David Beckham's bid for a Major League Soccer team suffered a setback when the city of Miami rejected his plan to build a downtown waterfront stadium on a site next to the Miami Heat basketball arena.

Beckham's business group, Beckham Miami United, issued a statement saying city officials determined the proposed site was an "inappropriate location".

The statement said Beckham's group would "spend the coming months weighing alternatives" in the city.

Beckham has travelled frequently to Miami in the last few months to explore the creation of an MLS franchise and has stressed the importance of a downtown stadium location. It was the second waterfront site proposed by Beckham's group to run into local resistance.

The group headed by the former England, Manchester United and Real Madrid star needs to ink a stadium deal before it can win final approval for the franchise from MLS, the top professional league in the United States.

Scrutiny of sports stadium deals has risen sharply in Miami after $500m in public funding was spent to build a new stadium for the Miami Marlins baseball team.

Beckham's group has agreed to finance a $250m stadium with seating for 20,000 and to pay rent on publicly owned land.

Beckham's initial preferred site for the stadium, a plot of land near the Port of Miami, faced criticism from Royal Caribbean Cruises and others who argued the stadium would interfere with port operations.

Despite the setbacks, sources close to the Beckham project said the group is committed to building a stadium in Miami.

Source: Reuters