November 16, 2001

Lawsuit Charges U.S. Soccer Federation and Major Soccer with Conspiracy to Deprive L.A. Soccer Fans of World-Class Matches

Los Angeles - Los Angeles soccer fans are being deprived of access to worldclass, international professional soccer matches by practices called "anti-competitive," "arbitrary and discriminatory" in a lawsuit filed by the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum Commission against the United States Soccer Federation (USSF) and Major League Soccer (MLS).

Coliseum Commission president Lisa Specht and Pat Lynch of the Coliseum.

The complaint alleges that USSF and MLS have conspired to prevent professional soccer matches which compete with those of the MLS teams or USSF-sponsored matches. Using its position as the purported sanctioning body for all professional soccer matches held in the United States, USSF has adopted and enforces black-out dates during which it won't approve professional matches of non-MLS teams. When it does approve a non-MLS match, it requires the payment of substantial fees as a condition of approval. The anti-competitive rules are used to prevent professional soccer from being played in the Coliseum and elsewhere, according to the complaint.

Coliseum Commission president Lisa Specht said, "We hope that the voices of soccer fans throughout the Los Angeles region will be heard by the USSF and that they will stop interfering with the public's right to enjoy international professional soccer matches at the Los Angeles Coliseum."

The Commission is represented by Marshall B. Grossman and Yakub Hazzard of the Los Angeles law firm Alschuler Grossman Stein & Kahan LLP. According to Grossman, "It is the right of the Coliseum to present and of the public to attend professional soccer matches between the leading national teams from Mexico, Central America, South America and elsewhere. This lawsuit is intended to bring an end to the protection long provided by the USSF to MLS and the teams which it owns."

The lawsuit seeks damages and an injunction to put a stop to the anti-competitive practices of USSF and MLS. In addition, the Commission seeks a declaration that USSF has no jurisdiction over the scheduling and presentation of professional soccer matches.

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