With stadium bill shot down, Orlando MLS expansion bid suffers major setback
Orlando’s ongoing plans for a Major League Soccer expansion franchise took a major hit on Friday, when the Florida House of Representatives killed a bill that would have provided funding support for the a proposed MLS stadium in downtown Orlando.
The bill also killed the funding for renovations to Miami’s Sun Life Stadium, widely considered the home to an MLS franchise if the league someday ventures back into South Florida.
“We are bitterly disappointed that House Bill #7127 reached in impasse in the HOR today,” the Orlando City Soccer Club tweeted out Friday night. “We will continue to work to bring MLS to Orlando.”
Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, who has been one of the biggest proponents of bringing MLS to central Florida, blamed House Speaker Will Weatherford for killing the bill, but Weatherford defended the move in the Orlando Sentinel.
"I don't think anybody was blocking the stadium from coming through," Weatherford told the Sentinel. "I think that at the end of the day some bills pass and some bills die."
Weatherford told the Sentinel that the complication was that there were multiple professional teams looking for a tax break with the bill.
Orlando City SC owner Phil Rawlins (above left, with MLS Commissioner Don Garber) took to Twitter with his discontent over the decision, tweeting “bitterly disappointed with the politics I just witnessed in Tallahassee. On to the next step!”