Dell Loy Hansen announced on Sunday that he has agreed to sell Utah Soccer Holdings, three days after the National Women’s Soccer League and Major League Soccer announced they were each beginning investigations into allegations of Hansen’s sustained history of racism.
Utah Soccer Holdings includes the Utah Royals (NWSL), Real Salt Lake (MLS) and Real Monarchs (USL).
“After deep consideration and soul-searching, my wife Julie and I agree that the best way forward for the Real Salt Lake family is to assume new ownership and a refreshed vision,” Hansen said in a statement released by the club.
Dell Loy Hansen says he will sell Utah Soccer Holdings, which includes NWSL's Utah Royals, MLS' Real Salt Lake and USL's Real Monarchs. pic.twitter.com/Zxgssy40PL
— Jeff Kassouf (@JeffKassouf) August 30, 2020
NWSL commissioner Lisa Baird said in a statement on Sunday that Hansen’s decision “is in the best interest of the club and the NWSL.”
— NWSL (@NWSL) August 30, 2020
The news comes three days after Hansen stood in opposition to his RSL players joining others across MLS and refused to play matches on Wednesday night, in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. Hansen said on Thursday that the players’ decision was “a moment of sadness” that felt like “someone stabbed” him with a knife. ” The disrespect was profound to me personally,” he said on Thursday on a local radio station which he owns.
Since then, MLS commissioner Don Garber and NWSL commissioner Lisa Baird rebuked Hansen’s views, each launching investigations into allegations of sustained racist behavior which were detailed by a story published by The Athletic on Thursday.
Utah Royals rookie Tziarra King tweeted about her opposition to Hansen’s views, and on Saturday, the NWSL’s Black players stood behind King and collectively called for Hansen to be suspended from his role. On Friday, the club announced that Hansen was taking a leave of absence during the investigation.
— Crystal Dunn Soubrier (@crysdunn_19) August 30, 2020
Hansen bought into the NWSL in late 2017, launching Utah Royals FC as an expansion team amid league uncertainty, as two-time champions FC Kansas City folded and, eventually, the Boston Breakers followed the same fate. Utah absorbed the NWSL player rights to FC Kansas City players at the time.
Utah hosted the 2020 NWSL Challenge Cup. Hansen helped fund the tournament through his various companies and facilities.
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