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107IST, Timbers Army, Rose City Riveters issue statement reiterating call for sale of Timbers, Thorns

Response comes after news of Merritt Paulson stepping down as CEO, recognizes “that this will likely be a long and complex process”

SOCCER: AUG 01 NWSL - Kansas City at Portland Thorns FC Photo by Diego Diaz/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

107IST, the Timbers Army and Rose City Riveters have issued a joint statement reiterating their call for a sale of both the Portland Timbers and Portland Thorns, and “[F]or the sale, divestment, or removal of interest/control from all professional, development, and youth soccer leagues by Peregrine Sports.”

The response comes in the wake of this morning’s announcement that Timbers and Thorns owner Merritt Paulson will be stepping down as CEO of both clubs.

“The Timbers and Thorns are one club, and this change in leadership for PTFC is a long overdue step in the process to make this club safer and better for everyone who works there,” the statement read.

But the supporters groups are quick to recognize that, “[A]s long as Merritt Paulson is an owner with a financial stake in the club, he is still in a position of power and control.”

The holding company Peregrine Sports LLC is the majority owner of PTFC, and Paulson acts as primary owner. While he will not be involved in operational decisions of either club, Paulson as of now maintains his ownership stake in the clubs.

The news today comes just over a week after the release of the U.S. Soccer investigation into abuse in the NWSL and women’s soccer, which was led by Sally Yates. The Yates report outlined the full extent of PTFC’s lack of sufficient actions to protect players on the Thorns and across the NWSL.

After the release of the report, the 107IST, Timbers Army and Rose City Riveters issued an initial statement calling for the removal of Timbers general manager and president of soccer Gavin Wilkinson and Timbers and Thorns president of business Mike Golub from both clubs, as well as the sale of both clubs.

Last week, Wilkinson and Golub were removed from their duties from PTFC. While Paulson stepping down is “an important step in the right direction,” the supporters groups still believe that a full-on sale of both clubs is a necessary step in order for the clubs and the community to fully heal.

“We support and love the players and this town,” the statement read. “[A]nd we want to express our ongoing commitment to ensuring that PTFC is a safe and welcoming place to work, both on and off the pitch.”

The statement closes with recognizing that process of selling the teams “will likely be a long and complex process,” and reiterates that the supporters groups are united and committed in the call for both clubs to be sold to new ownership.

“Change takes time — and we are in this for the long haul.”

You can read the full statement from 107IST here.