Major League Soccer (MLS) commissioner Don Garber has stated that the league remains focused on placing its 20th franchise in New York but the New York Cosmos are not a shoe-in, reports Sport Business.
Speaking in his 2011 State of the League teleconference, Garber outlined that MLS had hired a full-time staff member, along with a host of consultants, to explore potential stadium sites in New York and boost the expansion process.
The league has been determined to create a rival team to the New York Red Bulls and the recent resurrection of the New York Cosmos franchise had led many to believe they would land an expansion franchise.
But recent changes in ownership of the Cosmos, where Saudi Arabian company Sela Sport are now in full control, have clouded the issue and Garber admitted they are not the only party in the running for the 20th franchise.
Garber met with a group representing Orlando City on Thursday and added there is interest from Las Vegas and Detroit.
Stating he will meet with Sela Sport at the forthcoming MLS Cup, Garber said: “We’ll continue to work with (the Cosmos), but also with many others,” he said. “I think people think we throw that out just to have leverage. People in New York know that there are several potential ownership groups and, until we’re further along in the process, we’re going to speak to as many people as we can because that’s the best way to ensure that we get an ownership group that will have resources and be able to make the commitments to be good partners in Major League Soccer.”