That Columbus Ohio Major League Soccer team is facing growing resistance in its effort to move the franchise to Austin, a move that would essentially squeeze San Antonio out of its chance to obtain an MLS franchise, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.
Austin City Council member Ann Kitchen says she will oppose plans by the Columbus Crew to build a privately funded soccer stadium near Zilker Park.
"Where we have ACL (Austin City Limits), we have the Trail of Lights, we have Blues on the Green," she said. "This isn't just about parking, there is a lot more to it than that."
She says residents who live in the Zilker Park area are not embracing the idea of MLS soccer.
"The folks that live around the Butler Shores area, as well as neighborhoods close by in Zilker and Barton Hills, are very upset and concerned about the proposal of using Butler Shores," she said. "I share their concern."
And Ohio may also not allow the Crew to get away without a fight.
Ohio Attorney General Michael DeWine says, because the Crew received state tax money, the franchise is bound by laws that were passed after the Cleveland Browns moved to Baltimore in 1995.
“The Ohio Attorney General’s Office has reviewed the law passed after the Browns’ move. We believe the evidence will show that this law would apply to the Columbus Crew and Mapfre Stadium," DeWine said in a statement. "As Attorney General, should ownership of the Columbus Crew initiate a move of the team without complying with Ohio law, I am prepared to take the necessary legal action under this law to protect the interests of the State of Ohio and the central Ohio communities which have all invested to make the Columbus Crew a proud part of our Ohio sports tradition and help Mapfre Stadium earn its reputation as ‘Fortress Columbus.’”
The plans by the Columbus franchise to move to Austin has already strained relations between Bexar County and the MLS, with County officials recently backing away from threats to sue the league over what it claims were 'misreprentations' made by MLS officials about the chances of San Antonio getting an MLS franchise.
Spurs Sports and Entertainment, which would own the MLS team, backed away from the competition for the first round of expansion franchises that were announced last week due largely to the Columbus controversy, but SS&E says San Antonio is still in the running for two future expansion teams.