Former England captain wants to build a “people’s club” as he takes up option to create MLS’s 22nd franchise in Florida.
David Beckham has exercised his option to purchase a Major League Soccer expansion team in Miami, and the deal with the former England football captain will be finalised when he can secure a financing plan and location for a new stadium.
The latest development in the pursuit of a Miami team was announced by MLS Commissioner Don Garber at a news conference on Wednesday alongside Beckham, 38.
“Thank you for the warm welcome,” Beckham told a crowd of more than 300 people, who attended the conference at a downtown museum plaza on a sunny, 80-degree morning.
“This is an exciting time, and something we’re really looking forward to bringing to Miami.”
Beckham has scouted possible stadium sites and is seeking investors to help with startup costs such as construction and player acquisitions.
Among those who might become involved is Beckham’s friend and NBA basketball star LeBron James, who has had conversations with the retired midfielder about bringing a team to Miami.
“We don’t want public funding,” Beckham said to applause.
“We will fund the stadium ourselves. We have worked very hard to get to this stage…we want to create a football club that is the people’s football club.”
The former Manchester United, Real Madrid and Los Angeles Galaxy star, who retired after a short spell at Paris Saint-Germain at the end of last season, has the right to an expansion team at a discount fee of $25 million.
It is believed that it formed part of the deal when he joined Galaxy, where he won two MLS Cups, in 2007.
MLS’s Miami Fusion played in Fort Lauderdale from 1998-2001 before folding because of poor attendances.