Less than a week after Ohio's attorney general threatened legal action to keep Columbus Crew SC from leaving town, the city of Delaware joined a chorus of voices arguing against the move.
Delaware City Council on Dec. 11 unanimously passed a resolution urging team owner Anthony Precourt "to keep Crew SC in Columbus."
Although Mapfre Stadium sits about 25 miles south of Delaware on the grounds of the Ohio Expo Center, Councilman Chris Jones said he thinks the proposed relocation would have negative effects on the entire region.
"The Columbus Crew isn't just in Columbus. It's in central Ohio," he said. "It has a lot of importance to a lot of us and a financial impact for Delaware County."
Precourt announced in October he intends to move the team to Austin, Texas, if plans for a new stadium in downtown Columbus do not come together.
Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine on Dec. 8 said he is prepared to use a state law enacted in 1996, after the NFL's Cleveland Browns moved to Baltimore, to fight the Crew's potential exit. The law states a team that uses a "tax-supported facility" cannot move without giving the city it calls home six months of notice and presenting local investors or the municipality with an opportunity to buy the team.
Jones, who proposed the resolution, said its passage does not mean the city will commit any money toward keeping the team in Columbus.
"It's simply a resolution to support something that's of great importance to a lot of people in central Ohio and here in Delaware," he said.
While presenting the resolution, Jones disclosed he is a Crew season-ticket holder whose son plays in the team's youth-development program.
"It (hits) a little closer to home for me maybe than a lot of other people," he said.
Major League Soccer awarded Columbus the league's first franchise in 1994. The team moved to the league's first soccer-specific stadium, then known as Columbus Crew Stadium, in 1999.
Delaware Mayor Carolyn Riggle said she supports the resolution "by all means."