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Miami-Dade mayor gets OK for soccer stadium talks


Giddy Miami-Dade County commissioners boosted international celebrity David Beckham’s bid Tuesday to bring a Major League Soccer franchise to Miami.

In a unanimous vote after heaping praise on soccer as a sport and Beckham as an investor, commissioners gave the go-ahead for Mayor Carlos Gimenez to begin negotiations on a new privately funded soccer stadium.

“It gives a signal to Major League Soccer that we’re very interested in their coming here,” Gimenez said after the vote.

Or, as Commissioner Juan C. Zapata put it from the dais: “Go, soccer! Go, MLS!”

His colleagues — who knew so many loved soccer? — were equally bubbly. But some raised concerns about the behind-the-scenes proposal backed by Beckham’s investment group to build a stadium on county-owned land at PortMiami.

The group has identified the site, on the southwest corner of the seaport across from Bayside Marketplace, as its top choice. It is focusing on downtown Miami locations, citing MLS’ success in other cities drawing spectators to stadiums in urban centers near mass transit.

“We greatly appreciate the support shown by the Miami-Dade County Commission and look forward to continuing to work with Mayor Gimenez, the Commission and David Beckham on finalizing a plan for a new MLS stadium in Miami,” said MLS Commissioner Don Garber said in a statement.

More here.