MLS Announces Orlando Franchise

Orlando City will take the field in the MLS in 2015. (Getty Images)

Major League Soccer announced last night Orlando has been awarded an expansion franchise.

Orlando City SC, who currently play in the third division of American soccer the USL Pro League, will join Major League Soccer in 2015. 

“The fans in Orlando have clearly demonstrated that they are ready for MLS, and we look forward to celebrating with them and working together to set a new standard in this country,” said Orlando City SC founder Phil Rawlins in a statement.

One of the requirements for MLS entry was building a soccer-specific stadium in Orlando. Orlando City played their home games in the Citrus Bowl, an American football stadium with a capacity of 65,000.

City and county officials approved stadium funding last month. An 18,000-seat, $81 million facility will be constructed downtown, not far from Amway Arena, home of the NBA’s Orlando Magic.

For the 2014 season, Orlando City will play in the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex before moving to their new stadium.

MLS plans to add four teams between now and 2020. One will be a partnership between the New York Yankees baseball team and the owners of Manchester City.

Another could be a franchise owned by David Beckham, who was given the option to purchase an MLS franchise in his contract with LA Galaxy.

He has been scouting possible stadium locations in Miami, which could set up a rivalry between his club and Orlando’s.

Qatar Unveils Al Wakrah Concept

The new Al Wakrah stadium concept (Zaha Hadid)

The southernmost host city for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar has revealed details of its planned stadium.

The Al Wakrah stadium will have a capacity of 40,000 with an option to be scaled down to 20,000. Construction is set to begin in January.

Its design is meant to reflect that of an Arabian pearl fishing boat, and it will feature sustainably-sourced structural timber to reflect this.

Cooling components, including shading and aerodynamic and mechanical elements, will keep spectators between 24 and 28 degrees Celsius.

“The stadium reflects what our country stands for from a cultural perspective,” said Hassan Al Thawadi, secretary general of the Qatar 2022 Supreme Committee.

“It is modern, futuristic, and functional.”

The stadium complex will also feature two FIFA-compliant training pitchers, an indoor arena, four tennis courts, two basketball courts, a hotel, retail space, and an international school.

Additionally, a nearby dock will allow fans to board water taxis to Doha and other Qatari ports.

It was developed by AECOM with assistance by Zaha Hadid Architects under the guidance of the Qatar 2022 Supreme Committee. Al Wakrah, a vital commercial port, is about 15 kilometers south of Doha.

Inter President Pledges Stadium

Milan’s San Siro Stadium (Getty Images)

President of Internazionale Milan Erick Thorhir met with Milanese officials about building a new private stadium for the club.

Thorhir took over as president of Inter this week, and spoke with officials while he was attending various events to introduce himself.

“It was a more than cordial meeting, even a friendly one, in which there was an exchange of opinions on sport in Milan and the future development of the city,” explained Mayor Pisapia to Football Italia.

Thorhir purchased a 70% stake in the club from former president Massimo Moratti, who has stayed with the club in the role of honorary president.

A recent law passed in Italy has allowed Serie A clubs to end their lease with municipal stadiums early if they build their own privately funded stadiums. Currently Inter and AC Milan share the San Siro stadium, owned by the city of Milan.

“It was the first step in a dialogue that will continue soon. I can say we set out a joint pathway that will allow us to collaborate for the good of Milan and those who chose our city for an important investment.”

San Siro was built in 1926, and Inter Milan began play there in 1947. It was most recently renovated in 1989.

By INSIDER’s Nick Devlin and Aaron Bauer

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