Miami, July 18:
Former England footballer David Beckham and his partners have reached a tentative agreement with the city of Miami to build a stadium for its proposed Major League Soccer (MLS) franchise.
Located between downtown and the Miami International Airport, the site is the “preferred location” for the ex-Manchester United and Real Madrid star’s investment group, Efe quoted a spokesman for Beckham as saying.
Miami-Dade County had recommended that spot in the city’s Little Havana neighbourhood in February but had not received a positive response until now.
The site is the former location of the Orange Bowl, which was used by the Miami Dolphins and the University of Miami’s college football team.
That stadium was demolished in 2008 and the site is now occupied by Marlins Park, home of the Miami Marlins, a Major League Baseball franchise.
Beckham’s investment group held a meeting Friday with Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado, the spokesman said, describing it as “another positive step toward bringing a world-class soccer club” to the South Florida city.
The group soon hopes to share the details of the project, which will be privately funded, “with the city, the county and the community,” Beckham’s spokesman said on Friday. He added, however, that the project is still in the “early stages” and “several viable options” still exist.
Meanwhile, a spokesman for the city of Miami said Regalado will present the proposal to city commissioners, who must approve the plan before formal negotiations can begin.
Beckham, whose contract when he joined the MLS’s Los Angeles Galaxy in 2007 included the rights to own an expansion team at a discounted franchise fee, first announced his interest in building a 25,000-seat stadium in Miami in 2014.
But his previous proposals for a stadium near PortMiami were rejected due to opposition from shipping interests, cruise lines and local authorities.
The MLS has said that an expansion franchise will not be awarded to Beckham’s group until a stadium agreement is in place. (IANS)