Under new leadership, USSF settles 1st of 4 lawsuits

CHICAGO (AP) — The U.S. Soccer Federation under new president Cindy Parlow Cone settled the first of several long-running lawsuits.

The USSF and the U.S. Soccer Foundation reached an agreement that ended a lawsuit filed by the charitable organization in December 2018.

Established in 1991 to receive the surplus from the 1994 World Cup in the U.S., the foundation has awarded more than $100 million to grow the sport. The USSF in 2018 demanded the foundation stop using the trademarks the foundation had employed since at least 1996. The USSF had previously allowed the foundation to use trademarks owned by the USSF.

The foundation sued in U.S. District Court in the District of Columbia, seeking a declaratory judgment that the foundation has the trademark rights, and an injunction against the USSF from claiming the foundation infringed on its rights and preventing the USSF from using the trademarks. The foundation asked the court to either cancel the trademarks or switch their registration to the foundation.

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The sides filed a joint stipulation on Friday for the case to be dismissed with prejudice, meaning it cannot be refiled.

“We have come to an agreement that we believe is in the best interest for the sport in the United States,” the sides said in a joint statement that did not reveal details of the settlement. “As we move forward, the U.S. Soccer Federation and the U.S. Soccer Foundation will work together to provide access and opportunities for all soccer players across the country, particularly those in low-income communities and others in need.”

The USSF also has been sued by American women’s soccer players, claiming discrimination in pay and working conditions. A federal judge in California would not let their pay claims go to trial, and lawyers for the women asked the trial on working conditions be put on hold until after the pay decision is reviewed by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

The North American Soccer League filed an antitrust suit against the USSF in September 2017 after the federation revoked its provisional second-tier status.

Since Parlow Cone replaced Carlos Cordeiro as president, the USSF changed its lawyers in the women’s case and folded its youth Development Academy, allowing Major League Soccer to fill the void.

In another case, the promoter Relevant Sports filed an antitrust suit over the governing body’s refusal to sanction international league matches in the U.S. The USSF says FIFA rules do not allow it to sanction foreign league matches in the U.S.

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