Save The Crew: Agreement reached for new owners to operate Columbus Crew SC

    Columbus Crew fans show their support for their team as they play against Toronto FC during the first half of an MLS Eastern Conference championship soccer match Tuesday, Nov. 21, 2017, in Columbus, Ohio. The Crew's owner has recently threatened to move the team after the 2018 season. (AP Photo/Jay LaPrete)

    Attorney General Mike DeWine and Columbus City Attorney Zach Klein are dropping the lawsuit against Major League Soccer (MLS) and Anthony Precourt because the sale of the team is pending.

    MLS shared Friday that an agreement was reached for the Haslam and Edwards families to operate the team.

    “After several months of discussions, we are extremely pleased to have reached an agreement in principle with the Haslam and Edwards families for them to assume an ownership position in Major League Soccer and operate Columbus Crew SC starting in January, 2019," said MLS Commissioner Don Garber.

    New owners Dee and Jimmy Haslam and Pete Edwards said they are excited to be a part of Columbus.

    "We are extremely grateful for the efforts of the Columbus community, as well as Crew SC fans, to help us efficiently complete and fulfill the requirements and deadlines set by Major League Soccer that will help ensure the success of Crew SC on and off the field," said the new owners. “Throughout our conversations, it’s been overwhelmingly clear that Crew SC belongs in Columbus, and we are thrilled to have reached an agreement in principle to assume an ownership position in Major League Soccer and to operate Columbus Crew SC. As the stewards of Crew SC, we will always be focused on building a championship caliber team that makes the city proud, creating dynamic and memorable fan experiences and deeply engaging the community to make a positive impact.”

    As for the lawsuit, Klein said the case dismissal was done without prejudice pending the sale of the team. He says by seeking to dismiss without prejudice, the city and state, amongst other things, are signaling that they still believe the merits of their case are valid.

    “From the start, this litigation was about keeping the Crew in Columbus, and I believe we are finally there,” said Columbus City Attorney Zach Klein. “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!"

    "We ain't goin' nowhere" Save The Crew banner (WSYX/WTTE)

    DeWine thanked the new ownership group for stepping up to keep the team in Columbus.

    "I want to congratulate the Haslam and Edwards families, MLS officials, and the Columbus Partnership on their progress toward reaching a deal," said DeWine. "Of course, the Crew’s tremendous fans have been an integral part of this process, showing soccer fans across the country that the Crew belongs in Columbus. I look forward to continue following this process as it moves forward.”

    ABC 6/FOX 28 will continue to update this story.

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