Clock tick­ing on Beck­ham’s Mi­ami plan: MLS com­mis­sioner

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

David Beck­ham’s pro­tracted ef­forts to bring a Ma­jor League Soc­cer team to Mi­ami are com­ing up against a dead­line, league com­mis­sioner Don Gar­ber said Fri­day.

Beck­ham an­nounced nearly three years ago that he in­tended to bring a team to the South Florida city, ex­er­cis­ing an op­tion he had to cre­ate a new fran­chise.

But the for­mer Eng­land, Manch­ester United and Real Madrid mid­fielder has faced prob­lems find­ing a sta­dium deal rais­ing questions over the vi­a­bil­ity of the project.

MLS’s board are meet­ing on Thurs­day to dis­cuss fur­ther ex­pan­sion plans for the league and the Beck­ham sit­u­a­tion will be on the agenda. “There is a dead­line on the Mi­ami deal. I am not go­ing to share that dead­line, it is an agree­ment we have with David and (his busi­ness part­ner) Si­mon Fuller,” Gar­ber told re­porters. “But ... we need to re­solve the Mi­ami sit­u­a­tion so that we can go for­ward with our ex­pan­sion plans for (ex­pan­sion) teams 25-28 be­cause they are team 24 and if they are not go­ing to be 24 there are go­ing to be a lot of things that need to move around and it is some­thing we will dis­cuss at our board meet­ing,” he said.

“We may or may not come out of that meet­ing with any­thing de­fin­i­tive that we will an­nounce pub­licly as it re­lates to Mi­ami,” added Gar­ber. MLS will add its 21st and 22nd teams next sea­son with At­lanta United and Min­nesota United join­ing the league. A new Los An­ge­les fran­chise will join in 2018 with Beck­ham’s Mi­ami team pro­jected to be the next in line. “There is a timetable and we con­tinue to work with our own­er­ship group be­cause we want a team in Mi­ami. We try to do ev­ery­thing we can to en­sure we have the right recipe for suc­cess as we are build­ing clubs that we would like to be there for the rest of time,” said Gar­ber.

“We con­tinue to to be very en­gaged there. We have reached agree­ment on land, we have in­vestor groups, we have all sorts of com­mu­nity is­sues ... zon­ing is­sues and it is all hap­pen­ing in real time,” he said.

Af­ter an­nounc­ing his plan in Fe­bru­ary 2014, Beck­ham had pro­pos­als for sta­di­ums at two dif­fer­ent wa­ter­front sites re­jected by lo­cal politi­cians. A plan to build a sta­dium next to the Mi­ami Mar­lins base­ball park also fell through and Beck­ham’s group are now work­ing on a site in the Over­town dis­trict of the city. — AFP

David Beck­ham

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