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Rediff.com  » Sports » Sports Shorts: Beckham to campaign in referendum for Miami soccer stadium

Sports Shorts: Beckham to campaign in referendum for Miami soccer stadium

Last updated on: May 23, 2014 17:10 IST

Sports Shorts: Beckham to campaign in referendum for Miami soccer stadium

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David Beckham will be thrust into a political campaign to win backing for his Major League Soccer team in Miami with a referendum in November on a new stadium proposal.

On Thursday, the former England, Manchester United and Real Madrid midfielder’s business partners unveiled their plan for a stadium on downtown Miami’s waterfront after their original site, at the city's port, ran into political opposition.

The proposed 20,000 to 25,000-seat stadium would be part of an expanded park area close to the Miami Heat basketball arena.

Beckham's business group, Miami Beckham United, need to ink a stadium deal before they can win final approval for the franchise from MLS, the top professional division in the United States. Beckham also played with Los Angeles Galaxy in MLS for five years until the end of 2012.

Beckham was not present at the launch but said in a statement that the park would have public benefits and bring a professional soccer team to downtown Miami for the first time.

"I’ve always said that our team will be the people’s club – another downtown amenity that makes the entire Miami-Dade community proud," said Beckham.

While the plan has the conceptual backing of the mayors of the City of Miami and Miami-DadeCounty, the proposal will go to a referendum, likely to be held alongside mid-term elections in November.

Bolivian billionaire Marcelo Claure, who along with entertainment entrepeneur Simon Fuller, is Beckham’s partner in the venture, said Beckham would be out in the community seeking votes.

"You will see that a lot. You will see that very soon. David says this is one of the most important projects of his life. If you look at his career, David has been a success on and off the field, there are no failures," he said.

Claure said that while the focus was on securing a stadium, the trio had no shortage of interest from potential investors.

"Right now there are three partners for the team but there is always interest. One thing I’ve found since partnering with David is that everybody wants to be involved. From China to Argentina we have had hundreds and hundreds of calls," he said.

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Image: David Beckham
Photographs: Hugh Gentry/Reuters

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North Korea to participate in Incheon Asian Games

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North Korea announced on Friday it will take part in the Asian Games in Incheon this year, despite political and military tensions between the rivals that this week led to an exchange of artillery fire.

The North's official KCNA news agency said the country's Olympic Committee has decided to send a team to the Games, to be held between September 19 and October 4 in the South Korean port city.

Earlier in the year the North said its men's and women's soccer teams will be playing in the Games but did not elaborate whether its athletes would compete in other events.

The North's Olympic Committee has officially informed the Asian Olympic Council of the decision and will soon make applications to the council and the Incheon Games' organising committee, KCNA said.

The two Koreas are technically at war under a truce that ended the 1950-53 Korean war. The two sides continued an exchange of fiery rhetoric on Monday, a day after an exchange of artillery fire near a disputed maritime border.

North Korea this year fired a series of missiles including the mid-range Rodong and is believed to be preparing its fourth nuclear test defying international pressure.

It participated at every event in the 2002 Asian Games, held in Busan, South Korea's second biggest city in the South, sending a team of almost 200 athletes and 100 cheerleaders.

Forty-five countries, including the North, are expected to compete at 36 events in Incheon.

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Image: North Korean women wave their country's flags during a soccer match at Changwon stadium in Changwon, South Korea, during the Busan Asian Games.
Photographs: Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images

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Atletico's Costa, Arda back in training before final

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Forward Diego Costa and playmaker Arda Turan were back in training with their Atletico Madrid teammates on Thursday, suggesting they will be fit for Saturday's Champions League final against Real Madrid.

Costa, Atletico's top scorer, and Arda, a key component of the team's attacking play, limped out of last weekend's La Liga title decider at Barcelona with hamstring and hip injuries respectively and there were fears they would not be available for the showpiece in Lisbon.

