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Miami mayor: Marlins won't be deal-breaker for Beckham soccer stadium


An optimistic Tomas Regalado appeared on sports talk radio Friday morning to lay out the latest details of negotiations for a soccer stadium on public land and to downplay concerns that contractual rights held by the Miami Marlins over some of what happens next door could kill a deal with Miami Beckham United.

For several weeks now, Miami's mayor and other city leaders have been actively involved with negotiations with David Beckam's team for a stadium for an MLS franchise in Little Havana on land across from Marlins Park that is mostly owned by the city. Discussions remain preliminary, but a mini-firestorm erupted last week after Miami Today reported details of the Marlins stadium operating agreement that show the Marlins have some authority over a number of details about what goes on with a soccer stadium across the street, including stadium design and major sponsors.

Miami Beckham United has remained mum about how that complication affects their plans to play in Little Havana. But Marlins president David Samson took some steam out of concerns Thursday by telling the Miami Herald's Barry Jackson that the Marlins won't be an impediment to a soccer deal. And speaking to 104.3 The Ticket's Chris Wittyngham, Regalado said Friday that he doesn't see any one deal-breaker for a Miami soccer stadium. "I don’t see one single item to be the deal-breaker on this one unless the Beckham people say 'We don’t have the money,' which I believe that they do."

Sources familiar with soccer negotiations have told the Miami Herald that the Marlins have been kept abreast of the city's discussions with Beckham's team, and as of last week hadn't mentioned any leverage over what happens with a soccer stadium. Also, while city and county leaders were caught off-guard last week by the Marlins control over certain aspects of a soccer stadium, that doesn't mean Beckham's representatives were also unaware of those details.

Regalado didn't break any news Friday morning, other than alluding to a "huge concert" the Marlins and the city are collaborating on in December. But he reiterated the city's intentions to hold a referendum to allow voters to decide on an ultimate stadium deal, the demand that Beckham's team compensate the city in some way for its land, and a promise that the soccer franchise's ownership will pay to purchase private land needed to gain a large enough footprint to build a stadium.

"The Marlins are an important part of this deal. So I would say that this is doable," Regalado said. "I will say that I believe that we are going to have a stadium because number one, the Marlins always wanted a soccer stadium next to them. This is part of the history of the deal. Number two, they have the will to put [up] their money, the soccer people. Number three, they believe they have the fan base that will fill the stadium."