MLS approved for 14% of U.S. Soccer presidential vote - sources

Major League Soccer's delegates will account for 14 percent of the overall vote in the upcoming election for the president of the U.S. Soccer Federation, sources have told ESPN FC.

In one of two long-awaited decisions made at a meeting on Sunday, the USSF Board of Directors passed a proposal regarding the allocation of delegates within the Professional Council, sources said, a move which will have a direct impact on the Feb. 10 election for U.S. Soccer president.

The proposal -- put forward by MLS, the USL and the NWSL -- sees MLS control nine of the 16 delegates in the Pro Council, which is comprised of representatives from the country's professional leagues.

The USL and NWSL will get three delegates each, with the NASL -- which is currently engaged in an anti-trust lawsuit against the USSF -- getting one delegate.

MLS announced a month ago that it would support Kathy Carter as the league's preferred candidate. Carter is on leave from her position as president of Soccer United Marketing, the marketing arm of MLS controlled by the owners of MLS clubs.

The Pro Council's votes are weighted to take up around 25.8 percent of the overall vote taken by the USSF National Council, the same as the Youth Council and Adult Council. The Athletes Council will be weighted to account for 20 percent of the vote, while the remaining votes -- approximately 2.6 percent -- will be taken up by national associations and affiliates, board members, life members (up to 12 votes), and two fan representatives.

So the MLS delegation will carry 14.5 percent of the overall vote, with the USL and NWSL accounting for 4.8 percent each, and the NASL making up 1.6 percent.

For that reason, the NASL came out firmly against the proposal. At the previous USSF Board meeting in Toronto in December, interim NASL commissioner Rishi Sehgal felt that the allocation of delegates should be more even.

"The bylaws say that the delegates should be allocated based on competitive division," Sehgal said at the time. "The proposal [MLS] commissioner Garber submitted and has been used in the past... factors in additional considerations like the number of teams and attendance.

"Interestingly it only includes attendance at a Division I level, not at the Division II level. Our proposal simply follows the bylaw. It says it should be based on the level of competitive division. The bylaws don't suggest that different divisions get different votes.

"When you look at the proposal that MLS has suggested, not only does it assign different factors to the different divisions, but it weights a Division I league four times as much as a Division II league, which I think is problematic."

In the other major decision at the USSF board meeting, the USL was granted Division II status for 2018 in a unanimous vote.

The USL was given provisional Division II status during 2017, as was the NASL. But the NASL's application to get Division II status in 2018 was denied, with the anti-trust suit a direct result of that decision.

The USL will have 33 teams in the 2018 season, including six newcomers -- ATL UTD 2, Fresno FC, Indy Eleven, Las Vegas Lights FC, Nashville SC and North Carolina FC.

Both Indy and North Carolina moved from the NASL, which is down to just six teams, including two expansion clubs in California United FC and San Diego 1904 FC -- both of which have expressed doubts about playing in 2018.

Jacksonville Armada FC has also announced it will look to play in a lower division after the NASL revealed it would not resume playing until August.