Atletico published a photo on their website (www.clubatleticodemadrid.com) of them training with the rest of the squad before they travel to Portugal on Friday morning.

"Diego Pablo Simeone had the whole squad at his disposal to continue preparing the match that will close the season," the club said.

"The Argentine coach has all 22 members of the first-team squad available and all will travel to the Portuguese capital."

Saturday's game at Lisbon's Stadium of Light is the first final featuring two teams from the same city in the 59-year history of the European Cup.

Atletico are seeking a debut continental title and will be trying to deny Real a record-extending 10th.

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Image: Diego Costa (left) of Atletico de Madrid excersises with his teammate Arda Turan (right) during a training session at Los Angeles de San Rafael training ground in Segovia, Spain on Thursday
Photographs: Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

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Djokovic donates Italian Open prize-money for food-relief in Serbia

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Serbian tennis ace Novak Djokovic has donated the entire prize money from his Italian Open title to his foundation in order to help food-relief efforts in his country.

World No 2 Djokovic, won his third title in Rome after defeating World No. 1 Rafael Nadal 4-6, 6-3, 6-3.

According to the Washington Post, the tennis star drew a heart on the clay with his racket and dedicated the win to his native land Serbia. Djokovic said that the heart on the court is for the fans, and is also a special dedication to his country, which is suffering a lot right now.

Djokovic, whose Italian Opening winnings are worth 7,49,934 pounds, said that his heart is with the people suffering in Serbia.

Historic floods in Serbia and Bosnia last week has reportedly claimed at least 44 deaths and recovery is expected to cost several billion dollars.

Apart from Djokovic's 7,49,934 pounds, the Serb’s foundation's website has revealed that $6,00,000 have also been raised for the reconstruction of schools in Serbia, the report added.

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Image: Novak Djokovic
Photographs: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

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Top shuttlers question proposed scoring changes

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Badminton does not need an alternative scoring system and tweaking the existing format would be "idiotic", according to a number of the world's top shuttlers.

The Badminton World Federation has opened discussion on the sidelines of the ongoing Thomas and Uber Cup in New Delhi, seeking views on a new scoring system that it hopes would make the game shorter, more exciting and television-friendly.

Under the existing format, the winner is the player who reaches 21 points, two clear of the opponent, in the best-of-three games.

The three alternatives BWF has suggested are two games of 21 following by a third of 11, three 15-point games and five games of nine points.

The proposal has already received a thumbs-down from the game's leading star and Chinese stalwart Lin Dan.

"I don't think making changes like this is good for the game," the two-time Olympic gold medallist said.

"There is nothing wrong with the present system."

Denmark's Jan O Jorgensen was more forthright in his criticism of the proposal.

"I think it's a bad idea," the world number three said after his agonising 22-20, 14-21, 17-21 loss to Malaysian Lee Chong Wei in the Thomas Cup quarter-finals at the Siri Fort Complex on Thursday.

"You have games in 30 minutes and you also have in 70 minutes but that's the charm of the game.

"Who does not want to see us go down the stretch in a hour game? I think it's ridiculous...cutting the Thomas Cup ties is an idiotic idea."

Jorgensen pointed to his own intense hour-long fight against world number one Lee to prove his point.

"I don't see why we need that. I can see that with more exciting points but what I have played here is not exciting then I don't know what's exciting," said the Dane, still dripping sweat.

India head coach Pullela Gopichand also finds it a futile exercise.

"I don't see a need to tinker with the current format because the sport has become popular as it is," said the 2001 All-England champion.

"Neither the players nor the spectators are complaining about it, so why is it being talked about?"

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Image: Denmark's Jan O Jorgensen returns a shot to Malaysia's Lee Chong Wei during their men's singles quarter-final match at the Thomas Cup badminton championship in New Delhi on Thursday
Photographs: Anindito Mukherjee/Reuters

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Rosberg set to stay at Mercedes

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Nico Rosberg is set to stay alongside championship leader Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes next season after the dominant Formula One team indicated both drivers were signed up for some time to come.

