David Beckham's hopes of seeing his new Miami football team play at a prime spot at the port of Miami were on Tuesday all but blown out of the water in a major setback for the former Manchester United idol.
The ex-Real Madrid and England midfielder wants to build a $250-million, state-of-the-art open-air stadium with 25 000 seats for his recently acquired Major League Soccer (MLS) team.
His preferred site, at PortMiami, would have spectacular sweeping views of Biscayne Bay and downtown Miami.
But shipping interests and local authorities have opposed the proposal, fearing it will disrupt port operations.
The Miami-Dade Board of County Commissioners on Tuesday voted against the port site and it looks increasingly likely Beckham will have to settle for another waterfront area nearby that does not share the same impressive view.
Beckham's representatives on Monday admitted the alternative option - at a pier in congested downtown Miami - was now the likeliest contender for the stadium.
“It's unfair to keep giving Mr Beckham and his group any hopes that things can happen in a place that has so many negatives,” Rebeca Sosa, chair of the local board, said in reference to PortMiami.
The final decision will be put to local voters in a referendum.
The alternative site would be next to the American Airlines Arena where the Miami Heat basketball team plays.
The stadium should be ready to house the as-yet-unnamed team for the 2017-2018 season. - Sapa-AFP