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David Beckham suffers further setback to MLS plans

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David Beckham's MLS franchise plans are facing fresh delays as a vote on his Miami-based stadium is scheduled after concerns were raised during a meeting of the City Commission.

Beckham had presented plans to the Commission on July 12, and the latest meeting was expected to rubber stamp the Freedom Park Complex. 

Beckham negotiated the right to acquire an MLS expansion franchise when he joined LA Galaxy in 2007 with the clause in his contract allowing him to purchase for just $25 million.

With the growth in the strength of MLS and increased investment, the price of a new expansion in 2018 is around $150 million.

In 2014, Beckham announced that he intended to exercise the right in his contract and that he had selected Miami as the location for his new franchise, however, since this point things have rarely run smoothly. 

The past four years have seen Beckham's group face repeated local opposition to every stadium site that they proposed with PortMianmi, downtown Miami and another location near Marlins Park in little Havana being vetoed.

Marlins Park is an important name in this story with the home of the Florida Marlins being a byword for lopsided public-private funding disasters in the locality.

The Marlin's ownership managed to persuade the county to put up $2.4 billion of residents money to fund their plans.

When the stadium opened, they promptly sold-off the majority of the strength in their team which has never been replaced and which has left taxpayers with the bill.

BRITAIN-ROYALS-AWARD

Beckham's group's latest plans to include their 28,000-seater Miami stadium also encompasses the redevelopment of Melreese Municipal Golf Course, retail space, office space and 58 acres of parkland.

The land they have selected is City owned and lies near to Miami International Airport and a major train station.

The latest meeting with the City Commission sparked protests from local residents who gathered outside the City Hall and several spoke in opposition to the plans.

In the meeting, questions were raised concerning the lack of transparency regarding increased local traffic and the environmental impacts of the project.

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City Commissioner Ken Russell has sought a six-day delay to study the proposal more carefully and to speak with Beckham and his team. 

If Beckham secures passage of the proposal, it will go to the November election ballot to be voted on directly by Miami residents.

The commission will undoubtedly be seeking assurances from team Beckham about their continued investment in the franchise to avoid a repeat of the Marlin's disaster.

With local residents having the final say in November, this saga is far from over.

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Topics:
MLS Cup
MLS
MLS Eastern Conference
MLS SuperDraft
MLS Western Conference
David Beckham
Football
England Football

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