US league faces split

MIAMI - Leading clubs from the United States' second-tier soccer championship are threatening to form a breakaway league covering areas not in the top flight Major League Soccer.

MIAMI - Leading clubs from the United States' second-tier soccer championship are threatening to form a breakaway league covering areas not in the top flight Major League Soccer.

The United Soccer Leagues (USL), which runs soccer from the professional division below MLS to regional youth leagues, faces losing some of its biggest teams due to a row over the sale of the league, if the threat is carried out.

The USL, founded in 1986, was owned by Nike until last week when it was sold to Atlanta-based company Nu Rock Soccer Holdings, a move that foiled a bid by a consortium of leading clubs to buy the league.

Those clubs, including franchises such as Miami and Minnesota, are now threatening to break away and form a new league.

A statement from the Team Owners Association, issued with the support of eight current and future franchises, stated that it was committed to "achieving a team-owner controlled league" and said the group would "pursue all avenues" to do so. - Reuters

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