New York City FC will join MLS in 2015. The new team is a partnership between the New York Yankees and (major party) Manchester City FC, aka Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan from the United Arab Emirates. As these things tend to be, it is a complicated arrangement.
The Empire Supporters Club, a fan group from the New York region that supports New York Red Bulls, raised an interesting point that had nothing to do with whether Thierry Henry or Tim Cahill is “better” than any future NYCFC signing. A statement read, in part:
The Empire Supporters Club is surprised and frankly disappointed that Major League Soccer would choose to do business with Sheikh Mansour, the deputy prime minister and member of the ruling family of the United Arab Emirates, a nation where homosexuality is viewed as a crime punishable by death. After many years of good work done by the league to eradicate homophobia from the stands and the field, it seems like a massive step back to welcome homophobia to the owner’s box, but it appears Major League Soccer will ignore its own “Don’t Cross the Line” initiative if the price is right.
It’s a riff that is getting some play. Daniel Dromm, a local council member opposed to the idea of taking public land to construct a stadium said: “I was shocked to read in the New York Times that the Bloomberg Administration is negotiating to give NYC parkland away to Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed al-Nahyan, an oil billionaire that helps rule a country where gays or lesbians is a crime punishable by death. This is outrageous. This is also a country where gay and lesbian people could be subject to chemical castration. It is totally unacceptable.”
Here’s a link to the U.S. State Department’s 2012 Country Report on Human Rights Practices for the United Arab Emirates.