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Gulati replaced as chairman of North American World Cup bid

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CHICAGO (AP) Organizers of the North American bid to host the 2026 World Cup have reconfigured their leadership group after the election of new U.S. Soccer Federation president.

New USSF President Carlos Cordeiro, Mexican Football Federation President Decio de Maria and Canadian Soccer Association President Steven Reed have become co-chairmen of the bid, Cordeiro said Tuesday.

[ MORE: UCL recap | Klopp reacts ]

Sunil Gulati, who had been the sole chairman, will remain a member of the bid committee’s board. Gulati served as USSF president for 12 years but decided after the U.S. failed to qualify for this year’s World Cup that he would not seek a fourth four-year term.

Morocco is the only other candidate to host the expanded 48-nation tournament in 2026. FIFA’s members are scheduled to vote June 13, the first time the entire membership is choosing a host since 1966, when sites were picked for 1974, 1978 and 1982. The hosts from 1986-2022 were chosen by the roughly two dozen members of the FIFA executive committee.

Cordeiro, U.S. Soccer world react to his election as president

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Pledging unity, new U.S. Soccer president Carlos Cordeiro kept his remarks short and sweet after winning nearly 69 percent of the third vote on Saturday.

[ MORE: How Cordeiro won the vote ]

“I’d like to thank Sunil and our board for their tireless service. Sunil for introducing me to the game 10 or 11 years ago. For those of you who didn’t vote for me, I’m going to work to earn your support and trust over the next four years.”

Others reacted… differently….

NASL launches new suit against U.S. Soccer board

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The North American Soccer League continues to decry corruption from the United States Soccer Federation, putting more pressure on the federation’s establishment ahead of a massive presidential election next week.

The NASL announced a lawsuit against the USSF board members on Tuesday in a blazing 69-page document, accusing the board of a “breach of the directors’ fiduciary duties to the USSF’s members.” It flies in similar circles as Hope Solo’s brazen weekend complaint.

The lawsuit also demands that U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati, MLS commissioner Don Garber, and “any additional Defendants identified during fact discovery” cannot be reimbursed by the USSF for damages or defense costs.

Saying the directors “have abused their positions as governors and stewards” for the development of soccer in the U.S. by protecting the interests of Major League Soccer, the United Soccer League, and Soccer United Marketing.

The league also asserts that the USSF board has consistently interfered with the NASL’s business practices, allowing the USL to operate as a D-II league under a plan to one day reach a D-II standard while refusing the same to NASL.

[ MORE: USMNT’s Johannsson’s cheeky Bremen goal ]

It also claims that the vote on divisional sanctioning had a “preordained” result and hurriedly organized by Gulati without proper information for the board members and without all members at the meeting.

The suit tears into the much-maligned MLS-SUM relationship.

“Notably, the Board has allowed SUM to use the USSF’s most valuable assets — rights in the FIFA World Cup and U.S. national teams’ television broadcasts and ticket sales — to enrich and empower MLS to the competitive disadvantage of rival leagues, as well as depriving other USSF member groups of potential funding.”

All but one board member, John Paul Motta, was named in the suit: Gulati, Garber, presidential candidate Carlos Cordeiro, and USMNT legend Carlos Bocanegra are the names most know, while Stephen Malik, John Collins, Donna Shalala, Valerie Ackerman, Daniel Flynn, Lisa Carnoy, Richard Moeller, Jesse Harrell, Timothy Turney, Christopher Ahrens, and Angela Hucles are less familiar.

Exhale.

The league, which had stood as U.S. Soccer’s lone second-tier organization for some time, has been battling the USSF since the federation took away its Division II status.

What’s wild about the entire ordeal is that the public’s interest has certainly paid extra attention to the NASL’s concerns since Bruce Arena and the USMNT bombed out of World Cup qualifying. The federation has little momentum — but plenty of influence and money — to fight back, and relatively small stories like complaints about the bizarre and unorthodox MLS transfer system have become big anchors for those seeking change in the federation (In this vein, we imagine Gulati and the federation might be agreeing with Geoff Cameron’s vibes right about now).

