The Sacramento Republic has filed a complaint with the NFL, alleging that an Orlando City staff member was spying on his training session ahead of Wednesday’s US Open final, multiple sources told ESPN.
ESPN TV Analyst Taylor Tollman was first to report News that staff are at Sacramento training, and that the US Soccer Federation, which runs the tournament, is aware of the situation.
A USSF spokesperson added that the union was “looking into the matter” and confirmed that USSF film crews have footage of the incident.
“The club has taken note of the matter regarding Sacramento’s training and is cooperating with the American football team,” Orlando said in a statement.
The Orlando employee, who sources told ESPN that the Republic Equipment manager admitted to as being connected to Orlando manager Oscar Parega, was asked multiple times to leave over a 30-45 minute period. The employee insisted he was there to meet a friend who was training at a nearby stadium. The Republic staff even went so far as to park two trucks in front of the individual to hide his view of the training, only to have him move to another location before finally leaving.
A source at the Orlando club confirmed the employee’s presence but said there was no “coordinated effort” to get the individual to monitor training and that the employee did not provide any information.
The accident occurred on Monday in Central Winds Park, a public park in the suburbs of Winter Springs, Florida. In an effort to achieve some privacy, Republic chose not to train at the training facility in Orlando, but then had difficulty securing another place to train, and so he had to train in the park.
Even if the Orlando crew’s attendance and motivation to attend the Sacramento training session is confirmed, it is unclear what sanctions the Soviet Union could impose. The USSF Open Cup Section brochure does not strictly prohibit what happened Monday, but there is a jury and discipline committee that deals with protests and public discipline.
Section 306 of the handbook states: “Any person may file a complaint with the Authority regarding the action or inaction of a team, individual, group or organization participating in the Open Cup. The Committee shall determine whether the conduct complained of is or may be contrary to the interest of the game. The Authority shall take such action as it deems appropriate with respect to any person involved in the Complaint as set forth in Subsection (C) of this Section.”
The handbook adds: “Except for nullifying the results of a match or authorizing a match to be replayed, the Authority may take any action it deems appropriate, including suspension or a fine, or both, for any matter it considers under this Policy. The Authority may only consider a replay or advance a team lost if a protest is lodged. The panel may exercise discretion in cases where the panel files a protest to the commissioner after the expiry of the deadline in the event that there are circumstances regarding the availability of information after the deadline that justify such discretion.”
Both teams are aiming for their first USOC title, with Sacramento, playing in the USL Division II, aiming to become the first non-MLS team to win the title since 1999, when the Rochester Rhinos, then the A. Invited, he won the title over the Colorado Rapids.
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