Wagman article

Discussion in 'Business and Media' started by MetroDug, Aug 11, 2002.

  1. MetroDug

    MetroDug Member

    May 4, 1999
    New York, NY USA
  2. Raj

    Raj New Member

    Oct 3, 1999
    East Kilbride, Scotl
    Interesting article.
    However, not certain what he means by this quote.

    (That case is beginning to wind its way through the courts. Should U.S. Soccer lose, and have its right to sanction international matches declared in violation of anti-trust laws, the ruling might have a worldwide ripple effect because of a U.S. pact with the European Union in which both entities recognize each other's court decisions. That would call into question the entire oversight of soccer by FIFA and by national federations. )

    The US & EU have ofen taken totally different directions when it comes to commerce & trade regulation
    e.g. Kyoto, steel tariffs, farm subsidies etc , etc.

    In my opinion, even if the US courts ruled that US Soccer had no rights in this matter; they would still have defacto rights as the clubs involved are governed by the rules of FIFA in their own countries.

    e.g Let's say AC Milan wants to play Lazio in New York but US Soccer refuses to sanction the match.
    Clearly the game could lgally go ahead. But by doing this the clubs would be taking part in a non FIFA sanctioned event and could thus be liable for fines and suspensions from FIFA.
  3. luvdagame

    luvdagame Member+

    Jul 6, 2000
    doesn't u.s. law recognize the "monoply" power of international bodies like the olympics and fifa? there may be rare exceptions, but without this recognition by individual countries, these organizations would not survive.

    i agree with raj. if fifa says u.s. soccer has the power to sanction, even if the courts say no, those who go against the sanction of ussf will be heavily fined and maybe banned by fifa.

    it may not be as simple as i am describing it, but ussf, and through them, mls, and sum will be fine.
  4. Stan Collins

    Stan Collins Member+

    Feb 26, 1999
    Silver Spring, MD
    The quickest way to answer that is that the US does recognize the rights of these organizations, but with stipulations. One of those being that the body must comply with the 1974(IIRC) Amateur Sports Act.

    But it is also true that, as has been said before, it is very awkward to sue a non-profit for antitrust. The default assumption with a non-profit will always be that the organization is enforcing rules becuase it is in the best interests of the game it was created and legally endowed to regulate.
  5. jmeissen0

    jmeissen0 New Member

    Mar 31, 2001
    page 1078
    who cares?

    wagman is an idiot, don't read him
  6. M

    M Member+

    Feb 18, 2000
    Via Ventisette
    I've always assumed that the Coliseum folks will win their case - and then find out that their win is essentially meaningless. Any Mexican team playing in LA in an unsanctioned game is going to get penalised by the Mexican federation and its players potentially banned from FIFA-sanctioned events - all well beyond the reach of American courts.

    MLSNHTOWN Member+

    Oct 27, 1999
    Houston, TX
    E Tu Stillatano?


    Well, the charity match draws 70K. Although this article is pure speculation he brings up some interesting legal points that as a lawyer I have always worried about with regards to USSF and their ability to sanction matches. I don't know about this it is illegal in the US so it is illegal in Europe thing that he is talking about.

    However, for Wagman, I thought it was an interesting article.
  8. tcmahoney

    tcmahoney New Member

    Feb 14, 1999
    Merged with existing thread.

    MLSNHTOWN Member+

    Oct 27, 1999
    Houston, TX
    Disclaimer: This post is entirely legal guesswork based on what I read

    With regards to your question, FIFA gives solely the exclusive right to sanction matches in this country to the USSF. For this they take some minimal fee or percent of gate or whatever. So, if I wanted to host an international soccer event it would have to be FIFA sanctioned in the US for FIFA teams to play in it.

    With regards to the Olympics, in theory if someone wanted to have a Summer Olympics in let's say Houston next year they probably could. The only issue would be with trademarks, i.e. they couldn't use the five interlocking rings etc. But they could at least have the event. I don't think the Olympics has any right to stop it.

