June 9 – Four years after starting proceedings, a consortium headed by David Beckham has cleared a crucial hurdle in bringing a Major League Soccer franchise back to Miami.
In a 9-4 vote, Miami-Dade County commissioners decided to allow Miami Beckham United to buy three acres of county land in order to build a 25,000-seater stadium.
“Miami is ready,” said Tim Leiweke, one of the partners in Beckham’s group. “We are committed. And the city and the county have now taken the necessary steps for us to control our own destiny for a privately financed, world-class soccer stadium for Major League Soccer.”
Beckham’s group will pay just over $9 million for the three-acre plot having already forked out $19 million for the other six acres needed. Leiweke said a new team could start playing in 2020.
“Now is the time for MLS to move forward in helping us deliver the soccer club that Miami has been waiting for,” Beckham’s group said in a statement after the vote which was preceded by several members of the community urging commissioners to reject the deal, mostly citing noise and traffic concerns.
MLS lured the former England captain to the Los Angeles Galaxy in 2007 with a deal that included an option to purchase an expansion franchise. But finding suitable land has proved difficult.
Beckham had been unable to proceed with the waterfront land his group first coveted and although the league has still not given the franchise final approval, Leiweke said: “He will be a happy man today.”
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