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United's Ownership Uncertain; After Sale Fell Through, MLS Might Take Over Operation
[FINAL Edition]
The Washington Post - Washington, D.C.
Subjects: Sports team owners; Soccer
Author: Goff, Steven
Date: Oct 12, 2000
Start Page: D.02
Section: SPORTS

Washington Soccer L.P.--a group financed primarily by a company run by billionaire industrialist George Soros and a British-based sports marketing company--has owned United's operating rights since MLS was launched in 1996. But it put the club on the market almost two years ago and apparently has not answered the league's periodic cash-calls in some time.

Details of MLS's possible takeover are sketchy, in part because of MLS's complicated single-entity structure. There are no team owners, but rather investor-operators--groups or individuals who invest in the league as a whole and are given a team to operate.

MLS has been unable to attract new money in recent years, with some potential investors saying single entity makes the league an unappealing business. MLS's primary backers are billionaire Philip Anschutz, who operates three teams; NFL owners Lamar Hunt and Robert Kraft; and New York businessmen John Kluge and Stuart Subotnik.

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