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Precourt Sports Ventures and MLS responds to Attorney General lawsuit

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Not surprisingly, PSV and MLS object to the recently-filed lawsuit.

MLS: Eastern Conference Semifinal-New York City at Columbus Crew Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

Precourt Sports Venture and Major League Soccer released a statement on Tuesday evening in response to Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine’s lawsuit against PSV and league. The release reiterates many of the same talking points that Columbus Crew SC owner Anthony Precourt and league have stated since the prospective move of the Black & Gold was announced in October.

The statement starts with the now banal boilerplate on the team’s and league’s stance that they remain open to working towards a solution to keeping the team in town, the cornerstone of a workable solution being a new stadium. However there has been little evidence that either party are receptive to any Columbus-based overtures. Anthony Precourt’s recent interview with the Austin American-Statesman made no mention of any efforts in Columbus, stating his desire to keep the discussion focused on Austin.

The strongest language was saved for the action by the AG and City and the Modell Law as they “strongly disagree” with the interpretation of the law and it’s applicability to the team, but stops short of any distinctive actions they’ll take in response, one that will likely play out in the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas in the near future.

The full release is below:

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, regrettable, 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, it’s applicability to Columbus Crew SC, and the remedies they seek