Youth soccer league denied restraining order to protect fields from Super Bowl media onslaught

- The battle between soccer and football in Santa Clara has now moved to the courts.

At issue, whether the NFL can begin construction on some youth soccer fields as part of their Super Bowl preparations.

There isn't much time left on the clock, still Santa Clara Youth Soccer isn't willing to concede defeat.

"We're hoping that through judicial means we can get some protection for their home field," says Joel Waelty, parent of a soccer player.

A judge is their last resort, since come Monday, the NFL will take over the youth soccer fields as part of a long-standing deal with the city of Santa Clara.

"We're very sorry it's come to this, especially at this 11th hour. But the city made hard committments to the NFL in March of 2013 and the NFL has relied on those committments. So now at this point it's the city's obligation to make good on those committments," says Ren Nosky, city attorney for Santa Clara.

Attorneys for the soccer league believe the city acted improperly by not having a public hearing on the matter.

As a result, they think the deal should be invalidated. They had asked for a temporary restraining order, but did not get one.

A preliminary injunction hearing has been pushed to Wednesday.

That means the NFL might begin construction at the fields, before the judge has ruled.

"At this point, until we hear otherwise, work is going to start on January 4th," says Nosky.

It will just be site preparation work those first few days. It's what comes next that soccer officials are afraid of, the construction of a media village on top of their fields.

The NFL has promised to repair them afterward, still the soccer league thinks that could take months, leaving the kids with no place to play. The city says they've arranged for temporary practice fields for the kids, but those fields apparently aren't available for games on weekends.

The soccer league says there is room for compromise out of court, if the city or NFL provided one thing:

"Access to three quality fields from the January to June time frame, at the city's expense or the NFL, whomever is taking responsibility," says Steve Robertson, VP of the Santa Clara Youth Soccer League.

They say they're trying to stay hopeful. But for the kids who play on these soccer fields, this is about more than just winning.

"These fields are home. This is where we practice. We come three to four times a week," says soccer player Mayte Corral. She adds, "Everyone's willing to fight for what we deserve and what's ours. So we'll stand up for it and stand up for Santa Clara."

The NFL, Super Bowl host committee, and 49ers released a joint statement saying they're "thankful the Super Bowl plans and build-out will continue on schedule."

 

 

 

 

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