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Feb 9, 2011

AEG reveal Beckham reasons

David Beckham's move to Tottenham collapsed because the LA Galaxy wanted the midfielder to play a full season at the club, according to their owners.

• Beckham extends Spurs stay

Beckham was seeking a short-term loan move to Spurs, but instead has been training at the club ahead of the new MLS season which begins in March. Now, Tim Leiweke, the president of the Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG) which owns the Galaxy, says that the decision to refuse Beckham a move had been his.

''I am the one who made the decision about asking David to come back and play a full season of Major League Soccer because we haven't been able to do that, whether due to loans or injury,'' he said. ''Our commitment has been, 'David, you need to be back here for the MLS season that begins in March'.

''It is because we asked for that commitment that the timeline with Tottenham, as such, meant it was very difficult for them to figure out a way to integrate David into the team. But we encouraged David and co-operated about David going to train because there is a relationship with us and [Spurs chairman] Daniel Levy and the Tottenham squad.''

Meanwhile, Leiweke confirmed AEG have formed a ''strategic alliance'' with the London club that could see Spurs stars play for the MLS side in the future. AEG and Spurs are already working together on the bid to take over the London Olympic stadium and Leiweke claimed links would continue to get stronger.

He added: ''Part of what has been created is a strategic alliance between AEG and Tottenham. We are beginning to think outside the box on football and how we do things together on football, whether that's David Beckham training or maybe players from Tottenham coming to the Galaxy (or) playing games against each other.

''So I think strategically you will see more of an alliance between us and Tottenham long term.''

Leiweke also maintained that London's Olympic Stadium would ''go broke in 10 years'' if an athletics track were retained in a venue used primarily for football.

Spurs' rivals bidders for the hosting of the stadium are West Ham, who plan to retain the track in line with promises made to the International Olympic Committee when London won the right to host the Games. But Leiweke said in the experience of AEG, the world's largest owner of sports teams and entertainment venues, it would not work.

''I believe in the Olympic visionaries including Seb Coe - early on we invested a million dollars in support of London and got a lot of flak in the USA as New York was also bidding,'' he added. ''That said, you should be trying to create a lasting legacy for sport, not just encouraging athletes to participate but events that work.

''What they are trying to do is force a legacy for track and field into a venue that won't work for football if it has a track. And guess what - it won't work for track and field either. 'People may not like to hear that but you cannot build a 60,000-seat stadium anywhere in the world that works for both. It would be broke in 10 years.

''We told everyone up front our greatest concern was the track and controversial as that is, if you want to make it perfect I believe Tottenham has done this the right way. It would not work as a £400-500 million investment - the key is not to overbuild it, and about the community using it every day.''

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