The Los Angeles Coliseum negotiating committee announced today it had reached an agreement with the Oakland Raiders for the National Football League team to begin playing its home games at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum this season.
Coliseum Commission President Mike Frankovich, with commissioners William R. Robertson and J. Stanley Sanders, initialed the document for the Coliseum Commission and Raiders' Managing General Partner Al Davis signed it on behalf of the football club, the commission said.
The agreement will be presented to the entire nine-member Coliseum Commission at its regular meeting Wednesday. Details concerning the agreement will be discussed at a news conference thereafter.
Commission negotiators have publicly stated that they are seeking a lease longer than the seven years included in the original agreement, and will seek private financing for the cost of the Raiders' move.
Davis and the Raiders made the decision despite a ruling by the California Supreme Court last month that the eminent domain suit brought by the city of Oakland to take over the club and keep it in Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum should be tried in a lower court in Monterey County. The Supreme Court also ruled that the Raiders were not bound to stay in Oakland before such a trial.
And if the move is made meantime, "getting the team to move back to Oakland will not be easy," said Dan Wolf, an aide of Los Angeles County Supervisor Kenneth Hahn.
May 7, a federal court jury in Los Angeles decided that the NFL was in violation of federal antitrust laws with its rule that a club could not move without a three-quarters vote of approval from the 28 team owners. The NFL has served notice of appeal.
The Coliseum Commission began its current negotiations with the Raiders last month, a day after U.S. District Judge Harry Pregerson issued an injunction invalidating the NFL rule and permitting the club to move.
Immediate obstacles in negotiations were a practice facility for the Raiders and relocation expenses for the team's move south.
Many had believed the State Supreme Court verdict would prohibit the Raiders from making the move to the L.A. Coliseum, which has been vacant since the Rams moved to Anaheim in nearby Orange County in 1980.
NFL spokesman Donald Weiss said that the league had already indicated that it would request a stay from the 9th Circuit Court of Appeal if the Raiders attempt to move. And he said today that, while league attorneys must still review the contract between the Raiders and the commission, the NFL is expected to challenge the matter in court.
Davis was not immediately available for comment, but his public relations office issued a statement exactly the same as that of the Los Angeles Coliseum Commission group.