FRESNO, California (KSEE) – A Fresno city councilmember and the city’s newest professional sports team are have hit a roadblock.
Fuego FC is a minor league soccer team making a return to the Central Valley and pushing to build a brand new stadium in Downtown Fresno. In a video posted online Tuesday, the team’s president called on the community to reach out to local elected officials to help speed up the process of the new stadium.
But in a Wednesday press release, City Councilmember Miguel Arias withdrew this topic from the council’s closed-door session Thursday, citing pandemic economic problems facing the city taking precedent, and Fuego FC needing to provide a more concrete financial plan for the project.
Back in December, it was announced Fuego FC would be making a return to the Central Valley in the United Soccer League (USL) League One. The team is trying to buy Selland Arena and Valdez Hall, and build a new stadium in Selland’s parking lot specific for soccer, according to Fuego FC President Chris Wilson.
“We’re going to push, we want to get this deal done,” Wilson said. “We want to provide a platform for this soccer community.”
According to Fuego FC’s website, the team is in the final stages of acquiring land in Downtown Fresno to build a soccer-specific stadium, but Councilmember Arias says the city needs to see more concrete financial information from the team before the new stadium happens.
“I thought it was important for us to slow down, and make sure we understand our current financial reality,” Arias said. “Secondly, that we honor the Better Business Act which is a current city ordinance in place.”
Arias is referring to a 2009 ordinance that states that the city must conduct proper due diligence related to private projects with a value of more than $1 million.
“Our goal though is to make sure we never put the cart before the horse,” Arias said. “We have to have basic financial information before we consider a multi-million dollar sale.”
But Wilson says the team is following protocol.
“We’re providing every bit of information they’re asking for.”
Councilmember Arias adds that he is in full support of professional soccer returning to Fresno and that Fuego FC has been a good partner for the city.