A Santa Clara youth soccer league has filed suit against the city just days before an impending arrangement for the NFL to use fields adjacent from Levi's Stadium as a media camp, which would uproot more than 1,500 kids and jeopardize hundreds of soccer games.
As part of its 2013 bid to secure Super Bowl 50, the city of Santa Clara agreed to let the NFL use city-owned sites for free, including a soccer park near Levi's Stadium, for a media camp, according to the San Jose Mercury News. In the agreement, which became public Dec. 15, the NFL would have control of the park from Jan. 4 to March 2. The Santa Clara Youth Soccer League argues that this puts 250 soccer games at risk and could close the park for months to repair potential damage, including paving, grass trampling with heavy equipment and fence removal, the Mercury News reports.
"We're not trying to ruin the Super Bowl," said Gautam Dutta, the attorney for the soccer league. "But we want to make sure the kids are provided for. And right now, time's up. The fields could be paved over as early as Monday."
The suit, filed in Santa Clara County Superior Court, asks a judge to stop the NFL from taking control of the fields until the city offers alternative fields.
"We do plan to defend the lawsuit and deny the allegations in the complaint," city attorney Ren Nosky told the Mercury News. He also said that lawyers for the NFL, which isn't named in the complaint, are also reviewing the lawsuit.
The city had offered the soccer league use of an alternate sports complex, but the league says it is unavailable on weekends and too small to handle their games.
"When we supported the Super Bowl, it was never communicated to us that in doing so our facility could be damaged to the point where we would not be able to use it," Steve Robertson, vice president of the Santa Clara Youth Soccer League, told the Mercury News.
The suit claims that while the NFL agreed to replace the grass fields, the grass will be of cheaper quality.