Los Angeles, Dec 8, 2017 (AFP) –
Major League Soccer commissioner Don Garber said Friday the league remained determined to launch a team in Miami but acknowledged the task had been the toughest challenge of his 18-year reign.
Garber told reporters on the eve of Saturday’s MLS Cup final in Toronto that he was confident the long-awaited arrival of an MLS team in the Florida metropolis would happen eventually.
English football icon David Beckham heads a consortium hoping to launch a Miami team, and has been battling to secure a site for a stadium despite local opposition.
The group inched towards its goal earlier this year after securing a land deal for a proposed stadium project.
“It is the most complicated situation in any market that we’ve experienced at least in my 18 years,” Garber told reporters, citing Miami’s fast-changing real-estate environment and local political structure.
Finding a local owner to join Beckham’s group was also crucial, Garber said.
“We’ve been working hard on trying to find a local owner for David Beckham. I feel confident that it will come together,” he said. “I continue to say that we want Miami in the league.
“It’s a large market, it’s a gateway city, there are a lot of values to having a team down there. I remain confident we will get something done.”
Miami is currently slated to be the 24th MLS team following the launch in 2018 of Los Angeles Football Club, the 23rd team.
MLS chiefs will announce the 25th and 26th expansion teams before the end of the year from a shortlist of four candidates — Detroit, Cincinnati, Nashville and Sacramento.
However Garber admitted it was possible that one of the two new expansion franchises chosen this month could be bumped up the pecking order and take Miami’s place as the 24th team.
“It’s conceivable. It’s conceivable that could happen,” Garber said.