From the Times Ledger:
Major League Soccer announced Tuesday the New York Yankees have teamed up with an Abu Dhabi sheik to buy a new soccer team franchise based in the Big Apple, but the announcement cast doubt on whether the crew will eventually play in Flushing Meadows Corona Park.
The Bronx Bombers and Sheik Mansour bin Zayed al-Nahyan, who already owns English soccer team Manchester City, hope the new team, New York City Football Club, will begin play in 2015, according to an announcement from the brand new club, which will compete with another team across the Hudson River.
Manchester City will be the majority owner of the club, with the Yankees acting as an investor, according to the club. On May 25, Manchester City will play a friendly match against another British team, Chelsea FC, at Yankee stadium.
Where the new team will play afterward is up in the air.
Last month, Garber reiterated the league’s insistence on Flushing Meadows.
“If we get this done, it will be in Flushing Meadow Park,” Garber said to the Associated Press. “There is no Plan B.”
But statements by the New York City Football Club in its Tuesday announcement seemed to open the possibility the sports facility could be located elsewhere.
“In considering any stadium site, we will listen first. This is what we have always done in Manchester and what we will do in New York. Only in this way can the club truly represent the city whose name it will carry,” said Ferran Soriano, chief executive officer of Manchester City.
The announcement also mentioned the negotiations, public relations pitches and outreach that MLS has been undertaking.
“New York City FC is committed to seeking a new permanent stadium in New York. Until that time, the new team is arranging to play in an interim home beginning in its inaugural MLS season in 2015. Over the past year, MLS began discussions with the city of New York and other stakeholders about the possibility of constructing a new stadium in Flushing Meadows Corona Park in Queens. The club’s new management will continue these discussions with local government officials, community residents and businesses, soccer leagues, and MLS,” the announcement stated. “The club will continue to review other potential sites as well.”
The possibility of another location was welcome news to Queens park advocacy groups.
“As everyone in Queens — except for most of our elected officials — seems to know, the proposed site was a terrible location for any sort of stadium, as it would have horribly impacted the park as well as sat directly on top of the Flushing River, which the Fountain of the Planets currently is sited,” said Paul Graziano, a co-founder of the park advocacy group Save Flushing Meadows Corona Park, which is opposed to commercial development in the green space. “As advocates specifically for Flushing Meadows Corona Park, we are hopeful that we are seeing the last of this awful proposal and that it will evaporate back into thin air where it came from.”