It’s been just under a week since Sacramento’s bid for an MLS expansion team officially launched, and while already doused in controversy, one major issue has been settled.
Sacramento’s bid hit a major hurdle when it was revealed last week that primary investor Kevin Nagle had submitted his expansion bid to MLS with no mention of the existing Sacramento Republic FC and its ownership group. The revelation sparked a controversy among the community, as it had been assumed that the Republic would be a part of any bid. However, with assistance from Mayor Darrell Steinberg, the two groups came to an agreement on Saturday that will allow Nagle to use the Republic FC brand for the bid while current owner Warren Smith continues to lead the team until, and if, it begins play in MLS.
The resolution of the split is good news for Sacramento’s bid, which after starting off as one of the strongest candidates, suddenly seemed very much up in the air with major questions. The two sides reportedly had been developing a rift over ownership and the use of Republic FC branding for months and with the deadline approaching, Nagle was forced to submit a bid without the team involved. Now, with both sides unified, Sacramento hopes to present as strong a bid as any candidate.
“I am extremely pleased to announce that we have reached an agreement in principle that ensures Sacramento Republic FC will be the future of MLS for Sacramento,” said Steinberg. “I thank all involved for their commitment to our city and for putting the public first.”
“At long last, Sacramento stands before MLS as one team and one community,” Nagle said in a statement released by the city. “From Day One my hope and expectation was to come together with Sacramento Republic FC as a united front.”
The league did not comment on whether the saga damaged Sacramento’s bid, but did note that they were aware of the ongoing discussions and that commissioner Don Garber had intervened several months ago to no avail.