Beckham announces Miami MLS franchise
Former England football captain David Beckham has announced that he is exercising his option to become the owner of a Major League Soccer team in Miami.
"This is a dream," the international soccer star said at an appearance with MLS Commissioner Don Garber at the Florida city's gleaming new bayfront art museum.
"This is an exciting time for myself and an exciting time for my family and my friends and my partners," Beckham added.
Garber called the decision a "historic day ... for soccer in America."
A final deal to grant the franchise to Beckham's investment group could be several months away though, sources close to the negotiations said, with a stadium location and financing still requiring approval from the MLS board for his team to become the 22nd club of the top US professional football league.
The mayor of Miami Dade, Carlos Gimenez, said negotiations for the stadium started last week.
"There's going to be a few bumps along the way, but we're going to make the team in Miami not just the best team in America, we're going to take the team global," Beckham told a reception for city leaders at Miami's performing arts center.
The former Manchester United and Real Madrid star, who also played for the Los Angeles Galaxy, retired as a player last May and holds a $25 million option in his MLS contract to start a new franchise.
Beckham is already in discussions with Miami-Dade county to possibly lease county-owned land for a 25,000-seat stadium.
"I have seen the atmosphere around the city," Beckham told the media yesterday outside the reception, referring to scenes he witnessed last year when the city's basketball team, the Miami Heat, captured the National Basketball Association (NBA) championship.
"I saw the passion of the people for sport," he said, dressed in a sharp charcoal suit and tie.