MLS commissioner Don Garber says he backs David Beckham and his investment group to seal a deal to build a soccer-specific stadium and bring an expansion team to south Florida.
Beckham and his partners at Miami Beckham United are searching for a new location for their proposed stadium after several complications — including the inability to purchase of several necessary parcels from individual landowners — emerged with a proposed site near Marlins Park in Little Havana.
Miami Beckham United is planning to pursue other alternatives with private landowners elsewhere in the city, perhaps in Overtown or near Miami International Airport. The group has fielded interest from several private investors willing to sell their land, according to a statement issued Monday.
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Garber said Beckham and his partners are evaluating one new site in particular with an eye towards completing the deal.
"It is a very real-time process that we’re going through right now," Garber told FOX Soccer by phone on Tuesday. "There’s a new site they’re looking at. We’ve been working with Tim Leiweke and the Beckham group on ensuring that it could be a site that makes sense for the club. Hang tight because it’s hopefully going to come to some conclusion soon, though I’m not sure what the exact timetable is."
Miami Beckham United is expected to update the MLS Board of Governors on the state of their search this weekend. The group hoped to have a stadium plan in place by that point, but it is uncertain where the process stands at the moment after the recent setbacks.
The continued hiccups encountered over this nearly two-year quest reflect the difficult political landscape for stadium projects in Miami. Beckham and his partners failed to persuade local politicians for a public-private project on two favored sites in downtown Miami, while this latest concept — a proposed partnership with the Miami-Dade School Board to cobble together the necessary land and build a stadium near Marlins Park — faced political and personal hurdles from the outset.
Despite the lengthy process, Garber said Beckham and the league remain fully committed to the project and the prospect of expanding to Miami at some point in the next few years.
"This thing can’t drag on forever," Garber said. "It’s not fair to David. It’s not fair to the league. We need to move forward with our expansion plans one way or the other. But we’re not at that point. We’re continuing to stay focused to try and get something done."