Orange County commissioner cries foul after MLS approves NFL-soccer stadium for Atlanta



ORLANDO, Fla. - The debate surrounding Orlando's new soccer stadium is expected to heat up Tuesday.

Orange County Commissioner Ted Edwards thinks Major League Soccer has a double standard because it said a renovated Citrus Bowl would not work for the Orlando City Soccer Club.

However, MLS approved a $1.2 billion NFL and soccer stadium for Atlanta.

"Most of the commissioners were duped," said Edwards. "They weren't provided all of the information. There was some information shared selectively."

Edwards believes commissioners didn't have all the information about MLS' demands when the county decided to spend $20 million of tourism tax money on a soccer-specific stadium instead of making changes to the Citrus Bowl.

Edwards said he wants to see all correspondence with the league.

"I am being told, 'Oh, no we looked at that.' The city looked at it or certain individuals and decided it wasn't feasible, but none of that was shared with our community," Edwards said.

Mayor Teresa Jacobs said it's hard to compare Orlando's decision to renovate the Citrus Bowl and build a new soccer stadium to the multiuse facility being built in Atlanta.

The owner of the Atlanta Falcons also owns the soccer club and is privately footing part of the $1.2 billion bill for that stadium.

"If we would have thrown that out, I think they would have said, 'Great,'" said Jacobs. "We didn't throw that out because we are not going to build a $1.2 billion stadium. That's a lot of money, folks. We don't have that kind of money to put into this. We're investing $20 million, not $1.2 billion."

Jacobs said it's more cost-effective to have two stadiums than one "mega expensive" stadium because the county is only funding half of the new soccer stadium.

"I don't agree with him. I simply don't agree with him," she said.

Edwards said it's more about accountability than changing plans at this point.