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NFL Action on L.A. May Be Delayed

October 07, 2005|Alan Abrahamson | Times Staff Writer

The NFL signaled Thursday that decisive action on a return to the Los Angeles market may be put off amid ongoing labor and revenue-sharing negotiations, raising the possibility of another significant passage of time before the league makes a move back to the nation's second-largest market.

After announcing Thursday that the 2010 Super Bowl would be held in Miami, NFL officials suggested league owners were unlikely to take firm action on a return to the L.A. market at a meeting set for Oct. 25-27.

That late October meeting has for months been a target for some within the league and for proponents of competing stadium projects -- the Coliseum and Anaheim. But, for example, without an extension of the league's collective bargaining agreement, which expires after the 2007 season, owners would be pressed to know how prudent a significant investment in an L.A.-area stadium might be.

"It's certainly a possibility the league does not make a decision on the Los Angeles team in October," Neil Glat, the NFL's vice president for strategic planning, said late Thursday after a league meeting near Detroit.

"But," he emphasized, "we're still trying to make as much progress as possible by that meeting in case owners are prepared to make a decision."

The Los Angeles market has been without football since after the 1994 season, when the Rams moved to St. Louis and the Raiders returned to Oakland.

After the Oct. 25-27 meeting, the next regularly scheduled league meeting is in March.

The league could, however, convene a special session at any time to take up the L.A. issues.

Bill Chadwick, president of the Coliseum Commission, said work on the plan there would continue "diligently."

A lengthy delay could deal a greater impact in Anaheim, where market pressures could prompt interest in a wide variety of development plans for the land -- near Angel Stadium -- under consideration for a football stadium.

"There may come a time someday when an NFL stadium is not the best option," said John Nicoletti, a spokesman for the city of Anaheim. "But we haven't reached that point yet."

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