Expos, World Cup expected to be discussed

NEW YORK -- The sale of the Los Angeles Dodgers, the future
of the Montreal Expos and the start of a World Cup in 2005 are up
for discussion when baseball owners meet starting Wednesday in
Scottsdale, Ariz.

Owners are not likely to vote on the Dodgers' sale during the
two-day meeting, according to commissioner Bud Selig. Frank
McCourt, a Boston real estate developer, announced Oct. 10 that he
had agreed in principle to purchase the team from News Corp., a
deal worth $430 million. The contract calls for the deal to close
by Jan. 31.

The sale is on the agenda for discussion at the ownership
committee meeting.

"It would probably be unfair for people to vote on something
they haven't even seen," Selig said Tuesday night.

Owners could approve the sale later this month during a
telephone conference call.

"We're getting closer," Duffy Jennings, a spokesman for
McCourt, said Tuesday. McCourt and his wife, Jamie, are "looking
forward to closing the transaction and starting their work with the
Dodgers," Jennings said.

Owners may set a new timetable for a decision to relocate the
Expos, according to Bob DuPuy, baseball's chief operating officer.
The Expos were bought by the other 29 teams before the 2002 season
and owners want funding for a new ballpark in place before making a
decision, but no area has completed financing plans.

Last year, baseball listened to proposals from Northern
Virginia; Portland, Ore.; and Washington, D.C. Baseball officials
have visited Monterrey, Mexico, and Norfolk, Va., in the past week,
and Las Vegas and San Antonio also may be candidates. There also
could be a bid from San Juan, Puerto Rico, where the Expos return
this year for their second straight 22-game slate of "home"

The proposed start of a World Cup in March 2005 also will be
discussed. Baseball officials have said that to have the tournament
take place then, a decision to proceed probably would have to be
made this month.

Also on the international front, baseball officials are
discussing the possibility of having the Florida Marlins and
Houston Astros play an exhibition game in Mexico City this March.
The Dodgers and New York Mets played a pair of games there during
spring training last year.

Owners also may discuss a proposal to start a baseball channel,
similar to networks started by the NFL and NBA.