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NFL EXEC SAYS APPROVAL OF DEBARTOLO DEAL COULD TAKE "MONTHS"
Published April 2, 1998
NFL VP/Communications Greg Aiello said that the NFL could take "months" to evaluate 49ers co-Owner Eddie DeBartolo's offer to buy out his sister Denise DeBartolo York's share of the team, according to Matier & Ross of the S.F. CHRONICLE. The league could also put the entire deal "completely" on hold, "pending the outcome of DeBartolo's legal problems" in LA. Matier & Ross: "Nevertheless, sources close to DeBartolo say that he and his lawyers will push for the league for quick approval ... possibly as early as May, when the league holds its next general meeting." But the NFL "faces a dilemma" in that any further delays "could threaten" the team's $525M stadium/mall project, and the "image conscious league ... does not want to act hastily while DeBartolo is a target of a federal racketeering investigation." League sources say a complete check of DeBartolo's bid could take anywhere from three to six months and then face a vote by ownership. But sources close to DeBartolo said they think the deal does not require a vote -- and that DeBartolo "may be prepared to go to court to challenge the league." The league may also "hold" up any possible removal of team President Carmen Policy, as league rules mandate no management changes until a new ownership deal is finalized and closed (S.F. CHRONICLE, 4/2). POLICY BACKER: In S.F., Glenn Dickey writes that the league will not approve DeBartolo amid questions of a possible indictment, and he adds that an indictment "is virtually certain, probably in June." Dickey also calls Policy's removal a "disastrous mistake," and says that DeBartolo's return as owner "would destroy what has become the NFL's bellwether franchise" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 4/2).