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Clock ticking on Beckham’s Miami plan – MLS chief

Former MLS player David Beckham, seen in April 2016, announced nearly three years ago that he intended to bring a team to the South Florida city, exercising an option he had to create a new franchise © Getty/AFP/File / Ethan Miller

TORONTO, Canada, Dec 10 – David Beckham’s protracted efforts to bring a Major League Soccer team to Miami are coming up against a deadline, league commissioner Don Garber said Friday.

Beckham announced nearly three years ago 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 raising questions over the viability of the project.

MLS’s board are meeting on Thursday to discuss further expansion plans for the league and the Beckham situation will be on the agenda.

“There is a deadline on the Miami deal. I am not going to share that deadline, it is an agreement we have with David and (his business partner) Simon Fuller,” Garber told reporters.

“But … we need to resolve the Miami situation so that we can go forward with our expansion plans for (expansion) teams 25-28 because they are team 24 and if they are not going to be 24 there are going to be a lot of things that need to move around and it is something we will discuss at our board meeting,” he said.

“We may or may not come out of that meeting with anything definitive that we will announce publicly as it relates to Miami,” added Garber.

MLS will add its 21st and 22nd teams next season with Atlanta United and Minnesota United joining the league.

A new Los Angeles franchise will join in 2018 with Beckham’s Miami team projected to be the next in line.

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“There is a timetable and we continue to work with our ownership group because we want a team in Miami. We try to do everything we can to ensure we have the right recipe for success as we are building clubs that we would like to be there for the rest of time,” said Garber.

“We continue to to be very engaged there. We have reached agreement on land, we have investor groups, we have all sorts of community issues … zoning issues and it is all happening in real time,” he said.

After announcing his plan in February 2014, Beckham had proposals for stadiums at two different waterfront sites rejected by local politicians.

A plan to build a stadium next to the Miami Marlins baseball park also fell through and Beckham’s group are now working on a site in the Overtown district of the city.

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