SBD/November 29, 2012/Franchises

Payne's Role With Toronto FC In Line With Others Under MLSE's Management Structure

Payne said that he wants to mold TFC into one of the top teams in the league by '15
MLS club Toronto FC by hiring President Kevin Payne “fell in line with the other two major-pro franchises under the auspices of Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment Ltd. in having a dedicated administrator running affairs,” according to Paul Attfield of the GLOBE & MAIL. Payne will be “tasked with lifting TFC to the top table of the city’s sports teams.” Attfield: “No longer can TFC complain that its affairs were being muddled by soccer neophyte” MLSE President & COO Tom Anselmi. Given his track record at DC United, Payne “might actually do the impossible and restore some of the lustre that has been eroding almost since the day TFC took the field for the first time in 2007.” Payne has “the glowing endorsement of the incumbent management team.” Head coach and Dir of Soccer Operations Paul Mariner said, “I think it’s probably the best signing that we’ll make” (GLOBE & MAIL, 11/29). In Toronto, Daniel Girard writes Payne has “an ambitious roadmap.” Payne is “looking to take the side that had its worst season yet in 2012 and finished dead last in Major League Soccer and turn it into a potential playoff team in 2013, a ‘realistic competitor’ to win the East in 2014 and ‘one of the top teams’ in the league by 2015.” Payne said, “That may be a challenge. That may be a stretch. But I think we have to have a sense of where we’re trying to go” (TORONTO STAR, 11/29).

WASHINGTON'S MONUMENT? In DC, Daniel Sernovitz reported DC United officials are “still pushing forward with plans to develop a new soccer stadium in the Washington region” despite the resignation of Payne, who was "an advocate for those efforts.” DC United Senior VP/Marketing Communications Doug Hicks said, “We are working through a process and have made some real progress. We have a team that’s dedicated to that effort and that work continues.” DC and team officials have said that they “would like to see a stadium built at Buzzard Point, and both sides have acknowledged ongoing negotiations.” But Hicks said that the team is “still weighing all of its options and would not rule out the prospect of a new stadium being built in Maryland or Virginia instead” (BIZJOURNALS.com, 11/28).
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