"We have long-term relationships with both our drivers," a Mercedes spokesman said, without commenting on a report that the German had signed a new deal keeping him at Mercedes for at least another two years after 2014.

Rosberg, son of 1982 world champion Keke, joined Mercedes from Williams in 2010.

At the end of 2011 the team announced he had signed a "multi-year contract extension to include the 2013 season and beyond".

It had been assumed that the 28-year-old's current contract would expire at the end of this year although there has been regular speculation about an extension in recent months.

Rosberg won the season-opening race in Australia and has finished the last four grands prix as runner-up to Hamilton, who is in his second year at the team after replacing retired seven times champion Michael Schumacher.

Britain's Hamilton leads Rosberg in the championship by three points ahead of Sunday's Monaco Grand Prix, the sixth race of the year which the German won from pole position in 2013.

Rosberg has won four races for Mercedes with his first in China in 2012.

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Image: Nico Rosberg of Germany and Mercedes GP
Photographs: Clive Mason/Getty Images

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Newcastle's Dummett gets death threats over Suarez injury

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Newcastle United defender Paul Dummett has received death threats from angry Uruguay fans who blame him for the injury that has put striker Luis Suarez's World Cup campaign in doubt, British media reported on Friday.

Liverpool striker Suarez had keyhole surgery on his left knee on Thursday and faces a race to be fit for the World Cup in Brazil, with Uruguay playing Costa Rica in their opening Group D game on June 14 and England in their second match on June 19.

Suarez complained about the problem during his first day of training with the Uruguay squad.

The country's FA (AUF) said he first suffered the injury in the final Premier League game of the season at home to Newcastle as Liverpool chased the title.

Dummett was sent off for fouling Suarez late in the match.

"It should be highlighted that the player received a direct blow to his left knee in the last game of the Premier League season with Liverpool, on Sunday May 11, with pain which eased with rest from sporting action after the season had ended," the Uruguayan FA said on Thursday.

Dummett, whose red card in the 82nd minute of Newcastle's 2-1 defeat was later rescinded on appeal, on Thursday was the victim of death threats on social media from local fans as the AUF seemed to blame Newcastle for Suarez's operation.

The 22-year-old Newcastle defender, who was called up by Wales on Thursday for a friendly against the Netherlands on June 4, has referred the threats to soccer authorities.

Suarez will need up to 20 days to recover but Uruguay team doctors have not ruled him out of the June 12 to July 13 finals.

"The challenge was inadvertent. I hit him and the ball with my left foot and he went down under the challenge," Dummett told the Daily Mirror on Thursday.

"I hope he makes the World Cup because he is one of the best players in the world so he should be there.

"Having said that, I injured my meniscus three years ago and I was out for three months, so it will depend on the injury and exactly where it is on the knee."

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Image: Paul Dummett of Newcastle United
Photographs: Ian Horrocks/Getty Images

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Former Wales captain Bellamy retires

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Former Wales captain Craig Bellamy has announced his retirement from football at the age of 34 following CardiffCity's relegation from the Premier League.

The forward represented his country 78 times before retiring from international football in 2013 and he played for eight Premier League clubs including Newcastle United, Blackburn Rovers, Liverpool, West Ham United and ManchesterCity during a 17-year playing career.

"Cardiff City Football Club would like to place on record their thanks to departing forward Craig Bellamy, who confirmed his retirement from the game on Thursday to bring a glittering 17-year career in the game to an end," the club said in a statement on their website (www.cardiffcityfc.co.uk).

Bellamy, who played his final game in Cardiff's 2-1 home defeat by Chelsea on the last day of the season told website www.walesonline.co.uk he had offers to continue playing from clubs in England and the United States but was planning to move into management.


Image: Craig Bellamy
Photographs: Reuters

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