San Diego MLS group asks league to delay expansion decision

A group seeking to build a Major League Soccer stadium in San Diego has asked the league to delay making an announcement on its latest expansion franchises until after the US city has voted on the matter.

Earlier this year, the SoccerCity group unveiled plans to transform the land on which San Diego’s Qualcomm Stadium (pictured) is located. The stadium is currently without a major league tenant after the Chargers NFL team relocated to Los Angeles, but it still hosts games played by San Diego State University.

MLS is expected to confirm four more expansion franchises by the end of the year. San Diego is set to vote on the SoccerCity proposal in November 2018.

Under the proposal, a $200m (£153m/€172m) MLS-specific stadium would be built on the current stadium site, and serve as the hub of a wide-ranging $1bn development complex.

The plans had also included the option to build another NFL stadium in the immediate vicinity, should the league opt to return to San Diego in the future.

The group had been in discussion with San Diego State but the latter revealed in May that the two parties were unable to reach a compromise.

Nick Stone, of FS Investors, which is leading the project, said in May that the group remained committed to working with the college.

Stone has now stated that the ballot cannot be held before November next year, and has reiterated his desire for San Diego to become the home of a new expansion franchise.

“There really is no path that we can see to a special election that would allow us to have a vote in advance of November of 2018,” Stone said, according to the Fox5 San Diego website.

“No city in the United States is better suited for an MLS franchise than San Diego, and we are 100 per cent confident this community would make every soccer game and event exciting and special. We’re undertaking this campaign on behalf of all the San Diegans who’ve given their time over the past few months to show their support.”

Image: Bspangenberg