ORLANDO (AP) — Months after approving $20 million in tourism tax money to help build an $84 million soccer-specific stadium in downtown Orlando, several county officials that approved that funding say they were misled about the requirements Major League Soccer said were necessary to award to the city a franchise.
Officials said during a meeting Tuesday that it was always their understanding that having a team play in Orlando’s Florida Citrus Bowl, which is undergoing a $200 million renovation, was a nonstarter for MLS.
But last month MLS awarded Atlanta a new franchise, endorsing its plan to play in a $1.2 billion hybrid soccer/NFL stadium with a retractable roof.
Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs and Orlando City Soccer maintain that similarly retrofitting the Citrus Bowl for soccer was explored, but deemed cost prohibitive.
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