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MLS chief expects Beckham to win approval for Miami club

(Reuters) - Major League Soccer Commissioner Don Garber said on Wednesday that he expected to be celebrating soon with David Beckham on his ownership of a new club in Miami pending the resolution of a “couple of issues”.

FILE PHOTO - David Beckham (C), former captain of England's soccer team, poses as he attends a promotion event in Beijing, China, September 20, 2016. REUTERS/Stringer

Beckham’s bid to win approval for a Miami franchise was taken up by the league’s board of governors ahead of Wednesday’s All-Star game but has yet to get the final nod.

“We’ve got a couple of issues we needed to work out. We’ve got some time to do that. Our board said, ‘hey, we’re ready to go if you can resolve those issues’,” Garber said in an interview on Fox Sports during the broadcast of the MLS All-Stars vs Real Madrid match.

“‘Take your time to do that and we hope to be in Miami in several weeks time to be able to celebrate with David and his partners.’”

Garber declined to elaborate on the remaining issues but said everything was falling into place for Beckham to win approval, mentioning the plans for a new stadium and the financial backing with partner Todd Boehly, a part-owner of Major League Baseball’s Los Angeles Dodgers.

Miami Beckham United, the team’s working title, would become the MLS’s 24th team following next season’s launch of Los Angeles FC.

The privately-funded $300 million project has been 3-1/2 years in the making since former England captain Beckham, one of the most globally recognized former players, first announced his plans to bring a team to Miami.

Two months ago, his group acquired the final parcel of land to build a soccer-specific 25,000-seat stadium in the Overtown neighborhood of Miami.

MLS has long desired to expand into Miami and believes that changes in the market coupled with Beckham’s backing offer the recipe to success, despite past failures of soccer franchises in south Florida.

Beckham raised the profile of MLS when he joined Los Angeles Galaxy as a player in 2007 and led the team to two MLS Cup titles during his six seasons.

His arrival in LA, after trophy-filled years with Manchester United and Real Madrid, ushered in a new era for the league, spurring bigger contracts for marquee players, more expansion teams and new stadiums.

Reporting by Frank Pingue and Larry Fine; Editing by Ian Ransom