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Beckham group pushes Miami bayside venue for MLS stadium

By David Adams

MIAMI (Reuters) - Forced to rethink the location of a stadium for his proposed Major League Soccer team, retired England captain David Beckham is forging ahead with plans for a new site next to the Miami Heat basketball arena.

Representatives of Miami Beckham United on Monday met with the mayors of the city of Miami and Miami-Dade county and outlined plans for a stadium that would be sandwiched between two new museums and the basketball arena on Biscayne Bay.

Beckham's group has insisted on a downtown waterfront site to win approval for the Miami franchise from the board of governors of Major League Soccer, the top professional division in the United States. Beckham, who starred with Manchester United, England and Real Madrid, also played with Los Angeles Galaxy in MLS for five years until the end of 2012.

Beckham's group has agreed to finance a $250 million stadium with seating for 20,000 and to pay rent for the land.

The proposal still has to be vetted by city and county commissioners and undergo public hearings before being put to a referendum later this year.

Beckham’s initial preferred site for the stadium, an undeveloped plot of land on the port of Miami, was resisted by Royal Caribbean Cruises and others who argued the stadium could interfere with cruise and cargo operations.

Miami Mayor Tomás Regalado told reporters after Monday's meeting that the new proposal involved filling in a large boat slip creating extra park land by the bay, including a public walkway between the stadium and the water.

"I liked it because we are gaining more park land and we will make money," Regalado said.

(Additional reporting by Zachary Fagenson; Editing by Grant McCool)

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