    Legally USSF can't block the matches even with the whole sanction issue.(Don't know what line of legal theory they could use) But the Metro's have a contract with NYNJSE to host all international matches at Giants Stadium. Obviously there is a dispute as to whether holding a doubleheader with an MLS game meets the requirements of the contract. I think MLS lost this argument in the preliminary injunction phase. As a result, because the Metros failed to meet their requisite number of international matches required under contract, the contract was breached, so NYNJSEA was free to bring in whomever they wanted.

    The most FIFA/USSF can do is 1. No FIFA/USSF referees 2. I think FIFA has the power to fine teams or players if they choose to do non-sanctioned events. I haven't really seen it used that often if ever.

    If there was a non-Fifa sanctioned league, I think they could also block transfers, etc.

    Since it was a charity match USSF sanctioned it. It will be interesting to see if they try it again, whether USSF will sanction it or not. Living here in Houston there are a lot of matches held at Robertson stadium. All sanctioned by USSF from my understanding. Mostly all involving Mexican teams.

    Side note, sorry I missed the previous thread.
  10. owendylan

    owendylan Member

    May 30, 2001
    DC United
    From my readings I have a few discrepancies. The USSF sanctions these matches on behalf of FIFA since the USSF is the sanctioning and governing body for soccer in this country. The USSF can block the matches by not sanctioning them because the penalty to the players and teams of playing in a non-sanctioned match can be harsh. While it's not a legal reason it is reality. But I do think the USSF has a leg to stand on in through the Amateur sports act. this wil have no bearing on the Metros lawsuit because that one is a breach of contract issue. However I think it will have an effect on the lawsuit brought by the Coliseum.
    Here is a relevant statute from FIFA's website

    "4 Members of the Federation may not play matches on the territory of
    another national association without the consent of the latter."

    So if a team is in a league that is sanctioned by that country's Soccer association and they want to play a game in country X, country X's national association has to give permission for the game to take place.

    Here is more
    III. Interclub and interleague matches
    Art. 9
    1 No interclub or interleague matches between teams from different national associations shall be played without the express authorisation of the national associations concerned. The national associations shall include a provision in their regulations stipulating at what point of time
    the clubs are required to seek authorisation and, in addition, the sanctions to be imposed if this rule is breached.
    2 A national association shall inform the national associations concerned of every match which it knows has been arranged and played in
    their area of jurisdiction and for which permission was either not sought or given.

    While technically the game could go on, realistically the teams and players could find themselves banned from not only their own league but from every affiloated league in the world and from their respective national team, a pretty heavy blow.

    The issue with the Metros and NJSEA is a breach of contract and has nothing to do with the sanctioning of the games. It is possible that the USSF won't sanction any games that aren't staged by the MetroStars organization. This would definitely complicate matters and this is where MLS and the USSF need to be careful so that one can't claim collusion.

    As for non-sanctioned leagues, this almost happened here in the states. I can't remember if it was when the NASL first began but there was a league here that wanted to form but the USSf wouldn't sanction them. They were all prepared to go it alone until FIFA said that without sanctioning the league would be declared a rogue league and player playing in it would be banned from any affiliated league worldwide and from their national team. That quickly put an end to that idea.

    The reason you haven't seen FIFA fine anyone for particiapting in non-sactioned events is that no one is participating in non-sanctioned events because the consequences are pretty high. If the USSF sanctioning power is deemed null and void by the US courts FIFA still has a huge amount of power worldwide and won't be afraid to use it to keep teams in line.
  11. billf

    billf Member+

    May 22, 2001
    Philadelphia Union
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I'm pretty sure there would be a severe penaty imposed by Fifa to clubs, players, and referees that take part in a non-sanctioned match. As far as players are concerned, they could technically, I believe, be barred from Fifa competitions. I remember when the whole WUSA/WMLS thing was coming to a head, the players decided to go with WUSA even if WMLS was sanctioned as the D1 women's league. If that were to happen, WUSA would have been an outlaw league in the eyes of Fifa, and the players inelligible to compete for their women's national team.

    To an extent, this is apples and oranges, but it shows the power Fifa has over member organizations. As a member of Fifa, the USSF is bound to uphold those rules and so are the rest of the national associations.

