SBD/10/Leagues Governing Bodies

NFL ATTORNEY PUTS EAGLETON ON THE SPOT OF SECRET FEE

          The Rams "kept secret" from the other 29 NFL teams an
     agreement with the St. Louis Convention and Visitors
     Commission (CVC) that the CVC "would pay up to" $7.5M of
     fees to relocate from CA, according to William Lhotka of the
     ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH.  Former U.S. Senator Thomas
     Eagleton, who lead the civic group FANS, Inc., said that the
     deal was "contained in a document separate" from documents
     that the Rams turned over to the NFL in its application to
     move in '95.  Lhotka reports the "admissions cast a cloud
     over the" CVC's $130M antitrust suit, which "contends that
     the NFL acted arbitrarily, and perhaps unethically, in
     forcing the city to pay" $20M of a $29M Rams relocation fee. 
     Eagleton confirmed that the fee was withheld from the NFL,
     since offering information "about the fee agreement would
     have been an invitation to the league to extract as much as
     it could."  In further questioning from NFL attorney Frank
     Rothman, Eagleton said the league never discouraged FANS,
     Inc. from talking to any NFL team or interfered with its
     talks with the Rams.  CVC attorney Alan Popkin has "alleged
     that the NFL, through its guidelines, rules and antitrust
     practices, had discouraged" teams from bidding on St. Louis
     and its new stadium which "forced" the city to give the Rams
     a "deal far superior than the team would have gotten in an
     open-market atmosphere" (POST-DISPATCH, 10/10).

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