Barcelona reconsiders MLS expansion bid

February 21, 2009

Spanish powerhouse Barcelona's attempt to land a MLS expansion franchise in Miami had been considered one of the front-runners. However, that bid is now shrouded in doubt after the club announced at its biannual financial meeting that its reconsidering its plans.

"[The MLS bid is] very delicate and we are evaluating if the situation allows for the model planned to be implemented in Miami or not," said Barcelona's corporate director general Joel Oliver on the team's Web site. Oliver added that the economic downturn could force Barcelona to delay its bid to a later date.

"We want to enter the American league, but not at the cost of financial risk [to the club]" Oliver said. "The chances of us not joining are higher than when we announced our interest."

Barcelona's Miami bid, part of a partnership with Bolivian tech magnate Marcelo Claure, was one of seven submitted last year to MLS. Other cities included Vancouver, Ottawa, Portland, Atlanta, St. Louis, and Montreal -- with Atlanta and Montreal having since dropped out of the running. The Miami bid was regarded as one of the favorites, primarily due to Barcelona's involvement, with plans to begin play in 2010 if successful.