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Amid Austin Roadblocks, MLS Says It's Open To Keeping Crew In Columbus

As the Columbus Crew struggles to find a suitable site for its stadium in Austin, Texas, Major League Soccer commissioner Don Garber says the league is open to the possibility of keeping the team in its hometown.

Last year, Garber and Crew owner Anthony Precourt worked together to push a move to Austin. But now, Garber told Sports Illustrated that he's not sure how the situation will shake out. 

Garber said MLS is "as focused on keeping the team there (in Columbus) as Anthony is working to try to see if there are any other alternatives."

Precourt Sports Ventures singled out the public land-site Butler Shores as its preferred area for a 20,000 seat soccer stadium. That site was also identified by The Austin Parks and Recreation Department as a potential site. But in December, the Zilker Neighborhood Association asked Austin to remove Butler Shores from consideration.

Precourt said in a statement that it recognizes some people in Austin have reservations about locating a soccer stadium on parkland.

"As we have stated from the onset of this process, finding the right site for a stadium will be of the utmost importance as we contemplate bringing MLS to Austin," Precourt wrote.

Austin City Council is expected to debate a resolution to take parkland off the table for a stadium site in February. Meanwhile, Precourt Sports Ventures will presents its research about Butler Shores' suitability as a stadium site to Austin City Council February 15.

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