Wednesday, May 1, 2019

FTC Rules against Kansas City FC for Deception: Tale No. 19

Children's Mercy Park and Kansas Speedway, Kansas City, Kansas
(Image: ElisFKC and West Village via Wikipedia Commons and Flickr)

By David Rusk


Revised December 8, 2021
First Published by Black and Red United, May 1, 2019

Preface: This is the nineteenth in a series of Tales from Buzzard Point that explores the rich traditions and myths surrounding the legendary DC United soccer team and its fabled history at Buzzard Point. The Tales from Buzzard Point are historical fiction and parody.

With Sporting Kansas City making its inaugural visit to Buzzard Point on Sunday, May 12, all DC United fans should be aware of the following story in The Evening Star which explains the strange (but increasingly common) events to be expected in the forthcoming match.

FTC Penalizes Sporting Kansas City for Deceptive Packaging

The Evening Star
May 1, 2019

By a 3-2 margin the Federal Trade Commission ruled today that Sporting Kansas City, a professional soccer club in Major League Soccer, is practicing a “deceptive act” and is violating the Fair Packaging and Labeling Act (15 U.S.C. ch. 39).

As a penalty, for every game at Buzzard Point, the visiting club must submit to at least one VAR ruling resulting in cancellation of a Sporting Kansas City goal, awarding a penalty kick to DC United, or confirming a disputed DC United goal.

An FTC spokesperson explained that:

To all the world outside the state of Kansas, Kansas City means Kansas City, Missouri, but the club’s Children’s Mercy Park is actually located in Kansas City, Kansas. The Commission majority ruled that such is clearly deceptive packaging in an effort to associate the club with a more prestigious community.

The FPLA clearly requires that the name and place of business of the manufacturer, packer, or distributor be accurately stated. The fair labeling provision was enacted in the post-war years when many Japanese exports went through final assembly in the city of Usa, Japan so that they could be labeled “Made in USA.”
US Federal Trade Commission Flag
(Image: Federal Trade Commission)

The FTC ruled similarly by a 3-2 vote to penalize the Colorado Rapids, Minnesota United, and New England Revolution. To avoid one adverse VAR ruling per game at Buzzard Point the clubs must re-label themselves accurately as the Commerce City Rapids, St. Paul United, and Foxboro Revolution.

“Though two Commissioners felt that these clubs were acceptably labeled, states or regions are not ‘places’ under federal law,” the spokesperson explained.

In the same ruling, by unanimous vote the FTC awarded double adverse VAR reviews to be levied against other clubs for what the Commission described as “even more egregious violations.” The offending clubs are the Chester Union, FC Frisco, Real Sandy, Bridgeview Fire, Carson City Galaxy, and Harrison Red Bulls.

Because one commissioner (a native of The Bronx) abstained, the Commission deadlocked 2-2 on the issue of New York City FC.

The complaint under the FPLA was brought by the Screaming Eagles, a DC United supporters group, who have a veritable phalanx of high-skilled attorneys among its membership.

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