NFL MAY PUT L.A. ON HOLD UNRESOLVED ISSUES COULD FORCE DELAY.
DETROIT - The NFL's selection of a stadium site in Los Angeles could be put off until next year after several owners said Thursday at a league meeting they were still far from resolving the league's pair of over-arching economic issues - new agreements on labor and revenue sharing.
The NFL since May has targeted its fall meeting in Kansas City, Oct. 25-27, as the date it had hoped to choose between Anaheim and the Coliseum. But owners now are expected to be consumed by the economic issues at that meeting.
``It's unlikely,'' Steelers president Art Rooney II said of thepossibility of choosing a site in Los Angeles this month. ``We've got other issues to deal with.''
Despite Thursday being the fourth owners meeting in six months devoted to revenue sharing and labor issues, they show few signs of being resolved soon.
A new revenue sharing agreement has been tabled for now, as theNFL focuses on a new collective bargaining agreement. While Commissioner Paul Tagliabue was tight-lipped on the status of negotiations - he'd recently promised a fine to any owner who discussed them publicly - he didn't paint a pretty picture for the owners.
``The commissioner said things are not moving along at a pace we would like them to,'' Falcons owner Arthur Blank said. ``The message I got was that there was a significant gap.''
The NFL had been pushing ahead on a parallel track in Los Angeles. Last week, it delivered drafts of a lease agreement to the Coliseum and Anaheim officials and NFL executive Neil Glat, the league's point person in Los Angeles, has been asking both sites to be prepared to make formal presentations in Kansas City.
But Thursday he conceded that might not happen.
``The timetable could shift,'' Glat said.
The NFL's next scheduled meeting is next March. The league could call a special meeting for Los Angeles, or could piggyback the issue on any subsequent special meetings for economic issues. But that is unlikely, according to a league source.
``I don't want to speculate on what that means until we know where we are at the end of October,'' said Glat, whose update on Los Angeles was put off until the end of the month.
Some owners and league officials have maintained they needed to resolve labor and revenue-sharing issues before they could come to a stadium agreement because those deals would affect the economics of a stadium lease.
However, a league source said Thursday that it's more a matter of clearing the CBA and revenue sharing from the owners' plate so they can focus on Los Angeles. In the meantime, lease agreements could be reached with both sites with a window, perhaps six months, for some of the particulars to be ironed out and during which the NFL could pull out of the deal.
Nevertheless, a lengthy delay could affect the NFL's options.
Anaheim, which has seen land values skyrocket in the Platinum Triangle - the area in which the stadium would be located - had asked for a decision in May, but saw enough progress to continue to the fall. An city official indicated he wasn't sure how much longer the city would wait.
``If there's not a decision in October, then obviously we'll have the opportunity to go back to the city council and talk about what our options are for the area,'' Anaheim spokesman John Nicoletti said. ``The Platinum Triangle continues to be a tremendous growth opportunity for Anaheim and the rest of Orange County. We want to make sure we take advantage of the opportunity being presented to us.''
Glat said he hoped Anaheim would continue negotiations.
``We expect them to, but it's up to them,'' Glat said. ``We're sensitive to the timing issue, but slipping by a few months shouldn't affect their commitment.''
Coliseum Commission president Bill Chadwick said he isn't surprised there is talk of a delay.
``We've done our work,'' Chadwick said before the commission's monthly meeting Thursday. ``We're ready, but they set the calendar. Whether a deal gets done in Kansas City, I don't have any control over.''
The Coliseum still has plenty of its own issues to clear up. The city council will vote Tuesday on whether to approve a redevelopment bill - it is expected to do so - and there are some questions about alterations the NFL wants to the proposed stadium redesign.
``We're reviewing the lease right now and there are a lot of people that have to review a very complicated document - the nine commissioners, staff, the city, county and state and third-party counsel,'' Chadwick said. ``We'd like to respond, whether we have a problem or don't have a problem, before Kansas City.''
An extended delay into 2006 could bring the Rose Bowl back into contention. Pasadena city councilman Chris Holden is leading a signature-gathering drive for a ballot measure that would require the city to present an offer to the NFL. Last June, the city council couldn't muster enough votes to go forward with a proposal.
Billy Witz, (818) 713-3621
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|Publication:||Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)|
|Date:||Oct 7, 2005|
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