FIFA to consider changes to policy blocking league matches from being played in other countries

AP , Tuesday 9 Apr 2024

FIFA said it will consider changes to its policy that blocks league matches from being played in other countries as part of an agreement with a soccer promoter to dismiss the world governing body from a lawsuit challenging that policy.

fifa headquarters zurich
fifa headquarters zurich


Relevent Sports lawyer Jeffrey L. Kessler filed a letter Monday in U.S. District Court in Manhattan stating FIFA and his client agreed to the dismissal. Keller wrote FIFA agreed to abide by any injunction arising from the suit, which also includes the U.S. Soccer Federation as a defendant. The agreement did not alter the suit against the USSF.

“FIFA and Relevent have agreed to resolve this matter as it concerns FIFA, pending FIFA’s consideration of changes to existing FIFA policies with respect to playing official season games outside of a league’s home territory,” FIFA said in a statement. “FIFA has not admitted any liability and continues to deny the legal claims alleged in Relevent’s complaint.”

Relevent, controlled by Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross, announced in August 2018 it planned to host a Spanish league match between Barcelona and Girona at Miami Gardens, Florida, the following January.

In October 2018, FIFA said its ruling council adopted a policy that “emphasized the sporting principle that official league matches must be played within the territory of the respective member association.” Barcelona then withdrew its commitment to play in Florida.

Relevent in 2019 also was refused permission by the USSF to sanction a league match between two teams from Ecuador.

Relevent sued the governing bodies, claiming violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act and tortious interference.

“Bringing official matches from Europe to the U.S. is an exciting proposition but it must be done thoughtfully and collaboratively,” Relevent CEO Daniel Sillman said in a statement. “We look forward to partnering with FIFA to support the global growth of the game and the best leagues in the world.”

Caproni in July 2021 granted the USSF’s motion to dismiss the antitrust claim but the case was reinstated in March 2023 by the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The USSF asked the Supreme Court in August to take the case, and the Biden administration last month said the Supreme Court should let the appellate decision stand.

“FIFA and Relevent Sports have agreed to resolve this matter specific to FIFA while FIFA considers changes to its existing rules about whether games can be played outside of a league’s home territory,” the promoter said in a statement. “Relevent Sports looks forward to supporting FIFA as both sides work to grow the game.”

(For more sports news and updates, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter at @AO_Sports and on Facebook at AhramOnlineSports.)

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