The MLS is looking for a resolution on Miami as it plans to add a 24th team, according to league commissioner Don Garber.
There has been a noticeable lack of progress in Miami this year, where David Beckham and his group Miami Beckham United are trying to close on plans to build a stadium in Overtown. The group has been attempting to finalize the property acquisition phase of the project, and has been reported to be seeking additional investment.
The clock is ticking as those efforts unfold. It was at one point anticipated that Miami could enter the league as its 24th team, joining the MLS along with Los Angeles FC in 2018. However, the lack of progress on the stadium has raised concerns that Miami might not be ready on that schedule. According to Garber, the league needs to know sooner rather than later about whether it can proceed with plans in Miami. More from The Miami Herald:
“There is a deadline on the Miami deal,” MLS Commissioner Don Garber told reporters in Toronto, while declining to say when that deadline would arrive.
Garber said Beckham’s squad is supposed to be the 24th franchise in the 20-team league. “If they’re not going to be 24,” Garber said, “there are going to be a lot of things that we have to move around.”
A representative of Beckham says that the group is still working with the MLS to resolve the issue. Garber confirmed that the league is monitoring the situation, and is trying to work out a solution. More from The Miami Herald:
Aaron Gordon, a Miami public-relations executive representing the Beckham group in Miami, issued a statement Friday that read:
“Our partners are 100 percent committed to Miami, and we will continue working with Commissioner Garber and the league as we finalize the launch of our world-class soccer club. We’re making progress, and we appreciate the strong support of our fans as our launch draws closer.”
Garber did not mention Miami in his lengthy introductory remarks at the league’s annual meeting in Toronto. His comments on Miami came in response to a reporter’s question.
“We continue to work with the ownership group because we want a team in Miami,” Garber said. “We continue to be very engaged there.”
Garber’s comments are not a surprise. The commissioner noted in September that the league’s 24th team had not been finalized, despite previous hope that Miami would be in line to take that spot.
The lack of progress over the past year diminishes the opportunity to open a new stadium by 2018. In lieu of that Miami, will likely need a plan in place to have a temporary venue lined up until the stadium opens. Beckham’s group has previously been reported to be considering Hard Rock Stadium, the home of the NFL’s Miami Dolphins.
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