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Miami gets MLS team but stadium issues linger

David Beckham’s Major League Soccer (MLS) expansion team will kick off in 2020 in a temporary venue in Miami, Florida.

A privately funded new stadium is expected to open in 2021, although there are still several hurdles to overcome before a venue can be built.

The deal to secure an MLS expansion team came earlier this week after four years in which the league has sought to bring a team to South Florida.

In 2014, Beckham used his contracted option to purchase the rights to an MLS franchise for around $25 million and said he would launch a team in Miami.

The Miami ownership group is hoping to build a stadium at Overtown, but the group is still awaiting the result of a lawsuit appeal for the final parcel of land that will complete the site.

The ownership group includes David Beckham, local businessmen Jorge and Jose Mas, Sprint chairman Masayoshi Son and CEO Marcelo Claure, and entertainment mogul Simon Fuller.

Beckham said on Monday the hope is for the stadium to open in time for the 2021 season, giving the franchise time to sort out any potential issues.

MLS Commissioner Don Garber said:

They’ve got work to do to find a temporary location. Three years ago, four years ago, we never would have even considered it. We were very hesitant to play in temporary venues.

But we saw what happened in Orlando and Atlanta. Now with this group, we’ve got confidence in them. I think this team could launch temporarily, have that momentum and then move into a smaller stadium. Four years ago, it was one of the things that slowed us down.