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Volume 25 No. 172
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Cosmos Owner Dangles $500M For U.S. Soccer In Effort To Revive NASL

Commisso said he is seeking the same sort of leeway or dispensation that MLS enjoyed in its early years
Photo: GETTY IMAGES

NASL club N.Y. Cosmos Owner Rocco Commisso, currently embroiled in litigation against U.S. Soccer, is trying to bring the governing body "back to the negotiating table” with the promise of overseeing an investment of at least $500M in American pro soccer, according to Brian Straus of SI.com. Half of the funding would "come from Commisso himself.” Commisso on April 13 sent a letter to USSF President Carlos Cordeiro, the USSF BOD, FIFA President Gianni Infantino, CONCACAF President Victor Montagliani and members of the U.S. Senate, in which he wrote he would put together a $500M plan that would “allow new as well as selecting existing clubs to effectively compete at the highest level,” perhaps in competition with MLS. Commisso wrote he wants “written assurances” that the USSF will give a "sufficiently long runway to allow this new initiative to have a realistic chance to succeed." That means “no sanctioning issues, standards or roadblocks for at least a decade.” Commisso said that he is “seeking only the same sort of leeway or dispensation that MLS enjoyed in its early years.” He envisions a 10-team league “launching next year in stadiums seating at least 10,000 fans.” The $500M would likely “include contributions” from Miami FC co-Owner Riccardo Silva and Jacksonville Armada Owner Robert Palmer. Commisso said that his “ultimate goal ... would be to secure a TV-rights deal" for a new league. He noted that he “needs room to pursue that TV deal and a laissez-faire commitment” from the USSF soon so a '19 season can take place. Commisso is “frustrated by the fact that Cordeiro hasn’t agreed to meet in person” (SI.com, 4/30).

NO SURE THING: The GUARDIAN’s Graham Parker wrote Commisso’s letters “contain the mix of grandstanding and polemic" that has marked his arrival onto the U.S. soccer stage, as well as his "criticisms of what he sees as the ‘intertwining’ of U.S. soccer and MLS and their joint marketing venture Soccer United Marketing” (THEGUARDIAN.com, 4/30).

TWITTER REAX: Soccer writer Beau Dure: "Here's where we stand on pro/rel/NASL/etc. ... A. We need a serious discussion about an open pyramid. B. The Commisso letter isn't going to start it." World Soccer Talk: "Commisso makes several convincing arguments about what's wrong with the state of US soccer, but will #USSF be open to change (and much-needed investment)?" UCLA law professor Steven Bank: "One aspect that caught my eye is the anti-poaching proposal." Cosmos COO Erik Stover: "Don't lose the forest for the trees. Is it in US Soccer's best interest to have more teams & greater investment? Did Commisso/Silva/Palmer commit to fixing NASL in 2017? And now? The mission of USSF is to grow the game. Nitpicking the letters/ interviews ignores the basic premise." Hockey writer Mitchell Beck: "I stand w/ #NYCosmos owner #RoccoCommisso on his views of US soccer. His words are BOLD & gutsy. The response from #USSoccer was shameful & embarrassing."