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Beckham planning to buy MLS team

By James Munro and Simon Austin

David Beckham
Beckham would try to buy a franchise with his manager, Simon Fuller

David Beckham plans to exercise a clause in his contract allowing him to buy a Major League Soccer franchise at the end of his playing career.

The midfielder agreed a dual contract on Friday that will allow him to play for both AC Milan and LA Galaxy.

And he is already making plans for when his Galaxy contract ends in 2011.

"I have the right to own an MLS franchise, which I will action immediately after I have stopped playing," Beckham said.

Beckham reiterated his "commitment to develop soccer in the United States, which is something I am passionate about" and said his family will remain in LA.

There have long been rumours that Beckham has a clause in his Galaxy contract allowing him the first right of refusal on an MLS franchise at the end of his career.

This is the first time any of the parties involved have confirmed the existence of the clause.

If Beckham goes ahead with his plan to buy a franchise, the MLS would partner him with a patron with major financial clout.

606: DEBATE
sportingpunter

The Seattle Sounders, whose majority owner is film executive Joe Roth, had to pay a $40m "franchise fee" to join MLS for the 2009 season.

The MLS also has a requirement that prospective franchises have a "soccer specific stadium" - which was waived in the case of Seattle - and Ottawa, for example, have vowed to spend $100m on a new stadium if they win a spot in the 2011 MLS.

On top of this outlay there would then be wage bill and running costs for prospective new franchise owners. Seattle's wage bill for the 2009 season is more than $3.3m (£2.4m).

The Sounders will become the 15th team in the MLS when they join the league this season, Philadelphia will join in 2010 and there are plans to add two more franchises in 2011.

Vancouver, Ottawa, Portland and St Louis are in the running for the 2011 places.

Beckham, who would probably enter a deal with his manager, Simon Fuller, would be unlikely to get involved with one of these bids.

Las Vegas and San Diego, who have long expressed an interest in joining MLS and are close to Beckham's LA base, would be more likely destinations.



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see also
Beckham's American dream
06 Mar 09 |  Football
How Beckham conquered Milan
14 Feb 09 |  Europe


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