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Political Leaders Call for More International Soccer in South Florida

31 Jan, 2020

By: Michael Popke

While Miami remains a strong contender to be named one of 10 United States cities to host games when the FIFA 2026 World Cup comes to North America, more than two dozen political leaders in South Florida want to bring more top-tier international soccer matches to the city right now.

According to the Associated Press:

Relevent Sports, the soccer-promoting group owned by Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross, filed suit against the [U.S. Soccer Federation] earlier this year saying that the sport’s governing body in this country was helping to prevent them from hosting certain matches. …

Ross’ group and top Spanish league La Liga have been working for some time to bring a regular-season match to Hard Rock Stadium, the facility Ross owns and [that] is the Dolphins’ home.

The politicians — ranging from city mayors, county mayors, county commissioners and one state senator — all essentially said the same thing, that bringing major international soccer to South Florida only will help the region’s tourist-dependent economy.

“Doing so will demonstrate a genuine commitment to our communities and the growth of the game, which you, as the United States Soccer Federation, are charged with promoting,” wrote Dean Trantalis, the mayor of Fort Lauderdale. That’s the city where David Beckham’s new MLS team, Inter Miami, will begin play [in] March. 

Incidentally, Miami’s Hard Rock Stadium is one of 17 finalists vying to host 2026 World Cup matches. The venue, which opened in 1987 as Joe Robbie Stadium, has a long history of hosting high-profile sporting events like Super Bowls, NCAA national football championships and — yes — international soccer matches.

An announcement of North American World Cup host cities is expected by FIFA in early 2021. Ten venues will be in the United States, with three each in Canada and Mexico.

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