Bloomberg Backs Off Comment About MLS Team Going to Yankee Stadium
QUEENS — The mayor's office backed off Mayor Michael Bloomberg's claim Sunday that the city's new Major League Soccer team would be making their home in the Bronx, instead of Queens.
Bloomberg said in his radio address that the New York Football Club, which had originally discussed a controversial plan to build a soccer stadium in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, would instead play in Yankee Stadium.
He casually noted that the Yankees will share their Bronx home with the New York City Football Club while discussing the city's appeal to a global sports audience.
"Yankee Stadium will become the home of the New York City Football Club, the first soccer club in the five boroughs since the 1970s," Bloomberg said.
A spokeswoman for the mayor said his remarks were an overstatement, and there hasn't been a decision on where the team will play.
"The script for the Mayor's radio address on Sunday overstated the possibility that the New York Football Club could play some games at Yankee Stadium while they search for a permanent home," spokesperson Julie Wood said Monday. "No decision has been made on where they will play."
In May, the team said it would consider building a stadium outside of Flushing Meadows.
WIll Sweeney, co-founder of the Jackson Heights Green Alliance, said he thinks the team should establish themselves in a pre-existing sports arena first before deciding on a permanent location for their stadium.
"We're happy to work with them on a more appropriate home, especially in Queens. we don't want to give up bringing MLS to the borough," he said.
In June, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. wrote a letter to MLS Commissioner Don Garber in an attempt to lure the team across the bridge. He touted his borough's diversity as well as Yankee Stadium's status as a "sports mecca."
The new club is co-owned by the Yankees and the English Premier League’s Manchester City Football Club, and the team could ultimately play there while they still decide where to place their cleats permanently.
Queens Assemblyman Francisco Moya — who said he plans his vacations around seeing his favorite soccer team, Barcelona — had advocated for bringing a soccer stadium to the borough, and still thinks the team could end up building its stadium in Queens.
"I'm extremely confident that the team has been able to engage with the community here, they'll find there's no better place and better home than Queens," he said.
"With the World Cup coming up, you're just going to see once again the diversity of this borough will lend itself as the real fan base for this team."