Sunil Gulati slams US Soccer narrative in scathing speech amid upcoming election

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Asked to speak at the US Youth Soccer Hall of Fame dinner in Philadelphia, outgoing U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati spent 17 minutes absolutely slamming a number of presidential candidates and those critical of the organization in the wake of missing the 2018 World Cup.

Gulati cautioned against lofty promises candidates have been making by saying “all that glitters is not gold” and lamented attacks against the organization and its current leadership, saying “it’s ok to have opinions, but that’s not discourse.”

The 58-year-old began by taking specific aim at a van parked outside the event that apparently attacked himself, presidential candidate Kathy Carter, fellow candidate and current vice president Carlos Cordeiro, and MLS commissioner Don Garber, calling it “absolutely disgraceful.”

“The facts don’t get changed by calling people names, or saying they’re not competent, or having trucks outside,” Gulati said. “There’s ways to have elections with a positive tone, and the tone in this election is far from that, and to me that’s very disappointing.

The overall tone of his speech centered around the idea that things in US Soccer were trending upwards for many years until one loss, referencing the loss to Trinidad & Tobago that eliminated the United States from World Cup contention, seemed to change the entire discussion. “We lost a really big game in October in Trinidad,” Gulati said. “But we sent the most successful coach in the history of American soccer with a virtually healthy squad and we lost a game.”

He continued looking to diminish the one result among the relative growth of the sport in the United States. “Where we are today is in pretty damn good shape,” Gulati said. “We have done a pretty damn good job of getting the sport to where it is.”

Gulati attacked promises by candidates to end pay to play, saying that the U.S. Soccer surplus wouldn’t come close to being enough to end the practice. “I did economics as an undergrad, not math, but that math does not pencil out, and it doesn’t pencil out for any of you, just do the math – pretty simple. It’s billions of dollars. So when you hear things like that, challenge it. Think about it. Ask questions.”

He also slammed presidential candidates who attacked the federation’s bid for the 2026 World Cup, “Why would anybody seeking to stand where I am standing now…in any shape or form criticize our World Cup effort or think it’s in jeopardy? All 8 of the candidates and everybody in this room should be unified in that.”

Gulati also attacked ideas of promotion and relegation, changing the substitution rules, television revenue, compliance with the FIFA statutes, moving the MLS season, making the presidential position a paid position, and the discussion of electing “a soccer person.”

Gulati summarized his speech by quoting former New York senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan. “And then I heard that the federation is out of compliance with 13 FIFA statutes, which is false. That’s not an opinion. The great senator Moynihan from New York said, ‘everyone is entitled to their own opinion’ but he also said ‘not everyone is entitled to their own facts.’ These are facts.”

You can watch the full speech here.

Presidential candidate Solo files complaint against U.S. Soccer

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Hope Solo took a massive shot at the U.S. Soccer establishment on Tuesday, filing a complaint to the United States Olympic Committee that claims the United States Soccer Federation is neglecting its duties to the sport in favor of propping up Major League Soccer and Soccer United Marketing.

[ MORE: Arsenal teen to Barcelona ]

She adds that current administration’s apparent backing of ex-SUM president Kathy Carter will only continue what ails the federation.

Solo, the controversial and legendary USWNT goalkeeper running for president of the federation, claims that “USSF’s paramount concern has become protecting and nurturing the MLS, even if at the expense of other stakeholders, including those involved in professional women’s and amateur soccer.”

She says the USSF is in violation of the Ted Stevens Olympic and Amateur Sports Act, which in part allows the USOC to give organizations governing power regarding individual sports.

On a blog post announcing the complaint, Solo says:

“The campaign has also made me acutely aware that the USSF’s conflicts of interests and other governance transgressions are so alarming that we can’t wait for the results of the Presidential election to take action.”

The document lays out some interesting points, including a shot at current president Sunil Gulati’s statement that the non-profit USSF was a “consumer-driven organization.”