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Beckham group say Miami MLS deal will succeed

MIAMI: David Beckham’s business group say his plan to bring a Major League Soccer team to Miami will happen and that they hope to have “positive and exciting news” soon.

The comments come after Major League Soccer commissioner Don Garber told Reuters on Tuesday that the search for a home for Beckham’s proposed team “can’t go on forever” and noted a number of other cities were lining up for expansion spots in the growing North American league.

Beckham announced in February his intention to exercise his option to own a MLS team but two proposed waterfront venues for the team in downtown Miami were subsequently rejected by local politicians.

Garber has repeatedly stated that a Miami team will be allowed in the league if a well-located stadium venue is found.

“The reality is that everything is progressing very well,” said a spokesperson for Miami Beckham United, the group set up to launch the prospective team.

“Miami is still David’s number one choice and it will happen. The fans and the people of Miami are behind us and we hope to announce some positive and exciting news soon.”

The MLS board of governors will hear a report from the league’s expansion committee on Saturday and Garber indicated that they would aim to make some decisions on new franchises in the first half of 2015.

The league will grow to 20 teams in 2015 with the addition of New York City FC and Orlando City FC, followed by Atlanta and a second LA-based team in 2017.

The Beckham group have previously stated that their goal is to enter the league in 2017.

Garber has stated he wants to see 24 teams in MLS by the end of the decade and the league has recently held talks with potential ownership groups from Minnesota, Sacramento and Las Vegas.

“We have also been in discussions with San Antonio, El Paso and St. Louis. They are just not as far along for the next round,” said Garber.

It is unclear whether Beckham’s option would be able to be switched to another city with Garber declining to discuss that aspect.

The Beckham group includes Bolivian billionaire Marcelo Claure, CEO of telecoms company Sprint, and Simon Fuller, a long-time business associate who was creator of the Idol franchise of televised musical contests. -Reuters

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