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L.A. Is on Agenda for NFL

May 16, 2003|Sam Farmer | Times Staff Writer

NFL owners will discuss the Los Angeles situation when they meet in Philadelphia next week, although the league has yet to invite anyone from the three competing sites -- the Rose Bowl, Coliseum and Carson -- and might not do so.

As it stands, Commissioner Paul Tagliabue and the "L.A. working group," composed of six team owners, will present their findings to the rest of the ownership body. L.A. was not on the original agenda.

There has been significant activity on the L.A. front in recent days. The Pasadena City Council voted unanimously in favor of giving investment banker John Moag permission to negotiate a nonbinding deal with the league that would bring a team to a rebuilt Rose Bowl. Meanwhile, the Coliseum Commission made a dramatic move to simplify its management arrangement and probably make that stadium more appealing to the league. The commission has offered to remove itself from all but policy matters and sublease the stadium to an NFL team, essentially turning over all control to that team.

The league also is mulling an option on a 157-acre site in Carson, the same plot where Michael Ovitz proposed building a stadium for the expansion team that eventually was awarded to Houston. If it were to acquire the land, the NFL could develop a stadium on its own, then work out a deal with an incoming owner.

Sources say Ovitz is only minimally involved in the current Carson scenario and was more matchmaker than dealmaker, intro- ducing the idea to league officials.

There are still issues to be worked out on the land option. But owners might vote next week to authorize Tagliabue and the L.A. working group to negotiate further.

"This option, if the owners ultimately decided to take it, would in no way exclude the Rose Bowl as a potential NFL stadium," NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said. "It simply gives us another alternative as we continue to work to find a solution to the stadium issue in the Los Angeles area."

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