Roger Abrams10.17.16 —   Professor Roger Abrams has joined with seven academic colleagues in filing an amicus brief in the US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in the case of U.S. Soccer Federation Inc. v. U.S. National Soccer Team Players Association. In 2013, the U.S. Soccer Federation, which governs U.S. Soccer, wanted to market the sport with a tequila poster containing print creatives of some members of the U.S. Men’s National Team. The U.S. National Soccer Team Players Association did not approve.

In response, the U.S. Soccer Federation said that player and collective bargaining agreements governing relations between the Soccer Federation and the U.S. National Soccer Team Players Association did not require the Soccer Federation to obtain approval for using player likenesses. The Players Association filed a grievance, arguing that approval was required. The Players Association won in arbitration, and a federal district court confirmed. In September, a three-judge panel of the appeals court reversed, concluding that an arbitrator exceeded his authority in determining that player approval was required.

The amicus brief takes no position on the merits of the underlying case. Rather it argues that the decision “creates an unwarranted and novel exception to six decades of jurisprudence,” and that the precedent would cause damage to the dynamics of collective bargaining in sports.

"It is critical that courts recognize their proper limited role in reviewing arbitration decisions which labor and management intended to be the final and binding reading of their collective agreements." said Abrams, a leading authoring on sports and labor law.

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