Sacramento MLS expansion franchise in doubt after proposed owner pulls out, citing pandemic

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Sacramento Republic FC’s lead investor, Ron Burkle, has pulled out of plans to amass an MLS franchise due to the coronavirus pandemic, thrusting the league’s Northern California expansion agenda into doubt.

MLS stated Friday evening that it will proceed to guage its choices in the fertile market. Sacramento had initially been slated to start out play in 2022 after being awarded a spot in the U.S. prime flight, a date that was pushed again earlier in the COVID-19 disaster.

The Sacramento Bee has reported that “although Burkle signed a preliminary agreement in 2019 with MLS, the two sides never came to a formal long-form agreement.”

What did MLS announce about Sacramento Republic FC?

“Earlier today, Ron Burkle informed the league that based on issues with the project related to COVID-19, he has decided to not move forward with the acquisition of an MLS expansion team in Sacramento,” MLS wrote in a statement on its web site.

“After working for many years to bring an MLS team to Sacramento, the league continues to believe it can be a great MLS market. In the coming days, the league will work with Mayor Darrell Steinberg to evaluate possible next steps for MLS in Sacramento.”

MLS commissioner Don Garber prolonged a further be aware to the franchise.

“I want to thank [Sacramento mayor Darrell] Steinberg for his continued efforts to bring MLS to Sacramento,” Garber stated. “His commitment to the city and delivering for its passionate soccer fans should make all citizens of Sacramento proud.

“Interest in proudly owning a membership in Major League Soccer has by no means been larger. And I stay extremely optimistic about finalizing expansion plans for our thirtieth crew.”

What comes next for the city?

The city of Sacramento needs new investment sources to salvage its hopes of hosting an MLS side, but the financial challenges of the pandemic might deter a cash influx.

A “very dissatisfied” Steinberg, the mayor of California’s capital, blasted Burkle as disloyal to the group however maintained hope for a constructive end result.

“We will nonetheless convey MLS to Sacramento, and we are going to work with the league to discover a new lead investor,” Steinberg told The Bee. “We aren’t ranging from scratch by any means. We have an accredited stadium plan and an accredited plan to construct and pay for infrastructure. We even have the perfect fan base in the nation — one which has proven time and time once more that it could possibly assist an MLS crew.

“We have only begun to fight for what our city deserves.”

This is a creating story that can be up to date.

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