Major League Soccer commissioner Don Garber has admitted he is “disappointed” and “frustrated” in the ongoing delays to Inter Miami’s stadium proposal, which is in real danger of being scrapped.
The expansion team, which is joining MLS in 2020, is looking to build a 25,000-seat venue as part of a $1bn development of Melreese Country Club, dubbed Miami Freedom Park.
Inter Miami, which includes David Beckham as a minority owner, is expected to play at least its first two seasons at a temporary facility in Fort Lauderdale. However the team could play at the venue for much longer or even permanently depending on votes of the Miami city commission this week.
On October 24, the commission will decide whether to cease negotiations on the lease with Miami Freedom Park LLC – the business entity attempting to develop the land on Inter Miami’s behalf – and open up development of the site to competitive bidding. Four of the five city commissioners have to approve the lease but two commissioners have made it clear they disapprove of the no-bid deal that was provisionally agreed.
“There have been continuous challenges in Miami, and it’s frustrating,” Garber told ESPN. “MLS has shown such a commitment to the City of Miami, and been so patient for so many years. We’ve done everything we said we would do. We found an unbelievable local owner in Jorge Mas and his partner Marcelo Claure. They’ve invested over $100m in a temporary facility, all based on the fact that there was public referendum that supported our path to signing a lease at the Melreese site.
“Now all of a sudden, there’s a bunch of folks that are backtracking on some of the commitments that were made. I find it frustrating and at times infuriating. It seems as if we’re getting caught up in a political mess that is not of our making. I’m very disappointed.”