This is the entire statement by Cosmos owner Rocco Commisso about the U.S. Soccer board of directors voting to withdraw the North American Soccer League’s Division 2 status after the 2017 season.

“Since beginning play at Yankee Stadium in 1971, the New York Cosmos have won a record total of 8 professional soccer championships and brought some of the biggest stars in international soccer to the USA including Pele, Franz Beckenbauer, Giorgio Chinaglia, Carlos Alberto, and more recently Raul and Marcos Senna. Investing millions of dollars to build upon the rich history of America’s most iconic soccer brand was my way of giving back to the game that has given so much to me.

“I invested in the New York Cosmos eight months ago with the expectation that the United States Soccer Federation would allow us to play at the Division 2 level long enough for me to work with the NASL’s leadership to strengthen and grow our league. I am, there, shocked by the USSF’s withdrawal of Division 2 sanctioning beyond the 2017 season. That decision is, in my view, completely arbitrary and unfair, particularly since the NASL is making progress in developing and implementing plans to grow the league and enhance its stability.

“I want to assure the Cosmos’ loyal fans, players, employees and sponsor, as well as the man others with a stake in the team’s continued success that the Cosmos plan to play quality soccer during the remainder of the 2017 season and that I will do everything within my power to reverse the USSF’s decision.”