[MLS EXPANSION]On the same day that Manchester City announced losses of $157 million for the fiscal year ending May 2012 -- down from last year’s record-setting loss of $320 million -- came reports that the English Premier League team owned by Abu Dhabi’s Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan was close to being awarded the MLS expansion franchise in Queens, N.Y., for a record $100 million. There was even a name for the team -- the New York City Football Club -- but the report was quickly dismissed.
On Saturday, Manchester United issued a short statement, "Manchester City are not buying an MLS club."
Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, an immigrant community and hotbed of soccer interest, has been identified as a site for the stadium -- MLS Commissioner Don Garber said a week ago that the league was “at the finish line” in negotiations with New York City officials on the stadium deal -- but Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz said last week following the groundbreaking on a small soccer complex in Brooklyn Bridge Park that Brooklyn would be an ideal site for the MLS stadium. He identified East New York, Brownsville, East Williamsburg and Bushwick as possible sites for the stadium.
“I know Queens is pushing for a stadium," said Markowitz, "but I believe pro soccer belongs here in Brooklyn."
Brooklyn has opened the Barclays Center and lured the NBA Nets from New Jersey. Queens Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. told the New York Post it would not lose the MLS stadium to Brooklyn without a fight.
“Brooklyn is already in the process of stealing our ... Civic Virtue statue and moving it to Green-Wood Cemetery, so what’s next, the Mets?” he said. “I better go and lock up the Unisphere.”