Orlando City FC has been fined for a “spying” incident that happened against Sacramento Republic FC ahead of their U.S. Open Cup final, according to an ESPN report.
The incident involves a member of the Orlando City staff who watched a Sacramento practice held in a central Florida park just prior to the cup final matchup. Orlando City went on the win the final 3-0. It was the Major League Soccer team’s first US Open Cup trophy in its history.
US Soccer determines Orlando City fined for spying
Sacramento noticed the staffer at the training and subsequently asked him to leave the area. They also alleged that the staffer refused to depart the facility and stayed to watch the practice. The USL Championship team went on to assert that this staffer was asked many times within a 30-45 minute period.
After failure in asking the individual to depart, Sacramento even parked vans near the area in an attempt obstruct the view of the staffer. These efforts, however, were unsuccessful as the person just moved to a different location.
Although U.S. Soccer Federation did issue a fine for the team, they could not determine if Orlando City officially sent the staffer to watch the practice. For instance, USSF was unable to prove that any spying or information gathering took place. Nevertheless, the governing body did feel as though his presence at the facility still warranted action. The individual in question supposedly claimed that he was there to meet a friend in the area.
Orlando City in violation of US Open Cup policies
There is a clear rule in the USSF U.S. Open handbook on this subject. Section 306 states that “anyone may file a complaint with the Panel about an action or inaction of an Open Cup team, individual, or group or organization participating in the Open Cup competition.
“The Panel shall determine if the conduct complained of is or would be contrary to the good of the game. The Panel shall take action it considers appropriate in regard to anyone involved in the complaint as provided by subsection (c) of this section.”
— Orlando City SC (@OrlandoCitySC) September 8, 2022
The rule goes on to suggest that a fine was the appropriate action. “Except for overturning match results or mandating a replay of a match, the Panel may take any action it considers appropriate, including suspension or fine, or both, for any matter considered by it under this policy.”
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