Soccer stadium hearing will go on despite World Cup conflict


D.C. United fans hoping to both testify and watch Thursday’s World Cup match will be accommodated, D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson said Monday. (D.C. United)

Sunday’s thrilling tie with Portugal gave new gravity to the U.S. soccer team’s next World Cup match — set for noon Thursday against Germany: Win or draw, and the Americans move on; lose, and things get more complicated.

It also makes Thursday’s match in Recife even more of a must-watch for local soccer fans, who were vexed by the D.C. Council’s decision to schedule a hearing on the proposed D.C. United stadium deal at the same time as the U.S.-Germany contest.

Despite the even higher stakes and a request from council member Jack Evans (D-Ward 2) to recess the hearing, Chairman Phil Mendelson (D) said Monday that the hearing will start as scheduled at 9:30 a.m., with no plans for a recess.

“Any fan who wishes to testify and get out in time to watch the game, we will accommodate them in the schedule,” Mendelson said Monday. “The hearing will continue.”

Here’s some succor for conflicted fans: Mendelson said he was “reasonably certain” that there will be at least one other hearing on the matter. Last week, the council issued a solicitation for an outside analysis of the stadium deal, to be delivered Sept. 12. A hearing is likely to follow its release, Mendelson said.

Here’s some additional succor: Those who insist on testifying Thursday will have a place to watch the game while they wait their turn to speak. Pedro Ribeiro, spokesman for Mayor Vincent C. Gray (D), said the ground-floor press briefing room will be made available for those looking to watch and cheer.

Mike DeBonis covers local politics and government for The Washington Post. He also writes a blog and a political analysis column that runs on Fridays.
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Mike DeBonis · June 23, 2014