Pick whatever soccer term you want -- stoppage time, overtime, replay -- the outcome of MLS2ATX, the bid to bring an MLS team to Austin that hinges on the approval of a soccer stadium plan, remains in
An anticipated vote by the Austin City Council on the soccer stadium project Precourt Sports Ventures, the Columbus Crew owner, has proposed at McKalla Place, on city-owned land
in North Austin, was postponed from Thursday night to next Wednesday.
At the end of a tense council session at which dozens of speakers made their case for and against MLS2ATX, a motion
to postpone discussion on amendments and a vote until Wednesday was approved.
The filing of more than 20 amendments to the term sheet made an informed vote on short notice impossible. What about the girls?
One of the main points of contention during the discussion was that PSV put in its community benefits
agreement -- how it would support the community -- the MLS-mandated (boys') Development Academy program, which it estimated to cost $48 million over the initial 20 years of the stadium agreement --
slightly more than half of the almost $96 million in “direct community benefits" it proposed.
The problem is, that raised the question of what PSV would do on the girls' side. PSV's
Austin lobbyist, Richard Suttle
, said there was an agreement to support the Lonestar Soccer Club -- a big Austin club -- and its girls programs and WPSL team but no financial details were
Austin mayor Steve Adler
, who has been a major backer of the Austin MLS effort, said it was a mistake to have added the boys' DA into the community benefits agreement, and
Suttle, PSV's point-person, admitted, "We blundered." (Little of the community benefits agreement FC Cincinnati negotiated in May, for example, with groups representing Cincinnati's West End, where it
will build its soccer stadium, related to soccer.) Poison pills?
Just how next Wednesday's vote by the 11-person city council
will turn out remains to be seen. Adler had proposed the amendments be voted down.
“I think a lot of these amendments are poison pills designed to kill the deal,” Adler said,
referring to terms he believes are so onerous that PSV would back out of the deal if they were approved.
The delay comes after the PSV had hoped to get an agreement wrapped up in June.
When it didn't, it had to ask MLS for an extension until August. (The city council recesses in July.)
“We will have to ask for another extension from the league,” said Suttle
after the latest postponement.
While the future of the Crew in Columbus remains tied up in on Ohio court, PSV and MLS were hoping to get a decision on Austin wrapped up as early as
possible so they can move into temporary facilities in Austin next season. PSV statement:
“We respect the
City’s desire to take more time to consider this important project, and we will continue to work with them over the coming days. We wish to extend our sincere thanks to City Council and City
staff for their efforts as we collectively work toward a decision on August 15.”