Join Now  | 
Home About Contact Us Privacy & Security Advertise
Soccer America Daily Soccer World Daily Special Edition Around The Net Soccer Business Insider College Soccer Reporter Youth Soccer Reporter Soccer on TV Soccer America Classifieds Game Report
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalk Soccer America Confidential Youth Soccer Insider World Cup Watch
RSS Feeds Archives Manage Subscriptions Subscribe
Order Current Issue Subscribe Manage My Subscription Renew My Subscription Gift Subscription
My Account Join Now
Tournament Calendar Camps & Academies Soccer Glossary Classifieds
Montreal meetings advance expansion prospects
by Ridge Mahoney, December 10th, 2009 7AM
Subscribe to Soccer America Daily

MOST READ

MOST COMMENTED

[MLS]Montreal Impact owner Joey Saputohas jumped the gun several times regarding his team's entry into Major League Soccer, but a visit by MLS executives Wednesday signals the issue is very much alive.

League commissioner Don Garber and president Mark Abbottvisited Montreal to meet with Saputo and members of the Quebec government to measure progress toward obtaining public funding to expand the team's current home, Saputo Stadium, which currently holds 13,034.

Saputo is one of the driving forces behind the new North American Soccer League, which has broken away from United Soccer Leagues (USL) and formed a 10-team alternative league that has applied for sanction by U.S. Soccer. The Impact won the 2009 USL title in October but nonetheless opposes the group, NuRock Soccer Holdings, which bought the USL from Nike in August.

Garber, Abbott, and Saputo met Wednesday morning with Quebec Minister of Finance Raymond Bachand and Montreal Mayor Gerald Tremblay.

"We continued our discussions with the Saputo family about a future MLS expansion team in Montreal and had very productive meetings with Minister Bachand about securing funding for the expansion of Saputo Stadium," Garber said in a league press release following the meetings. "We've stated many times that Montreal would be a great market for MLS and we look forward to continuing our discussions."

There is strong support for a Montreal entry among members of the Board of Governors, who nonetheless want financial assurances and solid governmental backing before approving a stadium renovation plan.

Another snag is a 20th team to accompany Montreal as the 19th. Though several cities continue to interest the league, including St. Louis, Ottawa, and Atlanta, Saputo's latest proclamation that Montreal will play in MLS starting in 2012 may be yet another premature statement. David Beckham's contract includes an option on an MLS team, which he could exercise when his five-year contract expires at the end of the 2011 season.

Almost from the day the stadium opened, in May of last year, Saputo began issuing periodic public declarations that the move to MLS was imminent. Just over a year ago, Montreal - one of seven candidates to obtain two available expansion slots for 2011 -- dropped out of the selection process by which applications from Vancouver and Portland were officially approved by the league's Board of Governors last March.

Garber at first said Montreal had pulled out, Saputo quickly informed the press and public that the Board had done the pulling. The Board had judged Montreal's financial commitment didn't measure up to MLS standards, and the team needed to raise additional capital to pay a US$40 million expansion fee as well as fund expansion of the stadium. Vancouver and Portland eventually agreed to pay a reduced fee of $35 million; despite the setback last year, Montreal is next in line.

"We are very happy with the visit of the MLS executives in Montreal," said Saputo. "The meetings this morning with Minister Bachand and Mayor Tremblay were very positive. It's clear for us, and now more than ever, that the arrival of MLS in Montreal is only a question of time. We are hoping to have news in the first quarter of 2010."

In that same time frame plans must be finalized to start renovations at PG&E Park in Portland to get it ready in time for the 2011 season at a cost of more than $30 million.

During MLS meeting in the days leading up to MLS Cup, Portland made a presentation of its planned expansion of PG&E Park, its business plans, and marketing data. It has yet to come to an agreement with city officials for the renovation and has not found a site for a baseball facility to house the minor-league Beavers, who play at PG&E Park and would be displaced once the conversion to a 20,000-seat soccer stadium is complete.

 

 



No comments yet.

Sign in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join Now




AUTHORS

ARCHIVES
FOLLOW SOCCERAMERICA

Recent Soccer America Daily
U.S. Abroad: Another convincing win for Pulisic's Borussia Dortmund    
Borussia Dortmund completed its second perfect week in a row when it beat Freiburg, 3-1, to ...
NWSL: Reign and Flash fight for final playoff berth    
The Seattle Reign, winner of the 2014 and 2015 NWSL Shield as regular-season champion, still has ...
NWSL: Edwards to retire after three pro titles    
Orlando Pride midfielder Becky Edwards, 28, will retire after Saturday's Pride game against FC Kansas City ...
This week in men's college soccer    
No. 1 Syracuse is off to its best start in school history -- starting out 8-0-0 ...
MLS Countdown: Lions and Kreis face crucial test at RFK    
A Saturday game between D.C. United and Orlando City matches teams with identical 7-9-13 records and ...
NASL owners remain 'undaunted' amid turmoil    
In response to reports of its potential unraveling, the six-year-old North American Soccer League issued a ...
What They're Saying: Eddie Rodger    
"They didn't just burn bridges with the local soccer community, they nuked them. It's disgraceful. They ...
MLS Moves: Pomykal will wear No. 19 in Rhine's memory    
Five years after former FC Dallas midfielder Bobby Rhine died suddenly and the team unofficially retired ...
What They're Saying: Jose Mourinho    
"I know that some football Einsteins -- football is full of Einsteins -- I know that ...
Video Pick: The Dancing Announcer of Leipzig    
Leipzig stadium announcer Tim Thoelke takes the field and adds some flair to the lineup announcement ...
>> Soccer America Daily Archives