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DOJ Warns FIFA That Banning Top Games May Breach Antitrust Laws

 |  September 1, 2020

According to the New York Times, the Justice Department told FIFA of its concerns as a lawsuit brought by an American sports promoter challenges regulations on where regular-season games involving overseas soccer clubs can be played.

For more than five years, the United States Department of Justice has pursued a corruption case against the highest levels of international soccer, charging dozens of the sport’s senior officials with crimes like money laundering and fraud. Now, its antitrust division has joined the fight.

The antitrust division is focused on a yearslong dispute over where matches can take place. FIFA, soccer’s global governing body, is considering strengthening rules that keep teams from playing competitive regular-season games outside their home countries.

The antitrust division’s interest comes as a sports promotion company based in New York, Relevent Sports, is suing FIFA and the United States Soccer Federation, accusing the organizations of conspiring to block Relevant from bringing regular-season games from overseas leagues to North America.