A day after David Beckham’s bid to place a Major League Soccer (MLS) franchise in Miami was dealt a major blow, MLS Commissioner Don Garber appeared to give the international soccer icon little wiggle room. Addressing reporters outside Stade Saputo in Montreal, Garber said the setback for Beckham’s plans “puts us back to square one.”
The MLS Commissioner continued by reiterating the league’s established policy of having a soccer specific stadium in a viable location.
“We cannot go to Miami unless we have not just a viable, but a very, very strong downtown location for a city that will be provided with a Major League Soccer franchise that can privately finance a stadium, to do it with one of the soccer world’s most important and significant icons and to make a commitment to make it one of the better teams, or most important teams, in North America.”
Questions about the viability of the Southern Florida market where MLS previously folded a team continue to dog the Beckham bid and today Garber raised this publicly.
“If I were living in Miami and I was a person that was able to provide levels of support so that we would agree to go there, I would think that that would be a pretty remarkable achievement for anybody If you can’t find the right place to play, it would be suicide for us to go anywhere. And certainly down to Miami where we have failed once before.”
Orlando City SC makes the move from USL PRO to MLS next season and it was thought that a Miami franchise would follow in quick succession to create a natural rival for the Lions. But with Beckham having exhausted the two most desirable downtown options he had, Orlando will likely have the only MLS franchise in Florida for several years.