As a follow up to today’s feature article on a potential NASL expansion franchise in Oklahoma City, Business of Soccer wanted to share an update to this story. A NewsOK article published yesterday revealed that the tension between USL and NASL surrounding pro soccer’s future in Oklahoma City continues to grow, and will now be settled in court.
Brad Lund, Debray Ayala, Sean Jones, and Donna Clark of Sold Out Strategies (SOS) have filed suit against USL over the “Covenant Not to Compete” clause in their franchise agreement. The lawsuit was filed in response to a “cease and desist” letter sent from USL to Sold Out Strategies and their NASL investment group partners, according to NewsOK. This news comes 2 weeks after Lund (SOS) beat out Bob Funk, Jr. of Prodigal LLC, in a bid to win a lease agreement for Oklahoma City’s Taft Stadium. The two parties presented their cases for both a USL Pro (Prodigal LLC) and NASL (SOS) expansion franchise teams to be housed in the newly renovated Taft Stadium to the Oklahoma City School Board on June 17th.
Though specifics regarding the terms of the USL/NASL franchise agreement were not discussed in the article, the lawsuit against USL, as quoted by NewsOK, stated:
Mr. Jones, Ms. Clark, Mr. Lund and Mr. Ayala, each received a letter from the USL’s attorneys threatening to sue each of them if they did not immediately abandon the idea of a NASL men’s professional team in the Oklahoma City area. In addition to threatening to sue (the) plaintiffs, the USL has sent letters to both the board and Mr. McLaughlin.
Tim McLaughlin is an Oklahoma City resident and prominent businessman at AdvancePierre foods, and actually spearheaded the investment group that just brought a USL PDL team to the city, Oklahoma City FC. The article did not mention a court date for this case, but Sold Out Strategie’s attorney, Kiran Phansalkar, did comment about the latest development:
The ‘Covenant Not to Compete’ is not enforceable under Oklahoma law, because we believe it violates (public) policy in its breadth. We hope that a federal judge in Oklahoma City will consider and rule in our favor, which would allow these individuals, if they so choose, to move forward with their efforts or involvement, if they choose, with the North American Soccer League.
According to the article, McLaughlin, Lund and their associates will continue their efforts to bring a NASL team to Oklahoma City.
What do you think about the latest development in Oklahoma City between USL and NASL? Let us know in the comment section below or via Twitter.