Political Economy of Football
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Philly Team to Join MLS



Major League Soccer in the USA has awarded Philadelphia an expansion team that will begin to play in 2010. It will be the 16th team in the competition and the sixth added since 2005. The team will play in a 20,000-seat stadium to be constructed as part of a major development project in Chester Pa. Chester is just 13 miles from downtown Philly and is easily accesible from Interstate 95 and also by SEPTA trains. The stadium will serve as the hub of a $500m waterfront development project. The majority shareholder in the consortium that will own the club is iStar Financial CEO Jay Sugarman. The company is a provider of capital to private and corporate owners of up market real estate. MLS commissioner Don Garber commented, 'Philadelphia brings us one of the most passionate sports markets in the country and provides a natural rivalry with the New York Red Bulls and D.C.United.' Eastern Pennsylvania and the Philadelphia area have a rich soccer tradition that has produced some of the country's best players throughout the years. Professional soccer in Philadelphia dates back to the 1920s and the formation of the American Soccer League with charter member Philadelphia FC.

MLS is continuing expansion discussions with some ten markets in the US and Canada. MLS officials are hopeful that the League could feature as many as 18 clubs by 2011. Garber said, 'We will only expand when we believe the circumstances are right. We continue to seek the essential contribution of strong ownership, an appropriate facility controlled by that ownership, and a market with a tradition of supporting the sport. St. Louis is one of the leading candidates we are considering.'


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