Feb 12, 2016

    'Chelsea, PSG owners eye stake' in Beckham's team


    CHELSEA'S Russian owner Roman Abramovich, Paris Saint-Germain's Qatari owners and a Chinese group are among investors looking at purchasing a majority stake in David Beckham's Major League Soccer team, the Miami Herald reported.

    Citing an unnamed source close to the negotiations, the newspaper said he has been around the world in the past six months seeking partners to invest US$300 million (S$417 million) for stadium construction and players for the planned Miami club.

    While the former England captain might not be the majority partner in the team, it has been his face that has sparked the project since its inception, when he selected Miami as the place for the discounted expansion team available to him as part of his playing contract with the MLS Los Angeles Galaxy.

    The report said there has been "vast interest" in backing Beckham, including from Russian businessman Abramovich, an unnamed Chinese group, some United States financiers and two Middle East groups, one of them being Qatar Sports Investments, which owns the French league champions for whom he played in 2013.

    Beckham is hoping to close a deal by the end of the month on a land purchase that would be the site of the team's 25,000-seat stadium. His group spoke on Wednesday with city leaders on zoning and construction issues.

    The ownership investment is expected to be completed before the end of the month because the Miami team must have ownership and funding in place to complete the stadium deal.

    The report said Beckham is being selective about a partner because he wants one with a football background and the background and finances to bring top talent to Miami, much the way MLS club New York City are co-owned by English Premier League side Manchester City.

    Once Beckham has his financial backers and stadium deal, MLS owners must give final approval for the team, which is projected to join the league for the 2018 campaign.