Phoenix FC has new owners.
The news was finally announced by USL PRO Monday morning:
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This ownership isn’t entirely new. Tim Donald was the interim president when the club released former President Tim Thomas from his duties last April. ODFC news has heard that Donald had put in his own capital to help Phoenix FC sustain itself through a harrowing inaugural season in 2013.
Donald, though, was never a member of BDR Sports, LLC, the group started by Rui Filipe Bento (the team’s Managing Director through the 2013 season) that built Phoenix FC from the ground up. ODFC news reported in November that United Soccer Leagues terminated the franchise rights of BDR Sports, LLC, with the stipulation that the organization may award the franchise territory to another group.
It is not known whether any of the former owners will play a part in the 2014 season, though, we have heard that could be the case. BDR Sports, LLC had been looking for a new group to take majority ownership of Phoenix FC since the latter portion of the 2013 season with hopes its members would still manage the team.
According to American Soccer Marketing, LLC’s Articles of Organization, Tim Donald is the sole manager/member.
The change in team ownership may help BDR Sports, LLC a lawsuit filed against the club in September — Thomas vs. BDR Sports, LLC, in which Thomas accused the group of several unlawful incidents including unlawful termination. But having a third party take over controlling interest of the club may allow the lawsuit to go away.
A group trying to bring a NASL club to Oklahoma City used the same tactic in July, shifting ownership to avoid a lawsuit filed against it by a separate group that wanted to bring a USL PRO franchise to Oklahoma City.
We reported in October that Phoenix FC signed a deal to play next season at Peoria Sports Complex. That deal should still be in place.