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Schoninger Amends Complaint, Names World Rugby as a defendant

Doug Schoninger Speaks with Dan Power, Photo Cred: Americas Rugby News

On July 20th, 2018, attorneys for Douglas Schoninger filed an amended complaint in his suit against USA Rugby in which he alleges a "wanton and willful breach of contract".  At the time of this article, all US-based defendants submitted unopposed motions for extensions to write comprehensive pleadings in response.  Part of the amendment from his original filing is the addition of former Board Chairman Bob Latham, former Board Member Pete Seccia, and World Rugby.

The previous complaint described an alleged conspiracy under which Board Members Will Chang and Chad Keck, and Mike Dunafon, the Mayor of Glendale, conspired to steal his professional competition away from him. PRO Rugby USA cancelled all contracts in December 2016. Major League Rugby did not kick off until Mr. Schoninger's Sanctioning Agreement expired on April 21, 2018.

In his complaint, Mr. Schoninger alleges that the Union's representatives pressured him to use multiple services from Rugby International Marketing (RIM), within the Sanctioning agreement RIM received non-exclusive rights for marketing and player-representation.  According to the minutes from the February 2017 Congress Meeting, David Sternberg, RIM CEO, stated that RIM was never equipped to execute player-representation for PRO and had not been approached by PRO Rugby USA to execute said services.

Mr. Schoninger maintains that USA Rugby interfered with and blocked his transaction to purchase the Super Rugby Southern Kings from their defunct provincial Union.  Subsequently the Kings now play in the Guinness Pro14.

He then alleges that World Rugby conspired to save the Guinness Pro 12 by first blocking the sale of the Kings to Schoninger and brokering the addition of the Kings to aid in forming the the Guinness Pro 14.

Mr Schoninger alleges in September 2016 that Dan Payne, then CEO of USAR, attended the first planning conference in Glendale of what would become Major League Rugby.  However, the Major Rugby Championship seemed to be a pre-cursor to Major League Rugby but was made up of amateur member clubs under the governance of local Unions.  For Division 1 competition there is a minimum match standard, the clubs involved built the series of Friendlies so that they would not have to fill gaps in their schedules with additional conference fixtures.  New Orleans Rugby Football Club withdrew from Division 1 play mid-season.

Mr. Schoninger's complaint goes on to allege actions by Dan Payne that would seem to skirt and violate the spirit of exclusivity of PRO North America's Sanctioning Agreement.

It is important to note that Mr. Schoninger's original sanctioning fee was $1,000.

You can read the amended complaint in full here: Doug Schoninger V. USARFU Et Al Amended 20 July 2018

~Aaron Castro