Could a law passed after the Browns moved to Baltimore keep the - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Could a law passed after the Browns moved to Baltimore keep the Crew in Columbus?

Mapfire (Source: Rick Dikeman) Mapfire (Source: Rick Dikeman)
COLUMBUS, OH (FOX19) -

Attorney General Mike DeWine's office is reviewing the Ohio Revised Code in response to the Columbus Crew's potential move to Austin, Texas.

In June 1994, Columbus was presented with one of the original 10 Major League Soccer clubs. In 1999, then-Crew Stadium (now Mapfire Stadium) was christened, making it the league's first soccer-specific stadium.

But, as the saying goes, that was then and this is now. According to the Columbus Dispatch, talks between team and city of Columbus officials regarding a new downtown stadium have not yet produced results.

Hence the chatter about a move to Austin.

But a new wrinkle in the story emerged Thursday when DeWine released a statement that mentions the Cleveland Browns:

When ownership moved the Cleveland Browns to Baltimore in 1995, the Ohio General Assembly took action and passed a law to protect Ohio and its communities when they provide tax-funded support for professional teams’ stadiums.

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 Mapfire Stadium.

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.’

MLS now asks that clubs seeking to enter the league have plans to build soccer-specific stadiums. This topic has recently been much-discussed in the Tri-State, as FC Cincinnati vies for an MLS 2020 expansion bid.

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