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Columbus moves to dismiss Crew SC lawsuit

This legal move by city/state clears the way for new ownership.

MLS: Eastern Conference Semifinal-New York Red Bulls at Columbus Crew SC Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Columbus City attorney Zack Klein issued a release Friday morning announcing the dismissal of the lawsuit against Major League Soccer, a move that seems to put an end to another chapter in the Save The Crew movement and clears the way for the sale of Columbus Crew SC to new potential ownership.

“From the start, this litigation was about keeping the Crew in Columbus, and I believe we are finally there,” Klein said in a press release. “After having conversations with the new ownership group, I believe that it’s time to tentatively dismiss the lawsuit so that the deal can be finalized, and once it’s done, the case can be permanently closed. I can’t thank #SaveTheCrew enough for having my back as we did the unexpected—we saved the Crew. I’m looking forward to celebrating the launch of the 2019 season right here in Columbus on March 2nd!”

In a series of tweets, Klein provided some context for the move and it’s all good news for Crew fans.

“Today, along with the State of Ohio and @OhioAG DeWine, we dismissed our lawsuit against Major League Soccer and PSV,” Kelin’s tweets began. “From the start, this litigation was about keeping the Crew in Columbus, and I believe we are finally there.After having conversations with the new ownership group, I believe that it’s time to tentatively dismiss the lawsuit so that the deal can be finalized, and once it’s done, the case can be permanently closed. I can’t thank #SaveTheCrew enough for having my back as we did the unexpected—we saved the Crew. I’m looking forward to celebrating the launch of the 2019 season right here in Columbus on March 2nd!”

This appears to be the end of a long journey for Crew SC fans that began last October when operator/investor Anthony Precourt announced he was looking into moving the Black & Gold from its only ever home in Columbus to a new location in Austin, Texas. This set off a series of events that led to the organic formation of the Save The Crew movement by fans which was quickly joined by city officials such as Klein and Columbus Partnership CEO Alex Fischer.

What transpired is one of the greatest American sports stories in recent memory with those in town, from all walks of life, coming together to help keep the Crew in Columbus. A major weapon for the Save The Crew movement was a potential lawsuit against MLS and Precourt Sports Ventures, stemming from Ohio Revised Code Section 9.67, better known as the Modell Law that was created after the Cleveland Browns were moved to Baltimore. After back and forth on the legal front, this lawsuit is now put to rest pending the sale of the team to a new ownership group led by former team doctor Pete Edwards and current Browns owners Dee and Jimmy Haslam.

With the goal of the lawsuit to keep the team in town, Klein and the rest of the plaintiffs believe they’ve accomplished what they set out to do. The lawsuit provided an additional hurdle to moving the team, delaying a quick move and allowed time for this local ownership group to form, put together and plan and convince the league that there is the support needed in Columbus for MLS to remain.

Klein also noted that the lawsuit was dismissed without prejudice, signaling that they still believe the law is valid and allowing it to be resurrected if needed.

This news means the sale of the club is on the very near horizon and Massive Report has been told by sources close to the situation that an announcement could come as soon as this afternoon.