FIFA set to rule on solidarity payment cases involving U.S. youth clubs - sources
FIFA's Dispute Resolution Chamber (DRC) is scheduled to meet next week to rule on a trio of solidarity payment-related cases involving the transfers of American players, sources have told ESPN FC.
Each case involves a U.S.-based youth club attempting to receive solidarity payments as mandated by FIFA's Regulations on the Status and Transfer of Players (RSTP).
Crossfire Premier, based in Redmond, Washington, are seeking payment from the transfer of DeAndre Yedlin from the Seattle Sounders to Tottenham in 2014.
"It does make sense that the same FIFA panel of judges will hear all the ripe, pending cases at the DRC," said Lance Reich, the attorney representing all three youth clubs. "That way, FIFA can be very definitive on the solidarity fee issue for US youth clubs."
The Sockers FC Chicago are attempting to receive payment from the transfer of Michael Bradley from Roma to Toronto FC in the same year, and the Dallas Texans are trying to obtain payment for Clint Dempsey's transfer from Tottenham to the Sounders in 2013.
According to documents obtained by ESPN FC, a five-person panel will make a decision on each case.
The three clubs stand to receive hundreds of thousands of dollars if the DRC rules in their favour, which could have far reaching effects on the movement of U.S. players overseas as well as the amount of money flowing into U.S. youth clubs.
Solidarity payments are a mechanism by which FIFA aims to compensate youth clubs for developing players.
RSTP stipulates that, whenever a player is transferred prior to the end of their contract and that transfer involves moving from one country to another, five percent of the transfer fee is to be allocated to the club or clubs that developed that player.
The rules also stipulate that when a player signs a first professional contract and a change of association is involved, the professional club is obligated to pay training and development costs to the youth clubs that developed that player between the ages of 12 and 21.
The Yedlin case only pertains to the payment of solidarity payments.
However, the U.S. Soccer Federation (USSF) has long forbidden the implementation of RSTP. Among the reasons cited are fears that it violates child labour laws or would result in litigation on anti-trust grounds by various stakeholders, including the MLS Players Association.
The USSF has also contended at times that a consent decree contained in the Fraser vs. MLS case prevented it from enforcing RSTP, although it is no longer using that argument.
In recent years, U.S. youth clubs have appealed to FIFA to force the USSF -- and by extension MLS -- to begin adhering to RSTP.
Each of the three cases was first filed in September 2015, but the process has been fraught with delays and pushback from some of the parties involved.
In December, Tottenham, in a letter to FIFA, claimed sloppy record-keeping made it unclear exactly when Yedlin was registered with Crossfire. Spurs also alleged that Crossfire's not-for-profit business model meant it was not a "training club" and thus was not entitled to compensation.
Lastly, the letter stated that since MLS told Spurs that no claim for solidarity payments could be made due to provisions in U.S. law, no payment was required.
These are not the only cases that have been filed involving American players. Florida-based Weston FC has filed a complaint related to the transfer of Alejandro Bedoya from French side Nantes to the Philadelphia Union in 2016.
And Westside Timbers, a Portland, Oregon club, filed a case related to training compensation when Rubio Rubin signed his first professional deal with Dutch side Utrecht in 2014.