It seems Republic FC fans aren’t the only ones confused by Tuesday’s MLS expansion bid submission.
Today, the club released a statement expressing its surprise regarding the rumors that Sacramento’s MLS application was not submitted in Republic FC’s name and pledging to take appropriate action if they are found to be true.
Club Statement on MLS application: pic.twitter.com/dStWnJjpnl— Republic FC (@SacRepublicFC) February 1, 2017
If that seems odd to you, that’s because it is.
Even before the Republic-less images of Sacramento’s formal bid submission made the rounds online, the club had been completely radio silent on the subject in the days leading up to Tuesday.
The silence was strange considering that this was the moment fans had been waiting for. After almost two years of flirting with Sacramento about its MLS prospects, the league had finally given Republic a clear path to an expansion bid via its application process and Tuesday’s bid was the culmination of the blood, sweat and beers poured into it all. It was a landmark for the club that you imagine would have been shouted about from the top of the Tower Bridge.
Instead, fans received a brief update on the team’s off-season training camp in Mexico. Unsurprisingly, when the images of the bid submission surfaced online, alarms went off that something wasn’t right.
There’s another strange factor in all this.
Kevin Nagle, Republic’s managing partner and lead investor, told the Sacramento Bee yesterday that his corporation, Sac Soccer & Entertainment Holdings—whose name the formal bid was submitted under instead of Republic’s—is negotiating with team founder Warren Smith to obtain the rights to the Republic FC brand if the bid for MLS status is successful, as his corporation does not currently control those rights. Based on Republic’s statement today, either Nagle is going back on his word to use the Republic brand in MLS, or Republic officials knew this was coming and are leveraging the public outcry to bolster their negotiations.
Today should hopefully shed more light on the matter. Nagle told the Sacramento Business Journal in an email this morning that the situation is a misunderstanding.
“Someone will be in touch shortly to clear up any facts and or misunderstandings,” he said according to Ben van der Meer’s article.
We will update as more information is released.