Commisso: USSF Sanctioning Decision ‘Arbitrary and Unfair’

IMAGE, STEVE HAMLIN PHOTOGRAPHY

Cosmos logoThe New York Cosmos owner and chairman Rocco Commisso said he was “shocked” by the United States Soccer Federation‘s decision to not extend the North American Soccer League‘s Division 2 sanctioning for next year.

In a statement released online, Commisso criticized the federation’s move as unfair given the positive steps the NASL has taken since being granted provisional D2 sanctioning earlier in the year. When Commisso’s purchase of the Cosmos was made official around the same time, the media entrepreneur took credit for saving the NASL by forcing the USSF into keeping the league at the D2 level. At the time, Commisso made it clear he was only interested in operating the Cosmos in the NASL as a D2 team.

Now that the Cosmos and NASL’s D2 status are in jeopardy again, Commisso does not seem to have wavered from his public stance. His statement makes no commitment to keeping the Cosmos up and running beyond this year, regardless of what level the league ends up in. Instead Commisso vowed to work toward having the USSF reverse its recent decision.

Commisso’s statement in full:

“Since beginning play at Yankee Stadium in 1971, the New York Cosmos have won a record total of eight professional soccer championships and brought some of the biggest stars in international soccer to the USA including Pele, Franz Beckenbauer, Giorgio Chinaglia, Carlos Alberto, and more recently Raúl and Marcos Senna. Investing millions of dollars to build upon the rich history of America’s most iconic soccer brand was my way of giving back to the game that has given so much to me.

“I invested in the New York Cosmos eight months ago with the expectation that the United States Soccer Federation would allow us to play at the Division 2 level long enough for me to work with the NASL’s leadership to strengthen and grow our league. I am, therefore, shocked by the USSF’s withdrawal of Division 2 sanctioning beyond the 2017 season. That decision is, in my view, completely arbitrary and unfair, particularly since the NASL is making progress in developing and implementing plans to grow the league and enhance its stability.

“I want to assure the Cosmos’ loyal fans, players, employees and sponsors, as well as others with a stake in the team’s continued success that the Cosmos plan to play quality soccer during the remainder of the 2017 season and that I will do everything within my power to reverse the USSF’s decision.”