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Local Leaders Disappointed After Talks to Keep Crew in Columbus

Walker Evans Walker Evans Local Leaders Disappointed After Talks to Keep Crew in ColumbusPhoto by Matt Ellis.
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Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther and Columbus Partnership CEO Alex Fischer met today in New York with Major League Soccer Commissioner Don Garber and Columbus Crew SC owner Anthony Precourt, and according to a press release the meeting did not go well.

“It is clear the MLS and ownership did not come to the meeting willing to commit to staying in Columbus,” stated Ginther and Fischer in the joint release. “We know this is heartbreaking for the dedicated fans in Columbus and across the country who have shown unwavering support for the Columbus Crew SC.”

A release issued by Precourt Sports Ventures revealed a similar story of dissatisfaction from the other side of the table.

“Both PSV and the league entered the meeting with open minds, no demands and a complete willingness to listen and entertain concrete ideas or a meaningful proposal from the city’s representatives at the meeting,” states the Precourt release. “We were extremely disappointed that no concrete offer or proposal was presented and that the City of Columbus then told us that it would not communicate with us past today.”

The release from Columbus leaders goes on to explain that options were offered, but not to any degree of mutual consideration by both parties.

“We were united in putting all options on the table, with the expectation in return that the MLS and ownership would cease pursuing moving the team to Austin,” they stated. “Great American cities do not get into bidding wars over sports teams to benefit private owners. Garber and Precourt were not willing to do that today.”

A month ago, Precourt made it publicaly known that he was exploring options to move the team out of Columbus — most likely to the city of Austin. Local fans, community leaders, small business owners and other activists have worked on a grassroots campaign to show support for keeping the team in place.

“On November 21, standing alongside the best soccer fans in the country at MAPFRE stadium, we will be cheering Black and Gold onto victory,” concluded the release from Ginther and Fischer. “Glory to Columbus.”

The Precourt release echoed the same sentiment.

“Columbus Crew SC remains focused on our quest to win MLS Cup,” it states. “Despite the city’s refusal to make a real offer and its decision to cease conversations, we remain open to a productive dialogue if the City of Columbus reconsiders.”

For more information, visit savethecrew.com.

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