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NFL FOOTBALL IN CLEVELAND IS PRESERVED; MAYOR PLEASED WITH COUNCIL ACTION; BROWNS TO PLAY BALL IN 1999

CLEVELAND, March 9 /PRNewswire/ -- After weeks of intense discussions with Cleveland City Council, the unprecedented "Browns Franchise Commitment Agreement" reached between Mayor Michael R. White and the National Football League has been preserved, pending final approval by the NFL team owners.

"I am pleased that on Monday, owners of NFL teams will be able to vote on an unparalleled deal which guarantees the return of the Browns franchise to Cleveland by 1999," White said. "With this agreement, we have obtained everything we intended to achieve -- and more -- when the Save Our Browns campaign began on November 7."

Mayor White commended City Council members, and also the City's negotiating team, for all their hard work and commitment over the past several weeks to meet the NFL's March 8 deadline.

"Through their intense discussion, compromises were secured to meet the deadline and the 'deal-killers' that jeopardized the agreement were deleted," he said. "I am also pleased that the negotiating team was successful in incorporating 16 Council requests into the deal that will be advantageous for the citizens of Cleveland."

To assists in gaining Council approval of the deal and safeguard against added project costs and time delays, Mayor White and Carole Hoover, CEO and President of the Greater Cleveland Growth Association, on Wednesday proposed to Council President Jay Westbrook a site review period by the City Council and Administration to determine where the new Cleveland Browns Stadium should be built.

On February 9, 1996, Mayor White announced that the "Browns Franchise Commitment Agreement" had been reached between the City and the NFL. The deal preserves the Browns team, colors and legacy, constructs a new state-of-the-art football stadium, reimburses the City for damages which the City suffered at the hands of Art Modell, and brings professional NFL football back to Cleveland by the Fall of 1999. Mayor white introduced legislation to City Council at their February 26 meeting.

"Now that we've secured the necessary Council approval, we look forward to the final acceptance of the deal by the NFL owners on Monday," he said.

The NFL team owners are expected to vote on the deal at their March 11 meeting in West Palm Beach, Fla.

Finally, Mayor white stated he looks forward to "getting the project finished on time and on budget, so that the Cleveland Browns can begin playing ball in 1999."

"With this issue behind us, we can move on to the overriding issues before us. We must now tackle the challenge of improving the Cleveland Public School System with the same energy, enthusiasm, devotion and pride that we committed to the Save Our Browns effort," he added.
 -0- 3/9/96


/CONTACT: Nancy Lesic, 216-664-2239, or Joe Skrabec, 216-664-4529, both of Mayor White's press office/

CO: National Football League ST: Ohio IN: SU:

MP -- NYSA001 -- 1837 03/09/96 08:46 EST
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Date:Mar 9, 1996
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