A Big “W” in Court: Judge denies attempt to stop Inter Miami CF from continuing plans to demolish Lockhart Stadium

Miami, Fla. (Friday, May 3, 2019) – Kenneth Russo

Ordered and Adjudged that Plaintiff’s Emergency Motion for Temporary Injunction, filed April 23, 2019, is hereby DENIED. Additionally, Plaintiff’s unverified request for Emergency Relief, filed April 30, 2019, is hereby DENIED. Furthermore, this Court GRANTS Defendants’ Request for reasonable attorney’s fees in defending against Plaintiff’s unverified Request For Emergency Relief, pursuant to section 57.105, Florida Statutes. See Also Admin. Order 2014-32-Civ(c)(6) (Sep. 30, 2014). DONE AND ORDERED in Chambers at Fort Lauderdale, Broward County, on this May 3rd, 2019. s/ Raag Singhal, Circuit Court Judge


And with those words, the merit-less attempt to stop Inter Miami CF from continuing its plans to demolish the abandoned and dilapidated Lockhart Stadium, in order to make way for a new stadium, training centre and academy, was disposed of, leaving club officials, supporters and fans with a much-needed victory.

David J. Winker, acting as counsel for FXE Futbol, went to court to put a halt to the work. He left court owing what will surely be a hefty legal bill to the attorneys who defended the City of Fort Lauderdale and Miami Beckham United, LLC. against an emergency motion seeking an injunction that the Court felt was thoroughly without merit.

The primary argument raised by Miami Beckham United, LLC, a co-defendant in this case, was that the City of Fort Lauderdale’s decision to accept the unsolicited bid it made was one that is not properly reviewable by the Court: “The Plaintiff cites to zero authority, and Inter Miami is aware of none, that supports the proposition that a third party, without a legally recognized contractual or property interest in specific municipally owned property, such as Plaintiff, may enjoin that municipality from demolishing its own property.” (Defendant Miami Beckham United, LLC’s Response in Opposition To Plaintiff’s Emergency Motion For Temporary Injunction, pg. 5,6)

It was also argued that the Plaintiff lacks standing (a legal term meaning that it has no ability to bring forth a claim) and failed to meet any of the four requirements needed to be shown for injunctive relief to be granted.

The team’s counsel John K. Shubin, made this statement after today’s decision:

“Today’s decision confirms that the process that is bringing world-class soccer to the City of Fort Lauderdale was both lawful and fair. Our client will continue to move forward in good faith with the hard work that needs to be accomplished to convert this process into a reality. We also hope that we have seen the end of this meritless litigation.”

John K. Shubin, Esq.

With a little over 300 days until the start of the 2020 season, at least the question of where Club Internacional de Fútbol Miami will be playing its home games took a big step forward today.

A major component of Inter Miami CF’s plans for the Lockhart site, in addition to a 19,000 seat stadium that will serve as the interim home for the club as well as the permanent home to its affiliated USL League One (3rd Division), is a youth soccer academy — a competitive, travelling soccer team of the region’s best young players. The academy will be fully funded by the club, and players selected will be able to attend for free. The first members of the Inter Miami CF Academy are expected to be announced sometime soon. More than 6,000 South Florida youth players were scouted and over 500 were invited to attend formal tryouts that have been held at the Central Broward Regional Park and Stadium.

For the public, four “pitches” — a regulation size soccer field that can be used for other sports — will be created, as well as a dog park, a running trail, playground and public park. The estimated investment that Inter Miami is making, including new, $30 million stadium: up to $60 million.

Inter Miami’s permanent home will be located in Miami at Miami Freedom Park, the site now occupied by the Melreese Golf Club. The team is currently working out the details of a lease which will be presented to the City of Miami.

UPDATE: Lockhart Stadium’s demolition is set to officially begin this Wednesday, May 8, 2019. All supporter groups and fans are welcome to arrive between 8:15-8:45 A.M. EDT.

© 2019 Russo Law & Soccer

Inter Miami CF Enters Into Agreement with KIN

KIN Partners will be the exclusive sponsorship sales representation agency.

Miami, FL (Tuesday, February 5, 2019) by Kenneth Russo –

Club Internacional de Fútbol Miami (“Inter Miami CF”) continues to make impressive steps in its development, now with slightly more than one year before it kicks off play in North America’s Major League Soccer.

