David Beckham’s Inter Miami CF has won a court battle that could provide the expansion MLS side an alternative option for their stadium site.
The MLS franchise, co-owned by the former Manchester United, Real Madrid and LA Galaxy star, had been in a protracted legal battle with local property owner Bill Matheson over the approximately $9 million (£7m) sale by Miami-Dade of 2.79 acre parcel of land to Beckham and his associates in 2017.
The site, in the city’s Overtown area, was the last part of a nine-acre area needed for the team to build their planned stadium.
However, Matheson contested the sale on grounds it should have been opened to competitive bidding.
Despite losing the initial trial in October 2017, Matheson filed numerous appeals with the Florida Supreme Court declining to hear his latest one on Friday, ending the legal challenge.
However, the situation has changed over the course of the legal battle, with Beckham bringing aboard the Mas brothers, Jorge and Jose, as co-owners.
The brothers have since shifted plans to construct the team’s stadium away from the Overtown site and to a new area at the Melresse Country Club.
The matter was put to citizens of Miami in a referendum which was passed in November 2018, allowing the city to enter negotiations with the team over a 99-year lease on the land.
The City of Miami say a commission will select third-party consultants on May 23, at which point, negotiations can begin.
Those negotiations must be completed by September 16, with four of the five commissioners needed to approve the lease.
However, the legal victory against Matheson provides Inter Miami with a potential alternative should negotiations not be concluded successfully.
That is no guarantee, as the Miami Herald reports a payment of $901,500 is required in the next week.
The payment had been due earlier, but was delayed thanks to the on-going litigation, which has now been resolved.
Previously, Jorge Mas claimed the Overtown site remained a possible back up plan should the Melresse negotiations fail.
The original agreement required a soccer stadium be built on the Overtown site, but Miami-Dade may permit other options for development on the property.
Inter Miami are set to begin play in 2020, spending two years at a yet-to-be constructed stadium in Ft. Lauderdale on the site of Lockhart Stadium.