sport

Beckham to own Miami franchise

David Beckham has exercised his option to purchase an MLS expansion team and he has selected Miami as the market for his new club.

The development was announced at a Wednesday news conference attended by Beckham, MLS Commissioner Don Garber and Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez.

Beckham has scouted sites for a possible stadium for the team and is now looking for investors to contribute towards start-up costs such as ground construction and player acquisitions.

The former England captain said: "This is an exciting time for myself, my family, my friends and partners, and something we are really looking forward to bringing to Miami.

"I wanted to create a team that we could start from scratch and I wanted to create a team that can be very personal.

"Everything I have done throughout my career has been very personal to me, the decisions I have made are all very personal.

"This is a big one but a very personal one, I want to make it my own team.

"Myself and my partners are very excited about this project. Miami is a vibrant city, a city with a lot of passion.

"There was a team here 10 years ago, which unfortunately folded. I know this city is ready for soccer this time around, I know this is going to be successful.

"I have always said throughout my career, whether there are challenges or not, that to be successful you have to work hard. I have worked hard through my whole career and I am going to work hard for this city and for this League, to make this team very successful.

"We are going to make a soccer club that is going to be loved by millions of people. We plan on bringing a team that is not just for Miami but is a global team."

Beckham's group, which includes British pop music and television impresario Simon Fuller, are in talks with Miami local government officials about building a stadium but will not be requesting public funding.

"We don't want public money, we will fund the stadium ourselves," said the 38-year-old. "It is something that we have worked very hard on.

"We are going to have the right investors, and I'm not just talking about wealth but people who have a passion for the game as well."

Sir Alex Ferguson managed Beckham during the player's Manchester United days but he will not be approached to take charge of the Miami team.

"He is a great manager and gave me the chance to play for my boyhood dream club but unfortunately he has retired," said Beckham.

"We won't pull him out of retirement, I think he is enjoying that!"

It could be several months before the deal for Beckham's group to buy the franchise is finalised and a date is set for the team to become the 22nd club in the top US soccer league.

Major League Soccer has stressed the importance of a final stadium deal being in place, along with a business plan, before it will approve a new team.