The club announced on February 1, 2019, that it has entered into a contract with the London-based firm, which is headed up by industry veterans Simon Oliveira and Matthew Kay, KIN recently expanded into Miami and Oliveira, the Managing Director of KIN, has previously worked on Beckham’s other business projects. Among KIN’s roster of international clients is Neymar, Jr.

KIN’s role will be to identify and develop sponsorship opportunities for the expansion club.

“Miami is recognised as a global city with a mix of wonderful cultures and we cannot wait to start working with both the vastly impressive ownership group and one of the most exciting properties in world sports today,” said Matthew Kay.

The announcement comes within days after Inter Miami put forward plans to build a training facility, including a multi-purpose stadium, on the site of the Lockhart Stadium, previously used by the now defunct North American Soccer League’s (NASL) Fort Lauderdale Strikers.

Given the transformational aspect of Miami Freedom Park, partnering with an international agency appears to be a smart move. Interest in Inter Miami CF has been high, and the home of the team, in addition to a 25,000 seat stadium, a public park and public soccer fields, will feature hotel, entertainment and retail space as well as a technology hub. It is a US$1 billion complex that will create thousands of jobs and generate millions of dollars in tax revenue to the city, county, state and school board.

© 2019 Russo Law & Soccer

Original Supporters’ Group Southern Legion / La Legion Del Sur, issues statement amid reports of a rebrand.

Miami, FL (Saturday, February 2, 2019)

Third supporters’ group emerges in the most bizarre fashion.

In a pure sign of increasing enthusiasm and interest in the run up to Club Internacional de Fútbol Miami’s (Inter Miami CF) inaugural season in 2020, the community of supporters’ groups has now grown to three.

This after several members of the original supporters’ group Southern Legion / La Legion del Sur, split away from the established organisation to form a new one. It appears that this new splinter group is also furthering confusion amongst Miami soccer fans by alleging that they in fact are the Southern Legion, rather than calling themselves a newly formed group. A press release to this effect was even issued on the new group’s website. The group, calling themselves the Siege, reportedly has assumed control over the real Southern Legion’s Facebook and Instagram accounts, renaming those accounts to reflect the branding of the new group.

The logo of Southern Legion / Legion del Sur

A look at the Southern Legion twitter account suggests that the breakaway group was the result of collusion between at least two Legion members.

https://twitter.com/southern_legion/status/1091889035046469632?s=21

On Friday, the Board of Directors of the real Southern Legion / Legion del Sur, took to Twitter to defend the group’s brand and clear up the confusion:

What we do know is that Southern Legion / Legion del Sur traces its origins to 2008, around the time the mighty FC Barcelona was looking to enter into a partnership to bring a Barça branded club to MLS in Miami.

Ever since then, the Legion, as they are called for short, has been a driving force to increase awareness and support for soccer in Miami, and an MLS club in Vice City, in particular.

They have been seen at events including soccer matches, lower division team games, political rallies and countless city and county hearings. Their scarves and shirts have traveled the globe.

https://twitter.com/southern_legion/status/562665570639028225?s=21

So instrumental was the Legion to the efforts of David Beckham, Marcelo Claure, and new investors Jorge and Jose Mas to finally land Inter Miami, that they were given preferred seating at the official announcement of the team back in January 29, 2018 and were singled out by Marcelo Claure in his speech that day at the Knight Concert Hall.

Marcelo Claure at the official unveiling of Fútbol Miami MLS on January 29. 2018.

While details are scarce, it seems readily apparent that some inner circle members of Southern Legion felt that a name change and brand was a way to stake a claim to being the “official” supporters group for Inter Miami CF. As the months went by after the official birth of the team, a second supporters’ group, Vice City 1896, emerged. With two strong groups in place, any notion that there would be only one supporters’ group, let alone an “official” one, was neither realistic nor practical. In such an environment, there should be intrinsic value in having an established brand.

What can be confirmed at present is that Inter Miami CF now has three supporters’ groups. And Southern Legion / Legion del Sur is definitely one of them:

https://twitter.com/southern_legion/status/1092150419059548160?s=21

Of course, having multiple supporters’ groups is anything but a bad sign. Within Major League Soccer, most, if not all of the clubs, have more than one such group. It is also common place in Europe and South America. In a place as diverse as Miami, multiple groups only seems natural. The next step will be to harness this passion into creating an unparalleled game day atmosphere.

Southern Legion marches on January 29, 2018.

David Beckham follows ex-Manchester United teammates with 10% ownership in Salford City

Beckham joins his former teammates Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, The Neville brothers, Gary and Phil, and Nicky Butt in taking part-ownership of the club.

