(Reuters) - Major League Soccer (MLS) owners gave support for former England captain David Beckham’s proposed Miami franchise on Saturday, a day after the team’s owners said they had secured a site for a stadium.
The Miami Beckham United bid said on Friday they had found land to build their proposed stadium in the Overtown neighborhood, close to transport links.
The MLS Board of Governors, who met on Saturday, gave tacit approval to the Miami team joining the league with it planning to expand to 24 teams by 2020.
“We are very supportive of Miami Beckham United’s plans to build a soccer stadium in the City of Miami’s Overtown neighborhood,” MLS Commissioner Don Garber said in a statement on Saturday.
”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.”
Atlanta, Los Angeles and Minnesota are joining the league in the next three years. Miami were “one step closer” of becoming the 24th team, MLS said.
MLS, however, opened a further avenue for Beckham’s consortium if they are unable to meet the 2020 expansion plans with a desire to further expand the league to 28 teams.
“There is no shortage of demand for MLS expansion teams and we believe the opportunity exists to grow beyond our current plans,” Garber said.
“We will evaluate how to grow the league to 28 teams and establish a process and timeline for future expansion.”
Possible markets for further teams include St. Louis, San Antonio, Detroit, San Diego and Sacramento, who already have a stadium plan and investors in place.
Reporting by Ben Everill in Los Angeles; Editing by Greg Stutchbury