MLS to visit Cincinnati as FCC 'finalizes' major league bid

FC Cincinnati's Daniel Haber in studio

CINCINNATI (FOX19) - FC Cincinnati's bid to join Major League Soccer could be in the home stretch, but there's still some work to be done.

MLS Commissioner Don Garber and league executives are scheduling a visit to Cincinnati to meet with club ownership, FCC said in a statement released Wednesday.

After months of stadium talk, the meeting is a promising step for FCC. It will likely happen in the next two to three weeks, a source told FOX19 NOW.

That source also said that "assuming all agreements get done" on the visit, an official MLS announcement would be the next step.

Before the expansion bid is finalized, the club must cross some red tape related to its proposed West End stadium.

"While extraordinary progress has been made, all of our work must be finalized – including various legal agreements with the City, Port, County and CPS and assessment of our interim MLS Nippert Stadium plan – before our bid will be 100 percent complete for final review," the statement read.

Cincinnati is up against Sacramento and Detroit to win the expansion bid.

"We've come extraordinarily far in such a short time, but before we have the opportunity to earn a place in Major League Soccer, we must have complete due diligence to ensure a success and focused on that at this time," the statement said.

Last December, MLS admitted Nashville into the league with an announcement in Music City. Club president and General Manager Jeff Berding hinted that a similar path is possible for Cincinnati.

"If we're going to have something happen, I assume it will be in-market here," Berding said in an interview last month.

Berding also noted the timing of Nashville's expansion. The club pitched their bid to league officials in New York on Dec. 6. About two weeks later, Nashville was officially confirmed as the MLS's 24th franchise.

Berding and owners Carl Linder and David Thompson visited Los Angeles last weekend for the opening of LAFC's new stadium. As guests of Major League Soccer, FCC's ownership had "discussions" about their expansion bid with MLS executives.

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