Report: Toxic Soil Levels at Proposed Stadium Site for David Beckham's MLS Team

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistAugust 20, 2019

MIAMI, FL - JANUARY 29: Former MLS player David Beckham addresses the crowd during the press conference awarding the city of Miami with an MLS franchise at the Knight Concert Hall on January 29, 2018 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images)
Eric Espada/Getty Images

An environmental analysis has found the proposed site for David Beckham's Major League Soccer franchise in Miami contains toxic and illegal levels of soil.

As Joey Flechas of the Miami Herald reported, an assessment at the Melreese golf course has found that "arsenic contamination levels" have reached twice the allowed limit.

"A report by a consultant paints an ugly picture of what lies beneath the golf course—and in some spots, the contamination is right near the surface, as shallow as a half-foot deep," Flechas wrote. "Nearly the entire site is sullied by ash from an old municipal incinerator that was shut down decades ago."

A consultant's report quoted by Flechas noted that assessors have encountered tile, metal, glass, wood fragments and concrete on the plot of land. Miami Mayor Francis Suarez was reportedly informed of the findings on Monday.

World Soccer Talk noted that this is a potentially significant setback for the football club:

World Soccer Talk @worldsoccertalk

It seems that #InterMiami's attempts to get a stadium approved and built in Miami are doomed. Every single step they take, they encounter another massive problem https://t.co/Htjj31f3sO

Chris Wittyngham of TUDN commented on what appears to be a serious issue for the area:

Chris Wittyngham @ChrisWittyngham

Reaches beyond an Inter Miami issue. This is a public safety issue. Seems like people really shouldn’t play on this golf course. But, the Herald reports that cleanup of arsenic/other contamination could cost up to $50 million. https://t.co/TEPdEA5Bi0

The 131-acre site was earmarked to be the future home of Inter Miami, as well as a mall and offices.

Suarez said the findings represent "great concerns." 

Per the Associated Press (h/t the Guardian), Commission Chairman Ken Russell said "this is the largest contaminated park in the city's portfolio." 

Environmental firm EE&G found that the amounts of barium and lead also exceeded regulations, according to Flechas. Inter Miami officials estimated the cost to sterilise the site may be in the region of $50 million.

Beckham confirmed last September that his much-anticipated franchise would be called Club Internacional de Futbol Miami. The club will enter MLS in the 2020 season.