West Ham plan to launch US club

West Ham United are in talks with a Florida group about having a team play in the USA.

The ground-breaking move would see the Hammers play in United Soccer League One - America's equivalent of the Championship.

Francisco Marcos, president of the USL, claims West Ham will not be contravening rules.

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He said: "FIFA rules only state that owners cannot have two clubs or teams competing in the same competition, so there's no problem here."

West Ham operations director Ben Illingworth and academy director Tony Carr spearheaded negotiations in Tampa on behalf of chairman Eggert Magnusson.

West Ham signed a deal with the USL at the end of July, a reciprocal arrangement involving academy players and branding. 'At that point the option to play in the USL was inserted in the agreement.

"We're looking to West Ham for setting a trend in terms of direct ownership," added Marcos.

"This would be very different in terms of responsibilities and commitment, like the difference between renting a flat and owning a house.

"But Umbro, West Ham's kit sponsors, also own 98 per cent of the USL and I own the other two per cent, so they will have all the help they need to get set up here."

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