Whitecaps, USL-1 Take Dispute To The Brink

October 29, 2009 at 5:17 am | Posted in Whitecaps Season 2009 | 5 Comments

Negotiations between Several USL-1 teams and the United Soccer Leagues have come to a crisis point.

USL used to be owned by NIKE.  NIKE recently sold the League to an Atlanta outfit known as NuRock.  The team owners had looked to buy the USL from NIKE but NuRock swooped in and bought the league from under the noses of the team owners. The team owners were not pleased. Some, including the Montreal Impact and the Vancouver Whitecaps, formed the team owners association (TOA) as a group to negotiate with the USL.

Today the USL announced that negotiations with the TOA were over.  No deal had been made.  The League later released a press release claiming that it was still open to having the Whitecaps and the Impact play in the USL-1 next season.   This would appear to open the door to more negotiations, or might represent a last-ditch attempt to have the Whitecaps and the other owners accept the USL’s terms in their entirety.   The parties appear to have stepped to the brink, but have now stepped back somewhat.

The Whitecaps have released a statement to their fans saying the Whitecaps will be involved in “league play” next year, but don’t say which league.   It appears as though the TOA will begin the process of setting up a parallel league in case negotiations fall through completely with USL.

The Whitecaps should not give in to the USL on terms that are unacceptable.   In my view, however,  it would be sad to not see the USL split up by this dispute.  The standard of play in the USL has gone up considerably in the last 5 years and the league is now very competitive.  If the TOA want to set up their own league, they should ensure that it is of high quality.   I don’t want to go back to the days of watching inferior teams as we used to with some of the teams in the old A-League.  Lets hope the USL and the TOA can step back from the brink and negotiate a deal which is good for all, especially for the sport itself. The game is bigger than all of this.



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  1. This is such a shit situation. Of the TOA group, I’m not excited about any teams other than Montreal, and most of them are in the south. IF Vancouver doesn’t play in the USL next year, they may end up playing in a shortened league (TOA-administered) with 6-8 teams, hardly the best warm-up for the MLS season.

    NuRock are a property development group that owns a sport subsidiary that owns a development team, not even a USL team. Why would Nike do this? Where is their commitment to sport? I would urge the ‘Caps, if they don’t reconcile with the USL, to drop Umbro as a shirt manufacturer and make it clear that it’s because of Nike’s actions on this (Nike own Umbro).

  2. Well, I have already paid for my two season tickets for 2010. No league or certainly not the league I expected is not very sound business wise. MLS in 2011 is great but I have paid for something in advance that will quite likely not match what my commitment was for. What is the Clubs plans here moving forward I wonder?

  3. On top of the uncertainty for next year I received a call from my ticket rep yesterday demanding my 2010 season ticket payment. Apparently the Whitecaps feel that if you haven’t paid them yet for 2010 you can’t keep your 2011 season ticket holds. They have conveniantly forgotten about the $200 of my money they are holding for 2011. Way to GO WHITECAPS, fantastic plan you have devised. League uncertainty next year and on the same day demand season ticket money. At any rate the Whitecaps will be getting my sesaon ticket money for 2010 when I’m ready to give it to them, not when they demand it. If that is not good enough I have gone to my last Whitecaps game.

    • There’s no league uncertainty…they’re either going to play the same teams from last year in a new league, or they’ll play the same teams from last year in the old league. Really, how many players from USL-1 can you actually name? Can you even recite ALL of the team names? This is a molehill, not a mountain.

      Go Whitecaps!

      • That’s not true at all, SUPER. They may only play seven other teams from last year if the TOA teams split. And that is a low number for a league. Maybe they would maintain a relationship with USL and play some inter-league games.

        Personally I think they’ll maintain the status quo, after some hostilities in the media and then kiss and make up.

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