEDNESDAY AM)
Some interesting reporting from our partner site, Inside Minnesota Soccer. I encourage everyone to check out this piece by Brian Quarstad.
OCTOBER 7th PM
WEDNESDAY OCTOBER 7TH AM
I have been told be a source close to the situation that despite having the USSF, TOA, MLS and USL all meeting together, a solution is not at hand and may not be achieved this week.
One scenario that could unfold is the TOA forming the breakaway league with a few more clubs who are in the middle right now, and still maintaining affiliation with USL, in an arrangement similar to how the Premier League in England still works as part of the FA and with the Football League, even though the EPL was formed by 22 clubs resigning from the Football League and setting up shop on their own.
TV contracts and marketing of the new league would be handled by the TOA, while they would maintain an association with USL. Given Traffic Sports, the owner of Miami FC’s extensive TV rights dealings with different networks including ESPN, and others, a potential breakaway league in big markets could find itself with good TV exposure. Working with the rest of the USL structure would also give the new league a legitimacy it may otherwise lack with some fans.
This solution is by no means the most possible, but is an interesting new possibility.
The original posts after the jump
Brian’s piece matches what I have learned about the breakdown in relationship between the TOA and USL’s front office in Tampa.
The breakaway league that now is likely to be pursued by Minnesota, Miami and Carolina would need to be approved by the USSF and FIFA. These approval processes could take anywhere from a month to several months, leaving the three clubs affected and its potential allies in other markets in the limbo for the start of the 2010 American calender season.
However, if the new league seeks to adhere to the international calendar, and begin play after the 2010 World Cup, the three affected clubs, in fact have plenty of time to try and put this new organization together and receive the requisite approvals.
As Brian Quarstad reported Sunday, and I can confirm Vancouver, the reigning USL First Division Champion, who knocked out Portland last night in quest of a second title will be joining the TOA in a potential breakaway league. Vancouver, I can confirm has not renewed for next season and will take their cue from the TOA as to the next step. Expect Whitecaps players to get the same email from Tim Holt that the Carolina, Miami and Minnesota players did, at the conclusion of the USL First Division Championship Series.
Montreal, the other finalist this year has yet to renew with USL for next season, but still may do so independently of the TOA per a well placed source. It is also possible that Montreal will stick with the TOA whether it is within USL or a “breakaway” league.
As reported by Brian Quarstad this morning and confirmed by email to me this evening upon my arrival in India (where I will be for the next two weeks- this however will not prevent me from reporting on the story, as I am fully online and able to call any source easily from here), the leaders of the TOA have been meeting with the USSF this week. It can also be confirmed that USL’s leadership has spoken to the USSF, and that the Federation is now very much involved in trying to resolve the dispute one way or another. Tim Holt has, I am told recently met with Sunil Gulati about the situation.
Brian also got a copy got a copy of the letter from USL to the players. See it here.
We are told that all the parties will meet together with the USSF and a representative from MLS present as well. This meeting should have taken place today, and very well may have: we could see more on Wednesday from all parties.
We can also report that additional PDL clubs are now positioning themselves for possible alignment with the TOA, depending on this weeks developments with the USSF. So any assumption that the only clubs that are unahppy with the current structure of USL have already been accounted for publicily is incorrect.