Major League Soccer’s board of governors approved the planned new stadium location for David Beckham’s expansion team in Miami on Saturday and backed future MLS expansion to 28 teams.
On the eve of the 20th MLS Cup championship match between the Columbus Crew and Portland Timbers, club owners backed the deal announced a day earlier by Beckham to purchase land northwest of downtown Miami to build a stadium for what will be the North American league’s 24th team.
Expansion teams in Atlanta, Minnesota and Los Angeles are also set to join the league in the next three years. No timetable has yet been set for Miami’s entry, delayed for years as Beckham and civic leaders sought a stadium site both could support.
“We are very supportive of Miami Beckham United’s plans to locate their stadium in the City of Miami’s Overtown neighborhood,” MLS commissioner Don Garber said.
“Their vision for a world-class venue within the urban core that is accessible by mass transportation is impressive, and we believe it will be an important part of the continued revitalization of the area.
“We look forward to working with David and his partners to finalize plans to bring Major League Soccer to Miami.”
Owners also decided to add four more teams to the league but said the process and timeline for expansion to 28 clubs would be unveiled at a later time. The league has already been in discussion with groups in other cities about stadiums and teams, including Sacramento, California.
“There is no shortage of demand for MLS expansion teams and we believe the opportunity exists to grow beyond our current plans,” MLS commissioner Don Garber said. “We will evaluate how to grow the league to 28 teams and establish a process and timeline for future expansion.”
Owners approved a two-week break from June 2-14 in the MLS season next year during Copa America Centenario.
In addition, all matches on the last weekend of the 2016 campaign will be played at the same day and time.
Owners also banned any player who is declared healthy but misses the MLS All-Star Game as unable to play in his club’s next match.