Friday’s shock news that billionaire Ron Burkle has departed as the lead investor of MLS’s expansion team in Sacramento leads to many questions, not least: What’s next?
Time will tell on that front, but in the immediate aftermath, Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg is not ready to throw in the towel on the effort to bring MLS to his city.
The Mayor’s office released a statement Friday evening in response to Burkle pulling out as Sacramento Republic owner in MLS, but said from Steinberg’s perspective, the effort isn’t yet dead.
Here is the full statement:
Sacramento’s rightful quest for Major League soccer is far from done. It took multiple stops and starts to keep the Kings. We won then, and we will win again.
I am very disappointed in Ron Burkle’s decision to step out of his October 2019 public commitment to our city.
Despite the difficult past year for our city, we have upheld every commitment to
Mr. Burkle, the league, and our community. We took major steps to welcome Major League Soccer to a new stadium in The Railyards, and we remain prepared to move forward immediately.
I greatly appreciate the support of Commissioner Don Garber and MLS. They have done right by us, and they continue to stand behind us.
We will still bring MLS to Sacramento, and we will work with the league to find a new lead investor.
We are not starting from scratch by any means. We have an approved stadium plan and an approved plan to build and pay for infrastructure. We also have the best fan base in the country – one that has shown time and time again that it can support an MLS team.
We have only begun to fight for what our city deserves.
It should be worth noting, MLS said they will be in touch with Steinberg in the coming days to determine next steps regarding a Sacramento expansion team.
So while the initial news does put the expansion effort in doubt, Mayor Steinberg says it’s not a lost cause and the fight continues.
We’ll keep you posted on more developments to the story as we learn more.
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