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Football: Beckham coy on MLS franchise choice

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

David Beckham refused to confirm his interest in setting up a Major League Soccer franchise in Miami on Wednesday, amid reports he has chosen the city as his preferred location.

A source close to the matter told AFP on Tuesday that Miami was Beckham's "first choice" and reports in the British media suggest he is set to invest $25 million (£15.5 million, 18.2 million euros) in a new team based in Florida.

Beckham, 38, has an option to become a franchise owner after a clause was inserted into his contract when he joined Californian club Los Angeles Galaxy from Real Madrid as a player in 2007.

However, while the former England captain says he has considered Miami as a location for a franchise, he would not admit to having taken a final decision.

Speaking at the launch of his self-titled new book at a global book signing on Facebook in London on Wednesday, he said: "It (owning a franchise) is something that I was very interested in when I signed a contract with the LA Galaxy six or seven years ago.

"My manager got a clause in my contract at the time to enable me to have a franchise at the end of my playing career and now I have obviously stopped playing.

"A year ago I had a look around. Miami was one of the places, but we have looked at others too. It is exciting. I am passionate about staying in football.

"Being an owner of a team is something that I'm passionate about."

Should he become a club owner, Beckham would have to pick a coach to manage his team, but he laughed off a suggestion that he could turn to his former manager at Manchester United, Alex Ferguson.

Ferguson, who retired in May, accused Beckham of becoming obsessed with fame in his own autobiography, which was launched last week.

"It's funny, he was one of the first names I was going to call up to be manager. I'm not so sure now," Beckham said.

"All joking aside, I wouldn't want to be negative about Sir Alex. He gave me the chance to live my dream."

Miami had one of the original MLS teams, the Fusion, but they folded after four seasons due to disappointing attendances.

Major League Soccer currently has 19 teams, and a 20th team, New York City FC, is set to launch in 2015.

That team is a joint venture of English Premier League team Manchester City and Major League Baseball's New York Yankees.

Beckham, who won two MLS titles during his six-year spell at LA Galaxy, said he was optimistic about the future of the sport in the United States.

"It's going to get better and bigger," he said.

"Since I moved there, 11 to 12 teams have come into the league. I have seen stadiums built. I have seen the excitement of the people talking about soccer or football."

thw/pi

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/131030/football-beckham-coy-mls-franchise-choice