September 1 – The owner of a Major League Soccer franchise in the United States is selling up amid allegations of racism.
Dell Loy Hansen, owner of the Real Salt Lake, says he is offloading Utah Soccer Holdings which includes the MLS club, the Utah Royals of the National Women’s Soccer League and the United Soccer League’s Real Monarchs.
The decision comes after reports that both MLS and the NWSL were investigating Hansen over claims by former employees and others that he had made racist statements and used a racial slur.
“I recognize that at times I have spoken too quickly, without pausing to consider the feelings or good intentions of others,” Hansen said in a statement announcing the proposed sale.
“This is not acceptable and I assume full responsibility for allowing my words to travel unfiltered as to their significance and impact. I believe that communities are strengthened by diversity. I am truly sorry for offending and being insensitive to the plight of others.”
Hansen had come under fire for criticising players for refusing to take the field in protest against the police shooting of Jacob Blake, in Kenosha, Wisconsin, that has made global headlines. He had apparently denounced the players’ decision to protest and likened it to being “stabbed”.
The MLS Players Association described the allegations against him as “sickening” and had urged the league to suspend him. “He needs to sell the team,” American striker Jozy Altidore was quoted as saying. “I’m involved in a group that’s ready to purchase it. Time for change.”
Major League Soccer said it would work with Hansen to bring about new ownership.
“I want to acknowledge Dell Loy Hansen’s significant efforts to build the sport of soccer in the state of Utah and for his commitment to Major League Soccer,” MLS Commissioner Don Garber said.
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