Many sources have claimed Barcelona is unsure about plans to become involved in a Major League Soccer (MLS) expansion team in Miami.
Questions have come up on who will put the money for the team. It appears some claim Barcelona would split the 40 million fee but my source assures me Mr. Claure is putting the money and not Barcelona. Barcelona would put their name, experience and know how.
Why all this drama? Chief Executive Joan Oliver advised that they are moving ahead cautiously with the bid. Oliver addressed club members at a meeting last week, informing them that pursuing a joint interest in the latest MLS club was a very delicate matter at this time considering the current world financial situation. Despite this claim a few days back MLS Commissioner Garber was invited to Barcelona to discuss the bid and watch the game versus Espanol. We can only wonder and speculate but if there was any indication Barcelona Miami was out then that was the moment to do it.
As I wrote earlier there is internal strife within Barcelona. President Joan Laporta's term will be over in 2010 and it has been reported that the average Barcelona fan is weary of the MLS team because they are not very well informed about the details. Additionally Laporta has been a controversial leader and has been involved in many questionable decisions with and without the team.
As stated, none of this means the Barcelona/Claure bid is out the window. But lets discuss the worst case scenario, which would be the withdrawal of Barcelona. What would happen if this were the case? The bid would weaken no doubt, but Claure is said to be committed to this project and there have been discussions with Traffic Sports owners of the USL Miami FC who might become partners in some capacity with Barcelona and Claure should the previous two decide it convenient. There is after all a stadium ready for the team to start in 2010.
Should Barcelona drop out it would leave Claure and Traffic alone if they choose to continue, but still strong enough to contend for the expansion spot. Marcelo Claure is owner of Bolivian soccer power Bolivar and Traffic Sport besides owning Miami FC, has extensive knowledge of the sport having organized countless tournaments including the current CONCACAF 2010 world cup matches.
Having said all this, as of this moment the bid continues and the statement made by Olive might only be Barcelona's way of posturing for a better deal, considering the new revitalized Montreal bid would have many concessions such as not out right paying for the MLS entrance fee.
My source tells me there will be a meeting next week but he did not have details on what would be discussed.
More to follow.