U.S. Soccer

USSF Bylaws 702 and 703 set forth procedures for filing two different types of grievances. Bylaw 702 relates to a grievance by an athlete, coach, trainer, etc. regarding their opportunity to participate in any amateur athletic competition or any soccer event of the Pan American Games, the Olympics, or World Championship competitions. Bylaw 703 relates to a grievance by an individual or Organization Member complaining that (a) another USSF Organization Member has failed to comply with its membership requirements, or (b) USSF has failed to comply with its membership requirements in the U.S. Olympic Committee.

Under both types of grievances, USSF may attempt to resolve the dispute without a full hearing. If the parties are amenable, USSF will attempt to set up an informal discussion, or even suggest mediation. These informal efforts, however, will not prejudice a party’s ability to move the grievance process forward or any rights provided within that process.

1) Procedure for Filing a Grievance Under Bylaw 702

(a) Complaint The person filing the grievance should put together a complaint setting forth who their grievance is against, the complete factual circumstances that form the basis of the grievance, and the relief they are seeking. As set forth in Section 5, the grievance must be in writing, signed under oath by the person making the grievance, and must state the full names and addresses of the person, persons, or groups against whom the grievance is made. The complaint should contain enough information so that it is clear that the person making the grievance is prepared to offer testimony by at least one witness with personal knowledge of the facts of their case.

The complaint should be sent to:

USSF Secretary General
U.S. Soccer Federation
1801 S. Prairie Ave.
Chicago, IL 60616

The complaint can be sent by hand delivery, certified mail, or facsimile. (The USSF general facsimile number is 312/808-1301).

(b) USSF Procedures Once the grievance is received by the USSF, Section 6 calls for the Secretary General to communicate “informally” with the parties, the President of the Federation, and a representative from the USOC Athletes’ Advisory Council. Every effort will be made to resolve the dispute, to everyone’s satisfaction, without a full hearing. If a resolution is not possible, a prompt hearing shall be arranged.

(c) Hearing The President will appoint a five-person panel for the hearing. That panel will include a member of the Executive Committee and one representative from each of the following four groups: the Youth council, the Adult council, the Professional council, and an Athlete (as defined under the Amateur Sports Act). The hearing will be conducted in accordance with Bylaw 701, which sets forth all the rights that must be provided to a party at a hearing.

The time of the hearing will be set by USSF. Once the grievance is received, USSF will send out a notice of hearing to everyone involved – including the accused party. Once the accused has received this notice, the hearing must be held, according to Section 8, between 20 and 60 days later. (This time limit may be shortened in “emergency situations”).

(d) Decision The Hearing Committee will consider the evidence and the record from the hearing, and will issue a decision in writing “promptly.” That determination is final

(2) Procedure for Filing a Grievance Under Bylaw 703

(a) Complaint The person or organization filing the grievance should put together a complaint setting forth who their grievance is against, the complete factual circumstances that form the basis of the grievance, and the relief they are seeking. As set forth in Section 1, the grievance must be in writing and signed under oath by the person (or chief executive of the organization) making the grievance. The grievance must also contain: (1) the full names and addresses of the parties; (2) an identification of the membership requirement that is allegedly being violated; (3) a detailed explanation of the factual circumstances that form the basis of the grievance – each factual allegation should be set forth in separate numbered paragraphs; (4) the supporting documents or evidence; and (5) a money order or cashier’s check for the grievance fee, currently set at $300.

The complaint should be sent to:

USSF Secretary General
U.S. Soccer Federation
1801 S. Prairie Ave.
Chicago, IL 60616

The complaint should be sent be certified mail, with a copy served on the other parties by certified mail.

(b) Answer Once the complaint is served on USSF and the opposing party, USSF will send out a scheduling letter, indicating that the grievance was received and giving the accused organization thirty days to file an answer to the complaint. The accused organization must file an answer – even if only to say that it does not have sufficient information to admit or deny certain allegations. A failure to answer, unless there is good cause, is grounds for a default.

(c) USSF Procedures Once the complaint and answer have been received, they will be sent to a Hearing Examiner. The Hearing Examiner will be appointed by the President from a Hearing panel consisting of AAA certified arbitrators. The Hearing Examiner may dismiss the complaint. Each party shall be responsible for one third of the fees and expenses for the Hearing Examiner.

(d) Hearing The hearing will be conducted in accordance with Bylaw 701, which sets forth all the rights that must be provided to a party at a hearing.

The time of the hearing will be set by USSF. This hearing will be held no more than 90 days after the complaint has been filed.

(e) Decision The Hearing Examiner will issue a decision in writing within 30 days after the hearing.

(f) Appeal The decision of the Hearing Examiner may be appealed by either party to the Board of Directors within ten (10) days of receiving the written decision. The determination of the Board is final.

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