Miami, FL (Monday, January 29, 2019) – by Kenneth Russo –

https://salfordcityfc.co.uk

Not many outside of the United Kingdom have likely heard of Salford City Football Club. But when a former world football icon decides to invest in your club, things change, and quickly. Such was the case last week when David Beckham purchased a ten percent ownership interest in Salford City FC. With this purchase, the star matches his ten percent ownership stake in Club Internacional de Fútbol Miami, which is celebrating its one-year birthday today.

“It’s a proud moment for me to join Peter Lim and the Class of ’92 lads as an owner of Salford City FC,” Beckham said. “It’s a really special club and a special group of people. My early years in Manchester were all spent in Salford. I grew up there in many ways so to be able to finally join the lads and the club today is a great feeling.”

“We all have ambitions and we all have goals, and you have to have big ones and reach for the sky.” – David Beckham

Beckham, 43, is the final member of the famed “Class of ’92” to take a stake in the club as the group of former Manchester United players, Nicholas Butt, Ryan Giggs, Gary Neville, Philip Neville & Paul Scholes, becomes the majority shareholders with 60% combined, while Peter Lim remains the single largest shareholder with 40%. The ownership entity in which the club is wholly-owned is known as Project 92 Limited. The transaction is subject to FA approval and regulations, and the club expects a further announcement to follow.

Lim will continue to offer financial stability to the club and is an essential figure in moving the club forward, while Beckham’s arrival strengthens the ownership profile.

Never a person with small ambitions, Beckham offered this: “We all have ambitions and we all have goals, and you have to have big ones and reach for the sky.”

Beckham’s investment comes nearly five years after his ex-teammates made their investment into the club. That influx of talent has been obvious.
Since 2014, Salford City has won three promotions in four seasons, Moor Lane has been redeveloped into the 5,000-plus capacity Peninsula Stadium, and the club is playing at the highest level in its history. Away from the first team, other areas of football operations have been developed, including Academy 92, Salford City Lionesses and independent charity Foundation 92 all established since 2017.

At the time that the Class of 92 bought the club in 2014, Salford City FC was playing in the Northern Premier League, Division One North. It became full-time in 2017 and currently plays in the National League following the string of promotions. As of January 23, 2019, they sits three point off top spot, with the division’s winners earning automatic promotion to League Two, the fourth division of English Football.

https://salfordcityfc.co.uk/league-table/

For their part, the former United stars say they were pleased David Beckham was joining them: “From the very beginning we wanted David to be involved and be with us on this incredible journey, however circumstances and commitments didn’t allow that. Now the time is right and is another exciting time in Salford City’s history.”

“It is important to emphasise that nothing will change in the day to day operations of the club but to have us all together was always the vision. We grew up in Salford, carved our careers here and that’s why we are doing what we are doing at Salford City.”

“We have grown to love this club and the fans and we would like to welcome David to the club and to becoming part of the Salford City family.”

Club officials were equally excited. “It’s really exciting I feel like it’s a new era for the club. I think the interest that we had at the beginning when the Class of 92 first came in will reinvigorate,” said Chairman Karen Baird. “I expect we’ll see more people come through the gates to see if they can see David Beckham, and going forward it will help raise the profile of the club around the world.”

Salford City FC Press Conference on January 23, 2019

Links to The Guardian, Sky News, and Salford City FC appear below.

https://www.theguardian.com/football/2019/jan/23/david-beckham-salford-city-stake-class-of-92-neville-giggs-butt-scholes

news.sky.com/story/david-beckham-follows-ex-manchester-united-teammates-with-10-salford-city-stake-11615261

https://salfordcityfc.co.uk/david-beckham-salford-exciting-times/

© 2019 Russo Law & Soccer

Miami Freedom Park takes another step forward as negotiations with City of Miami are given go ahead

Miami, FL (Wednesday, January 16, 2019) by Kenneth Russo –

Miami Freedom Park. “Let The People Decide.” After much debate, the people of Miami were allowed to decide. They voted on November 6, 2018, and the people said, “Let’s do this.” And now, the next phase of making the dream a reality took another step forward. The will of the people will prevail.

It’s coming.

