Soccer

MLS to announce plans for David Beckham’s Miami expansion bid in February

 
 
David Beckham shares a special digital signature with fans at Facebook's Offices in Hyderabad on October 30, 2013 in London, England.
David Beckham shares a special digital signature with fans at Facebook's Offices in Hyderabad on October 30, 2013 in London, England.
Ian Gavan / GETTY IMAGES

mkaufman@MiamiHerald.com

David Beckham’s plan to bring a Major League Soccer franchise to Miami is looking more and more like a reality. MLS commissioner Don Garber said Thursday that the league expects to make an announcement on the status of Beckham’s expansion plans “in early February.’’

Garber didn’t say the league was ready to award Miami a team just yet, only that there would be an announcement “on what’s going on in Miami.’’ All indications are if Beckham’s group comes up with a viable stadium plan that is acceptable to MLS executives, Miami will get a team.

“I was down there this past weekend, and I’ve been down there a lot, working with potential ownership and trying to finalize a stadium plan.” Garber told media at the MLS SuperDraft in Philadelphia Thursday. ”Right now, we’ve got a lot of work to do, and we’ll announce something in early February.”

Beckham, the English soccer and fashion icon, was given as part of his contract with the Los Angeles Galaxy the opportunity to buy an expansion franchise at a deeply discounted rate — believed to be $25 million (teams are now going for $100 million). He has teamed with business manager Simon Fuller and Miami-based billionaire Marcelo Claure, owner of Brightstar Corp., and they are working on a financial and stadium plan.

They are looking at leasing county land and privately funding a 25,000 stadium at the southwest corner of the Port of Miami.

Last month, Miami-Dade County unanimously approved a resolution last month to negotiate with Beckham’s group for the stadium.

“There’s a lot of work that needs to happen,” Garber said. “We can’t go to Miami without the right stadium solution. David understands that. The city understands that. That’s an indisputable fact. We can’t have different rules in Miami than we have in any other city.

“We want to do as much as we can to work with David and Simon Fuller to get something done as quickly as we can.”

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