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MLB files motion to force sale of LA Dodgers

(Reuters) - Major League Baseball asked a bankruptcy court on Friday to approve the swift sale of the Los Angeles Dodgers instead of allowing owner Frank McCourt to pursue a refinancing plan that would enable him to maintain control of the bankrupt team.

The Dodgers filed for Chapter 11 protection in June after the league rejected a proposed $3 billion deal for future television rights, in part because some of that money was earmarked for McCourt's personal use.

The parking lot tycoon contends that the rejection forced the cash-starved team into bankruptcy.

The league said in a motion filed Friday with the court that it has no intention of approving a sale of the team's media rights, and that any attempt to sell the rights without its approval might result in the team's termination from the league.

MLB's motion sought the early termination of an exclusivity period for McCourt to propose a reorganization plan to emerge from bankruptcy.

The Dodgers in a statement called the motion "meritless" and said it would file a response to the League's motion with the court early next week.

"The alternative offered today by Major League Baseball really amounts to an unnecessary and value destroying distressed sale of the Los Angeles Dodgers," the Dodgers said.

The case is In re: Los Angeles Dodgers LLC, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, District of Delaware, No. 11-12010.

(Reporting by Abhiram Nandakumar in Bangalore; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)