Does U.S. Soccer’s League Set-up Violate FIFA Rules?

A very balanced must read piece by Terence D. Brennan (give him a well deserved follow on Twitter HERE) on the legal issues surrounding the current set up of the professional league system in the United States.

The vast majority of countries operate their soccer leagues through promotion and relegation. This means that the leagues are stratified, and clubs can rise to higher leagues or fall to lower ones based on their results. Each spring, it makes for an exciting scene, as teams at the bottom of the standings fight to avoid the drop and teams at the top fight for passage into a higher division.
This system is not a mere gimmick. Indeed, FIFA has enshrined promotion and relegation in its rules. That is, FIFA statutes mandate that “entitlement to take part in a domestic championship shall” be determined by promotion or relegation based on “sporting merit.” And soccer’s world body has defended the concept with vigor, lauding it as the “very essence of football.”


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