January 4, 2013
THEY WANT TO PLAY BALL
Report: Mets want to host MLS team at Citi Field; MLS not interested
While the Mets owners have taken themselves out of a quest for an Major League Soccer expansion franchise, their baseball team has thrown its hat into the ring to host one.
According to a report in Friday's New York Daily News, the Mets are "very interested and fully capable" of having an MLS team playing at Citi Field, City Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. said Thursday.
Behind former Flushing, N.Y. resident and MLS commissioner Don Garber, the league is pushing for a second team in the New York/New Jersey market to play at a proposed $300-million, $25,000-seat soccer-specific stadium on 13 acres at Flushing Meadows-Corona Park.
There has been some opposition from open-space advocates to the MLS stadium about losing park sapce, but the league is still moving forward.
“We have a state-of-the-art stadium sitting there waiting to be used a few yards away,” Vallone told the Daily News. “This way we get to keep the parkland and we get Major League Soccer in Queens.”
Vallone is running for Queens borough president.
The Mets said they would be interested in discussing the use of the baseball stadium for an MLS team.
However, MLS does not want to have any part of that.
“An MLS team at Citi Field is a nonstarter for us,” MLS stadium project spokeswoman Risa Heller said in a statement. “A soccer stadium in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park is a win for soccer fans, a win for the Queens community and a win for economic development.”
Anna Dioguardi Moyano of the Fairness Coalition of Queens (FC Queens), which opposes the impact of the MLS stadium, U.S. Tennis Association expansion and a proposed new mall at Citi Field, told the Daily News that sharing the baseball stadium was a “reasonable option.”
The Wilpons had been interested in an owning an MLS team, but were forced to pull out due to recent financial problems stemming from their investments in the Madoff scandal.
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