SBD/24/Franchises

NFL APPROVES RAIDERS' MOVE; SOMEONE STILL MAY HAVE TO PAY

     In an action called both "dramatic and seemingly
contradictory," NFL owners approved the Raiders move to Oakland
Friday in Chicago "while erecting a substantial barrier to the
move itself," according to Barry Witt in the SAN JOSE MERCURY
NEWS.  Raiders Owner Al Davis won approval in a 23-0 vote, with
two absences and five abstentions -- one being Davis himself.
However, the owners "also determined that Oakland and Alameda
County officials have violated" league policy that requires
revenue sharing of PSL money not designated for stadium
construction.  Witt reports that "several owners believe the deal
was structured by the Raiders and East Bay governments to hide
some revenues from the rest of the league by giving them to
public entities, who would then deliver the money to the Raiders
through back-door 'loans.'"  49ers President Carmen Policy told
the MERCURY NEWS that the NFL also wants a piece of the Coliseum
Commission's half-share of club seating and PSL fees, which
officials estimate will bring $7M a year to Oakland and Alameda
County.  East Bay officials were "shocked" at the league's
directive and said "there was no more money to give" (SAN JOSE
MERCURY NEWS, 7/22).  Davis will not have to pay the league a
relocation fee for the move, as league officials say he has met
the guidelines for relocation since Oakland is not a prime NFL
expansion site.  In Chicago, Don Pierson writes that Davis
figures any remaining problems the NFL has will be "essentially
between the league and the Oakland Coliseum" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE,
7/22).
     NINERS NOT HAPPY:  In San Francisco, Glenn Dickey reports
that Policy "was angered" at Davis' actions and that he left the
meeting without voting.  Dickey notes that Policy said the 49ers
would have abstained, just as they did when the Raiders moved to
L.A. (S.F. CHRONICLE, 7/22).  In L.A., columnist Mike Penner
asks, "Whatever happened to territorial infringement? ... The
Raiders are sidling up next to the 49ers, ready to lob Molotov
cocktails over the bridge, and the 49ers get nothing.  Maybe the
league thinks the 49ers have enough already" (L.A. TIMES, 7/23).
     REAX:  Columnists around the country were critical of the
NFL for allowing Davis to move without charging him any
relocation fee.  In Boston, Will McDonough called the vote "the
Theatre of the Absurd," and a "farce."  McDonough: "Even though
Davis said he would not pay the league the money it had
commanded, the owners still voted in favor.  Why?  Because they
didn't have the guts to take Davis on in court again" (BOSTON
GLOBE, 7/23).  Penner: "The NFL (which, as you know, stands for
Not For the Lion-hearted) votes to approve the Raiders move, 23-
0, without charging Al Davis a dime in relocation money, and is
expected to cave in on the PSL issue at any second" (L.A. TIMES,
7/23).
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