MLS Commissioner Don Garber issues statement on San Antonio bid for MLS team
Major League Soccer Commissioner Don Garber issued the following statement regarding the status of San Antonio's bid for an MLS team:
"In order to respect the electoral process in San Antonio, Major League Soccer has refrained from any public comment on the status of the League's discussions with the City for the last five weeks, during which the City's proposal to bring a Major League Soccer team to San Antonio, affirmed in two separate City Council votes in April, was transformed into a political issue in the recent elections.
"Since being approached over a year ago by the Office of the Mayor for the City of San Antonio in an effort to bring MLS to San Antonio, MLS has negotiated in complete good faith. The product of those negotiations, which involved members of the City's staff and representatives of the City Council, was an agreement which the City determined would provide significant benefits to the City and its citizens.
"Most directly, an MLS team would have generated significant revenue and exposure for the Alamodome and the City, providing it a primary tenant and reducing the financial burden of that facility on the City. The agreement also provided for much needed improvements to the stadium, which are deemed necessary regardless of whether an MLS team played there. The effort by the City to attract an MLS team also led to a plan to develop a youth soccer complex which would address the great shortage of youth soccer fields in San Antonio.
"These benefits to the City were confirmed when the City Council voted 9-2 on April 14 to approve the proposed lease deal and again a week later when the proposal for a youth soccer complex was approved by an 8-3 vote.
"Last week, the MLS League Office received from the City Council a set of draft agreements for the final lease on the Alamodome, which were to reflect the business terms of the Memorandum of Understanding. However, these agreements instead contained many new terms that are in direct contradiction to the Memorandum of Understanding that was approved by the City Council on April 14 - - terms under which it would be impossible for any sports team to succeed in the city.
"After review of these drafts, and given the fact that the terms of the previously negotiated agreement are no longer being honored, MLS and its owners will no longer consider San Antonio as a candidate for an MLS team in 2006.
"The League will instead concentrate on the list of other cities in the running for upcoming rounds of expansion including: Toronto, Houston, Seattle, St. Louis, Rochester, Cleveland, Detroit, Milwaukee and Philadelphia. While MLS will not rule out future opportunities that may emerge in San Antonio, the League will focus on this list of expansion cities moving forward."