Major League Soccer has confirmed that Dell Loy Hansen, owner of Real Salt Lake, is set to sell up amid an investigation into alleged racist comments made in the aftermath of player protests against police brutality.
Hansen’s company Utah Soccer Holdings owns MLS side Real Salt Lake, as well as National Women’s Soccer League team Utah Royals and second division side Real Monarchs in the United Soccer League.
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Hansen came under fierce criticism from within the sport after he went public in his condemnation of players for refusing to take the field in protest against racial injustice following the police shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man, in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
Hansen criticized the players’ decision to protest and said their protest was akin to being “stabbed.” He also stated that saying the “disrespect was profound.”
A report from The Athletic also detailed racist language allegedly used by Hansen, prompting the MLS Players’ Union, to issue a statement slamming the owner’s language, while a collective statement representing “The Black Players of the NWSL” also condemned Hansen’s statements.
Statement on Dell Loy Hansen: pic.twitter.com/49gs7Lb4I3
After taking a leave of absence, it was announced that Hansen will now look to sell the teams, and the MLS issued a statement saying they will assist in the sale and transition of the club to new owners.
“MLS will work with Mr. Hansen on supporting the sale efforts for the company and will work closely with the club’s executive staff to support the operations of the team during the transition period,” MLS Commissioner Don Garber said in a statement .
“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.”
Garber had previously issued a statement saying that he “strongly disagreed” with Hansen’s comments and that they did not reflect the views of the MLS.
NWSL Commissioner Lisa Baird said in a statement on Sunday that the sale was “in the best interest” of the women’s team and league.
“Mr. Hansen’s contributions to the league’s growth and the continued development of soccer are notable, but we agree that the decision is the right one for the future of the Royals,” she said.
Toronto FC striker Jozy Altidore also said the time was right for Hansen to leave the sport, and revealed that he could play a part in a potential ownership change.
“He needs to sell the team,” he said.
“I’m involved in a group that’s ready to purchase it. Time for change.”