Santa Clara’s high-profile feud between soccer and football was taken up a notch this week as the Santa Clara Youth Soccer League filed a lawsuit against the city to stop the NFL from turning the lush, green fields next to Levi’s Stadium into a media base for Super Bowl 50 (SB#50) and ultimately displacing 1,500 kids for two to three months.
According to the San Jose Mercury News, the city had agreed to allow the NFL use nearby city-owned sites, like the soccer park near Levi’s Stadium, for free between January 4 and March 2 as part of Santa Clara’s 2013 bid to bring the Super Bowl there. The fields could reportedly start being paved for the events starting this Monday, and the lawsuit asks a judge to stop the NFL’s takeover until the city offers the sports youth alternative fields.
SB 50 is scheduled to take place February 7, 2016 and is gearing up to be the most technologically advanced Super Bowl to date, presenting a tremendous opportunity for business–both big and small–to piggyback off of the publicity it will bring.
City Attorney Ren Nosky has told the Mercury News that the city plans to vigorously fight the lawsuit and “deny he allegations in the complaint,” adding that lawyers for the NFL, which isn’t named in the complaint, also are reviewing the lawsuit.
The lawsuit says that some soccer players who are seeking to be recruited for college scholarship opportunities will miss out because of the park’s closure.
The clash has also sparked a bitter divide between the mayor and several council members who have challenged the NFL’s bid, notes the Mercury News.
Still, others are reportedly concerned that the political tensions could jeopardize the Bay Area’s ability to land another Super Bowl in the future.