The governing body for soccer leagues across North America is blocking Ottawa Fury FC from participating in the United Soccer League next year.
Even though the Canadian Soccer Association and the United States Soccer Federation both approved Fury FC's 2019 participation in the USL, the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football, has unilaterally intervened to prevent Fury FC from playing in the league it's called home for two years.
CONCACAF President Victor Montagliani, is the former president of Canada Soccer, where he was the chief promoter of the new Canadian Premier League that will start play in 2019.
Earlier this year, Ottawa opted not to join the new domestic league.
"This action by CONCACAF is unprecedented and simply wrong," said Mark Goudie, President and CEO of Fury FC's parent company, the Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group.
"Our lawyers have requested that CONCACAF immediately provide further details on the basis for this decision. We also understand that Canada Soccer will be seeking clarification as to the rationale for CONCACAF's decision," he continued.
"In the event that CONCACAF does not immediately reconsider its position, Fury FC will take all steps, including legal proceedings, so as to ensure that it will be able to continue providing professional soccer to our loyal and new fans and supporters in a league of our choosing," explained Goudie.
"It's wrong," said USL President Jake Edwards. "Forcing a team to move from the league it is scheduled to play in, and wants to play in, three months before the season starts is unacceptable. Schedules have been set, players signed, season tickets sold. It's not fair to anyone, including the 35 other teams in our league who are being negatively affected. Allowing this to happen would set a very poor precedent and we'll do everything in our power to support the Ottawa Fury FC."
Goudie added, "I am also grateful for the pledges of support that we have received today from Canadian MLS clubs Montreal Impact, Toronto FC and the Vancouver Whitecaps FC, who understand the important role that Fury FC currently plays in the Canadian professional soccer pathway and landscape at the high-calibre North American Division II level."
In the event that Fury FC is prohibited from play in 2019, the club said all game ticket payments made to date by fans will be refunded.
Fury FC and OSEG are expected to provide updates when available.