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Sacramento FC's lead investor Ron Burkle has pulled out of plans to acquire an MLS franchise due to the coronavirus pandemic, thrusting the league's Northern California expansion agenda into doubt.
Sacramento had originally been slatedto start play in 2022 after being awarded a place in the U.S. top-flight, but that date had been previously pushed back amid the Covid-19 crisis.
"Earlier today, Ron Burkle informed the league that based on issues with the project related to Covid-19, he has decided to not move forward with the acquisition of an MLS expansion team in Sacramento," MLS wrote in a statementon its website.
"After working for many years to bring an MLS team to Sacramento, the league continues to believe it can be a great MLS market. In the coming days, the league will work with Mayor Darrell Steinberg to evaluate possible next steps for MLS in Sacramento."
MLS commissioner Don Garber extended an additional note to the franchise.
"I want to thank Sacramento mayorDarrell Steinberg for his continued efforts to bring MLS to Sacramento," Garber said."His commitment to the city and delivering for its passionate soccer fans should make all citizens of Sacramento proud.
"Interest in owning a club in Major League Soccer has never been higher. And I remain incredibly optimistic about finalizing expansion plans for our 30th team."