Major League Soccer to end partnership with anti-gay Boy Scouts

Major League Soccer to end partnership with anti-gay Boy Scouts

NEW YORK — Its partnership is not even a year old, but Major League Soccer has announced that it will end its affiliation with the Boy Scouts of America when its when the current agreement expires at the end of the season.

League president Mark Abbott announced Friday that his organization will not renew a strategic partnership with the Boy Scouts, which was originally signed in January 2012:

“Major League Soccer’s agreement with the Boy Scouts of America expires at the end of the 2012 season and MLS does not intend the renew the agreement for a variety of business reasons.”

The timing of the announcement is curious, in that the Boy Scouts made headlines last week when it reaffirmed its policy of prohibiting gay scouts and gay and lesbian scout leaders, following a “secret” two-year review.

Abbott did not specify if the actions by the BSA affected the league’s decision to end the partnership, but many of the professional soccer league’s teams — including DC United, the Columbus Crew, and the Chicago Fire — have sponsored game promotions for LGBT groups.

In May, the Chicago Fire team had announced that it had formed a partnership with the LGBT advocacy group, Equality Illinois.

Major League Soccer has also been a sponsor of anti-discriminatory causes like “You Can Play,” an organization dedicated to ending homophobia in sports.

Under its partnership agreement with the Boy Scouts, MLS teams held “Scout Nights” at their stadiums with discounted tickets, and players would visit local troops to discuss fitness and leadership.

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