MLS commissioner Don Garber has waved away suggestions that FC Cincinnati’s introduction to the league will harm the Crew’s chances of remaining in Columbus.
Cincinnati were confirmed as MLS’s newest expansion team on Tuesday evening and, with a temporary venue already in place, MLS gave the former United Soccer League side the go-ahead to join the league next season — leapfrogging two other recently announced expansion clubs in Nashville and Miami, which are expected to start in 2020.
Another Ohio-based team will likely put more pressure on the Crew, whose owner Anthony Precourt announced in October 2017 that he was exploring the option of moving the team to Austin, Texas.
“It really has no effect on [the Columbus situation] at all,” Garber told ESPN’s Taylor Twellman.
“We believe in this city. We believe in the state of Ohio.”
The Ohio attorney general and the city of Columbus sued MLS and Precourt’s company Precourt Sports Ventures in March, citing a law that says any team receiving government funding or playing in tax-supported facilities must give six months’ notice as well as an opportunity for local groups to buy the team before moving.
“No league ever wants to move a club but we’re going through a process,” Garber said. “There is a lawsuit — we believe, by the way, that’s a lawsuit without merit.
“You know we’ve met with the city, we’re meeting with the mayor, we’re meeting with the Columbus partnership — we’re going to try and do everything we can to come up with a solution that makes sense for everyone.”
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