Miami (AFP) – David Beckham is set to learn next month whether his long-gestating plans for a Major League Soccer franchise in Miami will come to fruition, it was reported on Friday.
The Miami Herald said the Miami-Dade County Commission would rule on June 6 whether or not to approve the transfer of a three-acre site valued at $9 million that is key to a proposed stadium project.
If the county declines to approve the land transfer, Beckham’s hopes of launching an MLS team in Miami in time for the 2021 season will be plunged into fresh uncertainty.
“This is, frankly, I believe, our last opportunity here for Miami to have Major League Soccer,” Miami-Dade County mayor Carlos Gimenez told the Herald.
Beckham’s consortium needs the land sale to go through in order to build a 25,000-seat stadium on a nine-acre site in Miami’s Overtown district. The group has already purchased adjacent parcels of land.
Beckham announced in 2014 that he intended to bring a team to the South Florida city, exercising an option he had to create a new franchise.
But the former England, Manchester United and Real Madrid midfielder has faced problems finding a stadium deal, failing with bids for three other potential locations amid local opposition.
Major League Soccer chiefs, meanwhile, have warned Beckham’s group that the clock is ticking on their franchise plans and that the league will not grant an open-ended time-frame to get the new expansion team off the ground.
Members of the Beckham consortium made a presentation to residents of Overtown on Wednesday to outline their plans for the site.
Tim Leiweke, who is handling negotiations for the group, admitted the consortium had faced “issues.”
“We have had bumps in the road,” he said, adding that no public money would be used for the stadium project.
Although the proposed stadium would not open until 2021, Leiweke said the new team could launch before that by playing at the Marlins Park baseball ground or the Miami Dolphins’ Hard Rock Stadium.