NASL shrinks to 8 teams, parts ways with president Peterson

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NEW YORK (AP) Bill Peterson is out as president of the troubled North American Soccer League, which is cutting from 12 teams to eight.

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The league Monday called the move a mutual decision. Peterson led the league since 2012, a year after the current NASL started play. Appointed interim commissioner was Rishi Sehgal, the NASL’s director of business development and legal affairs.

The NASL said it will play with four fewer teams this year. Its second-division status was extended provisionally Friday by the U.S. Soccer Federation. The 30-team United Soccer League also was given provisional second division status by the USSF, up from third tier from 2011-16.

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Aaron Davidson was the NASL board chairman and an NASL investor before he was indicted in 2015 as part of a U.S. Justice Department investigation into soccer corruption. He pleaded guilty last October to federal racketeering conspiracy and wire-fraud conspiracy charges and is awaiting sentencing.

The league said it cut ties with Davidson’s soccer management company in November.

The Cosmos, the defending champions, said they will discuss on Tuesday their ownership status and financial obligations to players. Seamus O’Brien has been the team’s chairman team since it resumed play in 2013.