DeWine: Law adopted after Browns move would apply to Columbus Crew

FILE - In this June 14, 2017, file photo, Columbus Crew fans cheer before a U.S. Open Cup soccer match against FC Cincinnati, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine says a law passed after Art Modell moved the Cleveland Browns to Baltimore would apply to a potential move of the Columbus Crew SC.

On Wednesday, Rep. Mike Duffey, R-Worthington asked DeWine’s office to consider using the law which prohibits professional sports teams from moving if they use facilities supported by taxpayers or public money and do not provide six months of advance notice and they do not allow the city or the people who live near the facility an opportunity to buy the team.

Crew SC plays at MAPFRE Stadium which is on tax-exempt state land and uses leased state land for parking, according to Rep. Duffey.

News broke earlier this year that the owner of the Columbus Crew, Anthony Precourt, is looking to move the team - possibly to Austin, Texas.

You can view DeWine’s full statement below:

“Ohioans are very loyal fans who passionately support our teams and take great civic pride in their accomplishments. Our teams are a part of our communities. That is why when ownership moved the Cleveland Browns to Baltimore in 1995, the Ohio General Assembly took action and passed a law to protect Ohio and its communities when they provide tax-funded support for professional teams’ stadiums. As a United States Senator, I, along with Senator John Glenn and Congressman Louis Stokes, introduced similar legislation in Congress.

“The Ohio Attorney General’s Office has reviewed the law passed after the Browns’ move. We believe the evidence will show that this law would apply to the Columbus Crew and Mapfre Stadium. As Attorney General, should ownership of the Columbus Crew initiate a move of the team without complying with Ohio law, I am prepared to take the necessary legal action under this law to protect the interests of the State of Ohio and the central Ohio communities which have all invested to make the Columbus Crew a proud part of our Ohio sports tradition and help Mapfre Stadium earn its reputation as ‘Fortress Columbus.’”

Statement from a Precourt Sports Ventures Spokesman:

Precourt Sports Ventures has great respect for the office of the Ohio Attorney General, however there is nothing to address as Crew SC prepares for the 2018 season.

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