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Columbus Crew SC president pens letter to fans amid season suspension

PhotobyDanielHerlensky1 Crew.jpg
Groundbreaking for the new Crew Stadium on Oct. 10, 2019. (Credit: Daniel Herlensky)

On Thursday, Major League Soccer announced it would be suspending its season for 30 days.

Friday night, Columbus Crew SC President and General Manager Tim Bezbatchenko wrote a letter to fans addressing the coronavirus outbreak and the season suspension.

Bezbatchenko said, "these are not easy times. You are likely reading this note with at least some uncertainty or uneasiness, but please know that on behalf of everyone at Crew SC: we are thinking of you and your well-being."

Bezbatchenko said as someone who grew up cheering the Crew on from the stands, he realizes how hard it is to not have sports, which can serve as a sanctuary in times like these. However, he said it is more about soccer and sports.

"However, as a husband, father, son, neighbor and co-worker, I know this is about a lot more than soccer and sports. This is about the health and safety of everyone in our community, and that is why we stand united behind Major League Soccer’s decision yesterday to suspend the season," Bezbatchenko said.

Bezbatchenko went on to thank Crew supporters for their support over the years and said he can't wait for the team to return to the field at MAPFRE Stadium.

Here is Bezbatchenko's complete letter:

Crew SC Supporters,

Let me start off by acknowledging the obvious: these are not easy times. The current pandemic is an unprecedented moment in modern history and as it continues to evolve, we find ourselves adjusting to it every day. You are likely reading this note with at least some uncertainty or uneasiness, but please know that on behalf of everyone at Crew SC: we are thinking of you and your well-being.

As someone who grew up cheering for the Crew from the stands, I realize how difficult it is to find ourselves without a match scheduled over the next 30 days, especially when sports often serve as a sanctuary in times like these. However, as a husband, father, son, neighbor and co-worker, I know this is about a lot more than soccer and sports. This is about the health and safety of everyone in our community, and that is why we stand united behind Major League Soccer’s decision yesterday to suspend the season.

While we of course eagerly await a return to the pitch and to see all of you at MAPFRE Stadium, more than anything we want all community members to be safe.

We want you and your families to be safe. That is our number one priority.

During this pause in our season, we sincerely appreciate the concern you’ve expressed for our players and staff. Naturally, we are encouraging safe health practices for all players and staff and, like most venues, have limited stadium and training facility access to operationally essential staff at this time. As part of this, the Crew SC Shop is currently closed. The Club is also exploring contingencies as it relates to gameday and training facility staff, as well as stadium part-time workers, since we understand that the suspension of play has the potential to significantly affect these individuals.

Supporters, you have always been there for us—through thick and thin—and I would be remiss if I didn’t take the time to thank you for your continued support during this difficult time. Together, we will get through this. I continue to be amazed by the leaders throughout various sectors in our community and commend the collaboration and swift action on display to navigate unchartered waters. To all the healthcare professionals out there, we thank you especially for your tireless service and guidance through this period.

We will continue to provide updates as they become available and we look forward to having you—our supporters—return to MAPFRE Stadium as soon as it is appropriate. We are working with the league office to re-schedule the impacted games and we still expect to play a complete season. In the meantime, we urge you to take every necessary precaution to remain healthy, and to keep your families and other community members safe.


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