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NASL denied injunction to regain Division 2 status, future now seriously in doubt

Unclear what will become of Southern California expansion teams.

Soccer: NASL Final-Indy Eleven at New York Cosmos Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports

NASL lost their bid for an injunction against U.S. Soccer which would have restored the league’s Division 2 status, according to the decision released by Judge Margo K. Brodie on Saturday morning.

NASL argued in a lawsuit filed against USSF that not restoring their Division 2 status after rejecting the continued sanctioning of the league in D2 for 2018 would do “irreparable harm” to the league and would basically put them out of business.

NASL also argued there is a conspiracy between MLS and USSF, and that USSF changed the professional league standards, to harm the NASL.

However, Judge Brodie said NASL had not definitively proven that they deserve injunctive relief, a standard above the allegation of conspiracy and antitrust behavior. The result is that the lawsuit itself can proceed, but the initial measure sought by the NASL, to approve an injunction to force USSF to sanction the league as Division 2 as long as the lawsuit is working its way through the system, was rejected.

NASL issued a statement about the ruling.

The statement basically says NASL are disappointed in the ruling but will appeal and are committed to continuing their antitrust lawsuit against U.S. Soccer.

U.S. Soccer also issued a statement about Saturday’s ruling:

So what does this mean going forward? That part is unclear. NASL is going to continue with its lawsuit, but this is a bad first blow for them.

With the loss of their 2nd Division status, and with one team, North Carolina FC set to join the USL, and another team the San Francisco Deltas where there are many reports that the team will dissolve, NASL is not in a good spot at the moment. The league could proceed as a Division 3 league, it could fold or go on hiatus, it could merge with a proposed start-up league, the NISA. For now, it’s all unclear. And that, of course, goes for the two Southern California expansion teams for 2018, California United FC and 1904 FC. Neither team has released a statement about Saturday’s decision as of publication.

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