Precourt, MLS respond to lawsuit over potential move of Crew SC

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Monday, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and the City of Columbus filed a lawsuit in hopes of keeping Crew SC in town. Tuesday, Precourt Sports Ventures and the MLS responded.

“Precourt Sports Ventures and Major League Soccer are disappointed that the Ohio Attorney General and the City of Columbus have chosen to commence litigation rather than encouraging public officials in Columbus to engage in constructive discussions about the future of Columbus Crew SC.

"The complaint, regrettably, chooses to ignore both the facts and the law. Since acquiring the right to operate the Club in 2013, PSV has made significant investments both on and off the field to try and make Crew SC a viable enterprise in Columbus. Despite these efforts and the on-field success of the Club, Crew SC has been at or near the bottom in the League with respect to box office results and corporate support. Marketplace challenges have existed in Columbus for 22 years since the club’s founding in 1996. As a result, PSV last October announced that it would explore the possibility of relocation while also continuing to see if Columbus can be a successful MLS market, and in particular, whether there is a path to a new stadium.

"MLS and PSV remain willing to engage with both public officials and potential private investors in Columbus to determine if there is a legitimate plan to make Crew SC viable in Columbus, including a plan for a new stadium.

"Throughout this process, PSV and MLS have complied, and will continue to comply, with all relevant laws, but we strongly disagree with the AG’s and City’s interpretation of the Modell Law, its applicability to Columbus Crew SC, and the remedies they seek.”

According to a press release from the City of Columbus, DeWine sent notice to Precourt Sports Ventures on December 8, 2017, to reiterate its obligation under Ohio Law. He received no communication from Precourt Sports Venture, prompting the lawsuit.

“As I have said, we believe Columbus Crew SC belongs in Columbus. We have a rich history of professional soccer and some of the most loyal and dedicated fans in the league,” said Mayor Andrew J. Ginther (D-Columbus). “Just as importantly, the team plays in a taxpayer-supported facility, and Precourt Sports Ventures and Major League Soccer have accepted financial assistance from the state of Ohio and the City of Columbus. State law provides us with this protection.”

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