    Even if the USSF lost the Coliseum lawsuit, the FMF and other national associations would/could simply not give permission to travel to the clubs attepting to compete in a non-sanctioned match on US soil. The USSF may be pwerless to stop a match, but Fifa and the rest of the world's national associations are outside the reach of US law. How would a US court force the FMF to allow a MFL team to travel? How could a US court punish Fifa?
  12. Minnman

    Minnman Member+

    Feb 11, 2000
    Columbus, OH, USA
    Columbus Crew
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I tend to agree with this conclusion.

    I mean, what basis does he have for saying:

    "The outcome could hugely affect MLS, and could even determine how soccer at the professional level is managed here and around the world."

    To steal a Wagman-ism, "it seems to me..." that this is an instance where a soccer event in the US actually exceeded its expecations. This is bad news? No, it's good news. Sure, there may be some legalistic battles over who gets to market these events. So what? I'm a fan, don't bore me with this garbage.

    First off, kudos to ChampionsWorld (and, frankly, I've had just about enough of this squishing together or words for silly marketting purposes; Champions World, two words, what's wrong with that?) for pulling off a terrific event. But surely Wagman isn't arguing that the 70,000 that showed up at Giant's Stadium represents what soccer in American could be with better marketting. This 70K was a quirk; it's what happens when you get two great, big-name teams, with their big-name stars who play in a soccer-savvy mega-market like NYC. No one could seriously argue that this could be replicated on a regular basis. And if it's a once or twice a year phenomenon, well, how could it "hugely effect" much of anything?

    "It would be hard to imagine the U.S. soccer market being big enough for two such powerful promoters." (The two being SUM and ChampionsWorld.)

    What the hell is he talking about? ChampionsWorld promotes ONE match and its "powerful." Unless I'm mistaken, ChampionsWorld has shown the ability to wonderfully market certain high-profile (i.e., rare) soccer matches in NYC. SUM bought the English language TV rights to three World Cups. Which is bigger?

    I suppose that this could turn into a battle royale for US soccer, but I can't help but feel that Robert Wagman just needed something to write about.
  13. monster

    monster Member

    Oct 19, 1999
    Hanover, PA
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Belatedly moved to links and articles forum
  14. Stan Collins

    Stan Collins Member+

    Feb 26, 1999
    Silver Spring, MD
    Why is it good news that Real Madrid draws here? Is Real Madrid going to move here any time soon. Did any soccer that has any commitment to the United States benefit from this match in any way?

    I can indentify two realistic possibilites as to the effect this has on MLS/USSF.

    One, this type of match draws a completely different audience and has no real effect.

    Two, some of the people at that game will now be spending $40 less on MLS/USSF. Or worse, they could turn off of the MetroStars because they aren't Real Madrid.
    It's true that Wagman didn't quite spell out what he was getting at, but you should have been able to draw the inference. He's saying that if a couple of glamor friendlies a year can make more money than a year's worth of MLS play, that doesn't exactly put MLS in a great position, *unless* USSF can use the power of the sanction to assure that the only matches played are those beneficial to it. If the future is carpetbagging Euro clubs, then that's not a future Wagman particularly craves.

    It can't be copyrighted that way.
    That's precisely Wagman's point.

    "It would be hard to imagine the U.S. soccer market being big enough for two such powerful promoters." (The two being SUM and ChampionsWorld.)

    ChampionsWorld has operated in the US for 10 years and promoted quite a few events.

    Which is bigger?

    Let me put the metaphor this way. Imagine you're selling baloney sandwiches in the park. You've been selling them for a few weeks, doing what you can, treading water. Now, in the same park, a new stand is opened, selling slushies. That stand has 'em lined up around the corner. One of two things will happen to your business:

    1) Nothing. The people who wanted baloney will buy it, and then buy or not buy slushies.
    2) People will come, buy a slushy, and then not be hungry for baloney because they've already eaten desert.

    Now imagine your revenue was going back into the park in some way and the slushy revenue isn't. Do we have a problem? Maybe, maybe not. But he ain't helpin.

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