The President of La Liga, Javier Tabas, has approved a move by Rayo Vallecano to purchase the proposed NASL expansion team Oklahoma City FC. While nothing has been publically confirmed as of yet, reports from Spain are that Rayo are set to buy the majority shares in the expansion franchise. The move would make Rayo the first La Liga club to have controlling interest in a U.S. based club.
Fans may remember that the proposed expansion franchise was originally supposed to being league play in the NASL in 2015. The club, however, has been locked in ownership and right’s debates for the past few years. The problem arose when one of the partners in team ownership, Tim McLaughlin, bought a 50% share in a USL side rival franchise, Oklahoma City Energy. There has been an ongoing lawsuit between the two leagues and respective clubs over this matter.
It was reported by Empire of Soccer that the expansion franchise Oklahoma City FC was officially dead. This recent news is surely warmly welcomed by the NASL who desperately need to expand out west. Currently their only team in the Western United States is the San Antonio Scorpions.
The move is not yet official. Though it has been approved by Javier Tabas, the president of La Liga, it will still need to be approved by the NASL commissioner Bill Peterson. One would expect, after the instability in the ownership problem that Oklahoma City FC has experienced in recent years that he would welcome the stable ownership from Rayo Vallecano. It would appear that expansion effort in Oklahoma is not over just yet. It will be interesting to see how this develops.