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MLS, Blank set Wednesday announcement for Atlanta

Photo: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank is slated to be part of Wednesday's MLS announcement, during which it is expected that Atlanta will be granted an expansion franchise.

ATLANTA (AP) - Major League Soccer and Falcons owner Arthur Blank are planning a ''major announcement'' Wednesday on a proposed expansion team to play in Atlanta's new downtown stadium.

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Blank has long coveted a top-level soccer team for the city, and negotiations with the MLS intensified after he reached a deal on building a new $1 billion retractable roof stadium next to the Georgia Dome. Site preparation has already started, and the facility is expected to open in 2017.

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Both the MLS and a top official from Blank's organization acknowledged last week that the two sides were close to a deal. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that the new team would be announced Wednesday.

Blank, MLS commissioner Don Garber and Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed are scheduled to attend the news conference.

Copyright 2014 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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