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MLS Meeting With County Officials In Charlotte Cancelled Amid Closed Meeting Concerns

MLS Meeting With County Officials In Charlotte Cancelled Amid Closed Meeting Concerns

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Abbott and the league will visit Charlotte's proposed MLS stadium site next week
The meeting between MLS officials and Mecklenburg County (N.C.) Commissioners originally planned for Tuesday has "been canceled amid questions about whether such meetings should be closed to the public," according to Perlata & Harrison of the CHARLOTTE OBSERVER. The cancellation "follows a back and forth Wednesday about who requested that the discussions be held behind closed doors." The MLS visit "comes as city and county are considering a contentious plan to use taxpayer money" to help fund a $175M, 20,000-seat stadium. A source said that the city "will still hold a closed-door meeting with the MLS." With "tens of millions of dollars in public money on the line, Republican commissioners began lobbying this week for any meeting with MLS executives to be public." Those commissioners said that MLS was "trying to skirt the state’s Open Meeting Laws with the request" (CHARLOTTEOBSERVER.com, 7/13). MLS President & Deputy Commissioner Mark Abbott on Tuesday will lead a contingent from MLS that will meet with local officials and will visit the proposed MLS stadium. A public rally will be held that afternoon at Charlotte's First Ward Park, where the MLS execs and other special guests will address the crowd (MLS4CLT).

RESEARCH IN THE TRIANGLE: In Raleigh, Hank Tucker noted the Abbott-led group on Wednesday will meet with NASL club North Carolina FC officials about their expansion bid. A rally in downtown Raleigh will allow fans "the chance to show off their passion for the sport and desire for a top-tier team in front of MLS leaders." The visit will "feature meetings between the MLS group and local government officials and business leaders." North Carolina FC leaders also will "give an update on plans to build a new soccer stadium" (Raleigh NEWS & OBSERVER, 7/12).

BEAR WITH ME: In Cincinnati, Jason Williams reports Hamilton County (Ohio) Commissioner Todd Portune "doesn't sound like he's budging on giving" USL club FC Cincinnati public money to build a new stadium in hopes of landing an MLS expansion team. He instead has asked the Univ. of Cincinnati to partner with the county on seeing if MLS will allow the club to "play permanently at Nippert Stadium." Sources said that UC is "open to the possibility of the soccer team staying at Nippert." However, MLS is requiring expansion candidates "to have a soccer-specific stadium as part of the cost of admission" (CINCINNATI ENQUIRER, 7/14).

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