This Perspectives Seminar will look at law and lawyering in and around the “Beautiful Game,” which is known as football or futbol in many parts of the world, but is known as soccer in the United States. This sport offers an ideal platform for discussing the laws that govern and affect sports and the difficult task of lawyering in the context of what has become a major business, but remains an emotional and nationalistic pursuit. Our focus will be on the regulation and business organization of soccer within the United States, from the youth to the professional level. In addition to focusing on current events involving soccer law (such as lawsuits filed against the U.S. Soccer Federation (USSF) by the North American Soccer League, the U.S. Soccer Foundation, and players on the U.S. Women’s National Team, issues we may explore include (a) USSF’s oversight of the youth game and its various member organizations such as the U.S. Youth Soccer Association and U.S. Club Soccer, (b) The oversight of the professional game, including the divisional hierarchy sanctioned by USSF, (c) the organization of various professional leagues, focusing on Major League Soccer and its panoply of complex roster rules and regulations, and (d) the operation of the U.S. Men’s and Women’s National Team programs, including the recent controversy over the unequal treatment of the Women’s team. Along the way, we will consider the external laws as applied to the game in some of these areas, such as tax laws and immigration laws that affect player movement, labor and antitrust laws that affect player bargaining and league organizations, tort laws that affect equipment like shin guards and activities like heading the ball; and criminal laws used against financial corruption. We will also explore lawyering in the sport, including the ethical dilemmas of being a lawyer in a high profile sporting environment, particularly where lawyers are often business and marketing representatives as well as legal advisors. We will have guest speakers from the soccer world, including lawyer-agents, media, and/or club executives.
This course will meet on Thursday evenings at my house from 6-8:30 on September 12, October 24, January 23, February 20, April 2