10 Mar 2009

Beckham intends to buy an MLS franchise at the end of his career

10:25 am on 10 March 2009

David Beckham plans to exercise a clause in his contract allowing him to buy an American Major League Soccer franchise at the end of his playing career.

The England midfielder agreed a dual contract at the weekend that will allow him to play for both AC Milan and LA Galaxy.

And he is already making plans for when his Galaxy contract ends in 2011.

Beckham says he has the right to own an MLS franchise, and says he'll action it immediately after he's stopped playing.

Beckham reiterated his "commitment to develop soccer in the United States, which is something I am passionate about" and said his family will remain in LA.

The Seattle Sounders, whose majority owner is film executive Joe Roth, had to pay an 80 million dollar "franchise fee" to join MLS for the 2009 season.

The Sounders will become the 15th team to enter the MLS this season, Philadelphia will join in 2010 and there are plans to add two more franchises in 2011.

Vancouver, Ottawa, Portland and St Louis are in the running for the 2011 places.

Beckham, who would probably enter a deal with his manager, Simon Fuller, would be unlikely to get involved with one of these bids.

Las Vegas and San Diego, who have long expressed an interest in joining MLS and are close to Beckham's LA base, could be more likely destinations.