Political will key to Beckham's MLS Miami plan: Garber

Thu Oct 23, 2014 1:05pm EDT
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By Simon Evans

BRIDGETOWN Barbados (Reuters) - Major League Soccer commissioner Don Garber says an apparent lack of political will is making the bid to set up a franchise in Miami "complicated" and that David Beckham will need to find a stadium -- or no club will be formed in the city.

Former England international Beckham has an option for an MLS franchise, which he has intended to use in Miami. But he has so far had two proposals for stadium sites rejected by local politicians.

"I'm neither optimistic (nor) pessimistic," Garber told Reuters in an interview.

"It really is a very simple position we are in – if we can't get the right stadium, we can’t go to Miami.

"We have been challenged to find a site that we believe will be successful.

"We had two sites on the waterfront. Both were supported by the city mayor and the county mayor, and then we lost that support, so it is clear to me that it is a complicated market in a wide variety of ways," Garber said on the margins of the Soccerex Americas Forum, where in a panel discussion he had described Miami as a "conundrum".

MLS will expand to Florida next year when Orlando City join the league, and the growth in the south-east will continue with the addition of Atlanta in 2017.

In both cases local governments backed new stadium plans and supported the creation of MLS teams in those cities, and Garber says that is the missing ingredient in Miami.   Continued...

Don Garber (L), Major League Soccer (MLS) commissioner, exchanges working microphones with David Beckham at a news conference in Miami, Florida February, 5, 2014.  REUTERS/Andrew Innerarity