Friday's 2-0 loss to the Richmond Kickers may soon be overshadowed by a much greater loss for the Nashville Metros - or more to the point for the city of Nashville, if a published report turns out to be accurate.
Owners of the A-League's longest-operating franchise are apparently in negotiations with a small group of New York-based businessmen who are looking to purchase the team and move it to Hampton Roads, Va., for the 2002 season, according to a copyrighted story published Saturday in the Virginia-Pilot newspaper of Norfolk, Va.
The Hampton Roads Mariners folded after the 2000 season. That A-League club was the main tenant at the three-year-old $11 million Virginia Beach Sportsplex. The Metros franchise would apparently play at that facility if the deal goes through, according to the published report. As part of a settlement agreement with Virginia Beach Sportsplex, former Mariners owners Mark Garcea and Page Johnson have to deliver new ownership and a franchise to the city by July 15 or pay a penalty of more than $100,000, the story said.
The Virginia Pilot quoted Courtney Dyer, manager of Virginia Beach Convention Center and Virginia Beach Sportsplex, as saying that negotiations between the Metros current ownership, the anonymous New York-based group of potential buyers and the A-League were "in the final hours." Dyer was unavailable for comment at press time.
Metros co-owner, co-founder and general manager Devinder Sandhu was also quoted in the story as saying the franchise was entertaining offers because of its financial situation but that nothing had been finalized.
Sandhu, president of the civil and environmental engineering firm Sandhu Consultants International, told The City Paper yesterday that his comments about the team