Monday, March 20, 2023

NWSL Board of Governors approves structural changes of Washington Soccer Properties; Y. Michele Yang’s shares

Y. Michele Kang Washington Spirit NWSL
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The National Women’s Soccer League Board of Governors announced their unanimous approval of changes to the structure and makeup of Washington Soccer Properties ownership group — the official managing party of Washington Spirit. The recent announcement comes after a several months long saga between majority owner Steve Baldwin, club founder Bill Lynch, and minority investor Y. Michele Kang. 

With preseason approaching for the league on February 1, it was reported by The Athletic that Kang had obtained control of voting interest within the club through agreements with other minority investors. By converting their debt into equity, she potentially gained the right to vote on franchise matters — like a club sale from Baldwin to potential buyers other than her. The bold move led to meetings with the NWSL Board of Governors on the validity and vetting processes.

NWSL Board of Governors released the following joint statement:

“Our collective focus is to create the best environment for the Washington Spirit players, fans, and team employees, and to operate the NWSL in a manner that supports excellence on the field of play and in front offices around the league. Our priority is determining what is in the best interest of the NWSL, Washington Spirit, its players, and the D.C. soccer community. We believe Y. Michele is fully committed to elevating this club and delivering for its players and it is now a matter for WSP shareholders to determine who holds a controlling interest. We are committed to allowing the required ownership process to be resolved in the appropriate, orderly manner. We will provide any additional updates once that process has taken place.”

Though the board has approved the transfer of shares to Kang, the league clarified that Washington Soccer Properties will next determine that she has gained a controlling interest, and said they will provide updates once the process takes place.

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