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NFL'S AUSTRIAN VOICES CONCERN OVER 49ERS STADIUM PLANS
Published March 25, 1998
The 49ers' "unsettled ownership situation" could cost San Francisco a chance to host the Super Bowl in 2003, according to Ira Miller of the S.F. CHRONICLE. Although team President Carmen Policy said yesterday that he "was confident" about getting a stadium built in time for the game, NFL officials at the league meetings "were not quite so sure." NFL President Neal Austrian said that the stadium project "would have to move forward significantly" by the end of this year to be completed by the league's timetable. Austrian: "I think we'd have to see a commitment on the part of whoever is going to build the stadium that it's going to get done." Miller writes that the league "clearly does not have a handle" on who will end up controlling the team, and Austrian said the league is "not going to get ... in the middle of an intrafamily fight at this point." Several sources said that they "expect" Policy to lead a group to buy the team if the DeBartolos sell, but if Eddie DeBartolo regains control of the team, they "wouldn't expect" Policy to remain. A "well-placed" source told Miller that the league "already was getting inquiries from outside parties interested in buying the team" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 3/25). BEST LAID PLANS? In San Jose, Jeordan Legon analyzed the stadium situation, and wrote that nine months after voters approved the project, "[k]ey players on the city's side of the deal" have shifted to other projects, opponents of the stadium "are mounting a new campaign," and rumors of the team's sale "have rocked the deal to its foundations." Despite "assurances" from S.F. Mayor Willie Brown that the project will be built, "new questions are raised almost weekly," and the deal has "few assurances to guarantee completion." Some "insiders" say that Eddie DeBartolo's latest strategy to regain control "could be to hand over his real estate interests to his sister if she will turn over total ownership" of the team (MERCURY NEWS, 3/24).