Erick Thohir denies rumors about selling D.C. United

Patrick McDermott

Breathe regular, people.

Yesterday, we shared the rumor from the Italian business press that D.C. United moneyman Erick Thohir was considering offloading his stake in United to help him cover the pre-existing debts of Inter, which he apparently personally guaranteed upon assuming the presidency of the Italian club. With the inevitable next-day follow up, we now have an official denial, in both English and Italian (both apparently translated from reports in Indonesian media):

I want to clarify that both Inter and DC United are part of my football ‘portfolio'. These resources are both an integral part of my investment in the sports world overseas and I am aiming to grow the brands of both the clubs. I deny then, without misunderstanding, the rumours in the media about the possible sale of DC United. My commitment and my dedication is to both clubs and is concentrated on producing results for both, on and off the field.

As many pointed out, selling United now wouldn't make much sense, as the club's value stands to increase dramatically when (and if) a stadium ever gets built. While selling his stake would potentially absolve Thohir of any responsibilities for financing the club's $150 million commitment to fund all of the stadium's construction, offloading United now would still look like a short-sighted, "sell low" sort of move.

What was interesting from this whole 24-hour ordeal (if we can call it that) was the number of D.C. United fans whose reaction was positive to the news. It's no secret that the club has developed a reputation among its supporters for cost-cutting since the arrival of Thohir and his business partner Jason Levien - laying off popular back office personnel and failing or refusing to bring in talent from abroad on par with other teams around MLS. For some fans, news that Thohir might be making way for another "rich uncle" investor was good. Others (like me) worried that Thohir might be bailing out by selling to somebody with lesser means to finance the stadium project. For better or worse, though, Thohir appears to be sticking around.

Which means the stadium push is on exactly the same path it was on before this rumor broke. As you were, people.

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