David Beckham tells fans he's 'very interested' in Miami team


By David Adams

MIAMI, Oct 30 (Reuters) - Retired England soccer star DavidBeckham told a live online Facebook event in London onWednesday that he is "very interested" in launching a MajorLeague Soccer team in Miami, appearing to confirm media reportshe had chosen the Florida city over other destinations.

Asked about the reports, Beckham did not deny the news,saying that he was "passionate" about becoming a team owner.

Beckham, who has 30 million Facebook followers, was speakingduring a live Q&A with fans in Indian, New York, and Sao Paulo,as part of a "digital stadium" and digital book signing for hisautobiography "David Beckham," to be available on Thursday.

His MLS player contract included a clause giving him theoption to create a team for $25 million.

Beckham, who retired earlier this year after stints withManchester United, Real Madrid and the MLS club L.A.Galaxy, toured Miami last summer, meeting with city and countyleaders.

During the Facebook event at Air Studios in London,the former England captain famous for his swirling free kicks,made it clear his future remains in the United States as helooks to add new business ventures to his footballing successes.

When asked about the news that Miami was his choice, Beckhamreplied it was "something I'm very interested in."

Being in America, Beckham said, he had "seen the excitement"of fans and the addition of a dozen new professional teams andthe construction of new soccer stadiums.

"It's only a very young league." he said. "It's going to getbetter and going to get bigger over the years."

Beckham is still putting together a team of investors, asource familiar with the negotiations told Reuters, speaking oncondition of anonymity as Beckham's plans have yet to beofficially announced.

Beckham toured Miami in June. He was accompanied by Britishentrepreneur and American Idol creator, Simon Fuller, whosemanagement company 19 Entertainment handlesBeckham's business affairs, and Bolivian-born billionaireMarcelo Claure, CEO of Miami-based wireless services companyBrightstar Corporation and an avid soccer fan who owns his ownteam in Bolivia.

MLS has confirmed it is in discussions with Beckham but isawaiting a formal bid, including details of the ownership group,and a stadium plan, along with a south Florida market survey.

"David has certainly been analysing the South Floridamarket. At some point we look forward to David becoming an ownerof an MLS expansion team," said MLS spokesman Dan Courtemanche.

MLS is hoping to expand by 2020 - adding 4 teams to thecurrent 19, and has reached agreement to launch a team in NewYork City in 2015. Groups in Orlando and Atlanta are also liningup bids.

A fan group, MLS Miami Bid, which has been campaigning for ateam, welcomed the news saying it has been told to expect aformal announcement by the end of November.

"We're very excited. We eagerly anticipate the officialannouncement to come. We are ready to support MLS in this city,"said Julio Caballero, spokesman for the group.

Beckham said on Wednesday he had even thought about invitingSir Alex Ferguson, his former manager at Manchester United, tocome out of retirement and lead the new franchise.

But he joked that he ruled him out after comments inFerguson's autobiography published last week in which hecriticized Beckham. He said he thought he was too big forManchester United and later surrendered part of his career bymoving to the United States to play for LA Galaxy.

The star player said he had no interest in becoming amanager himself.

"Management doesn't float my boat, really," Beckham said.

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