Mayors seek to aid Congress in regulating franchise moves Task force favors giving NFL antitrust exemption

January 26, 1996|By Brad Snyder | Brad Snyder,SUN STAFF

WASHINGTON -- Cleveland Mayor Michael R. White said settlement talks with the NFL are going "appropriately" but would not elaborate on them yesterday after the U.S. Conference of Mayors held a task force on sports franchise relocation.

White, who co-chaired the task force with Houston Mayor Bob Lanier, recommended several resolutions to the conference's executive committee that would aid congressional legislators in regulating professional sports.

"The message to the league is that the mayors of these cities are concerned about the NFL franchises on wheels," White said.

Several members of the Ohio congressional delegation, including Sens. Mike DeWine and John Glenn and Rep. Martin Hoke, discussed their legislative proposals with a group that included about 25 mayors of cities with professional sports franchises. Jay Moyer, NFL vice president and league counsel, sat in on the meeting.

Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke, who spoke at Gettysburg College yesterday, did not attend.

The mayors at the task force meeting did not endorse any particular bill but favored the idea of giving the NFL a limited antitrust exemption to control franchise relocation, with several qualifiers.

The task force suggested several provisions that should be considered, such as giving cities that have lost teams the first option on expansion franchises and forcing teams that walk out on existing leases to repay the public debt owed on the stadium.

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