As reported today in the Miami Herald by Joey Flechas, Jose Arrojo, executive director of the Miami-Dade Commission on Ethics and Public Trust, confirmed that the lobbyists involved in the soccer stadium deal had fulfilled their registration requirement. Miami City Attorney Victoria Mendez was officially informed by the county ethics commission Wednesday morning, via a letter advising her that the issue regarding lobbyists’ registrations had been resolved.

Miami’s city administrators thus have a green light to work out details of a 99-year lease with Miami Freedom Park, LLC. Despite the fact that the complaint remains open, the city can begin negotiating the lease under the broad terms overwhelmingly approved by voters in the November referendum.

City Manager Emilio Gonzalez and his staff will work with Miami Freedom Park, LLC, of which Jorge Mas is currently the sole member. (1) The basic terms of this transaction were made part of a term sheet agreed to as part of the city commission sessions on July 17, 2018. (2) Now, the parties will begin negotiations and a prepare a document that will outline the terms under which Melreese Country Club, located on 131 acres of public land adjacent to Miami International Airport, will be transformed into the visionary Miami Freedom Park — a $1 billion private development that will have a 25,000 seat stadium in a 10-acre corner of the property that will serve as home to Club Internacional de Fútbol Miami and which will include Miami Freedom Park, a 58 acre park that will be the city’s largest, as well as public soccer fields. From there, a formal ground lease can be drafted and presented to the city commissioners for ratification.

While there is much discussion in the Herald article concerning the ownership structure of Miami Freedom Park, LLC, in reality a limited liability company can easily alter its legal ownership in a straightforward procedure to add additional owners, who are referred to as ‘members’. This means the other investor-owners of the soccer team (which is operated under Miami Beckham United, LLC) would be admitted at the appropriate time. It is a fairly common practice in commercial transactions. As it stands right now, the primary business interest of Miami Freedom Park, LLC will be what is known as a ‘leasehold interest,’ i.e., the ground lease with the city, and that of course does not exist yet. Thus, the issue of who the members of Miami Freedom Park, LLC are is not relevant since there is no interest to share yet with other potential members. The terms and conditions of the lease must first be worked out. Moreover, there are also practical and necessary reasons beyond the scope of this article as to why the company holding the lease with the city is different from the entity owning Inter Miami CF, reasons that have nothing to do with lack of transparency.

It should also be mentioned that during the two days of sessions held at city hall last summer, which I attended, the issue of the identities of the principles of Miami Freedom Park, LLC was never raised by city commissioners or officials.

What’s next for Miami Freedom Park? Once a lease is agreed to, it requires the approval of four out of five city commissioners. With Commissioner Reyes eternally opposed based on his interpretation of ‘the process’ and Commissioner Gort also speaking against, the Herald writer made a point of including the usual rhetoric from Reyes and Gort, and described the likelihood for success at the city commission as being “a long shot.” But that sells this vision short. Critics and doubters have been spelling doom for the Miami MLS project at every step of the way over the past five years – and they’ve been wrong every time.

When asked about the chances of success, Jorge Mas had this to say: “The city of Miami voters spoke loud and clear in overwhelming fashion. And no matter the delays or obstacles we will deliver this project to our residents.”

“We have instructed our team and lawyers to ‘GO’ and bring this before the commission as soon as possible with the exact deal and benefits voters approved,” Jorge Mas stated. “We fully anticipate that the commission will listen to the voters and residents, but reiterate we are in this for the long haul if necessary.”

This dream that David Beckham and his co-investors have has always been about having vision, about the power of perseverance and the determination to never give up. In the words of Beckham himself at the formal announcement of Fútbol Miami just about a year ago, “I never quit.” It must succeed, and it will. No matter how big the obstacle, I know where I’m placing my money.

Miami Herald – City can begin negotiations on lease

________________

(1) Miami Freedom Park, LLC is a Delaware Limited Liability Company, with its principal business address in Miami. It was filed in Delaware on 5/16/2018, and is duly authorized to do business in Florida.

(2) Link: Term Sheet for Ground Lease and Master Development Plan re Miami Freedom Park

Rendition of Miami Freedom Park by Miami Freedom Park, LLC

Want to Establish a Great Culture at Your Soccer Club? Do this first.

Miami, FL (Tuesday, January 15, 2019.)

At the core of any successful company is a great culture. To establish one, think about how you want your company to impact the world. Where does one begin this?

Football (Soccer/Fútbol) clubs are no different. What do two of the largest clubs have to say about this? What does a new club do first?

Read more to find out with the link below!

Continue reading Want to Establish a Great Culture at Your Soccer Club? Do this first.