SBD/March 27, 2014/Facilities

Miami-Dade Inquiry Finds No Violations In Beckham's Lobbying For MLS Stadium

An ethics inquiry by Miami-Dade County into David Beckham’s MLS stadium campaign "has cleared the soccer star of violating local lobbying rules," as a report issued yesterday "found no violations,"according to Douglas Hanks of the MIAMI HERALD. However, the county said that Beckham "needs to register if he wants to meet with county officials" over a proposed deal. The inquiry centered around the question of whether Beckham "needed to register as a lobbyist before talking to local officials about why they should back his well-known desire for a soccer stadium in Miami-Dade" (MIAMI HERALD, 3/27).

GOOD VIBRATIONS: In Miami, Michelle Kaufman notes she interviewed Beckham yesterday and "had a few serious questions" for him. Kaufman: "He was going to have to convince me that he truly understands this passionate but complicated soccer market. ... And, despite Beckham’s star power, and his very sharp management group, I had my doubts about how well he has really thought this project through." All the talk "has been about the stadium, the stadium the stadium," which "is a huge issue." Kaufman: "But the bigger question, in my mind, is will Miami’s sophisticated soccer-savvy fans, who lead the nation in TV ratings for World Cups and European league matches, ever care as much about Real Salt Lake as they do Real Madrid?" After speaking with Beckham, Kaufman believes he "knows South Florida fans will demand top-caliber players, and he is more than ready to deliver." Beckham said, "Miami is so popular with a lot of big soccer players, so I know that they love the idea of coming here. ... We are going to have a winning team, and not just the eyes of America will be on this team, but the eyes of the world." Beckham "has grown to truly love" Miami, as he "speaks about this team and the stadium with passion." This "is not just a vanity project." Kaufman: "He has given it a great deal of thought, and this jaded longtime sportswriter is feeling optimistic about Miami soccer for the first time in a long time" (MIAMI HERALD, 3/27).
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