The city of Oakland on Tuesday said it has filed a lawsuit against the NFL and the Raiders franchise over its move to Las Vegas.
The team’s relocation to Las Vegas, which is to take effect in 2020, was “illegal” and breached antitrust laws, Oakland City Attorney Barbara Parker said in a statement.
The lawsuit, which described the NFL as a “cartel,” aims to “recover damages resulting from the Raiders’ illegal move to Las Vegas, including lost revenue, money that Oakland taxpayers invested in the Raiders and other costs.”
The Raiders and the NFL had “brazenly violated federal antitrust law and the league’s own policies when they boycotted Oakland as a host city,” Parker said.
“The Raiders’ illegal move lines the pockets of NFL owners and sticks Oakland, its residents, taxpayers and dedicated fans, with the bill,” she said.
The suit raises questions about the Raiders’ future next year.
The team, who play at the Oakland Coliseum, do not have a confirmed lease for a home next season, and owner Mark Davis previously said he could boycott the venue if the city ever filed a lawsuit.
An agreement between the Raiders and the city to play in Oakland next year had been reached, but has yet to be formally approved.
“I personally want to play in Oakland,” Davis told ESPN last month.
“We have a completed lease sitting with the city council that all they have to do is agree to it and we’re here next year,” he added.
However, Davis admitted to misgivings if a lawsuit was filed.
“Emotionally, I would say, why would I give them US$3, US$4 or US$5 million in rent that they’re going to turn around and use to sue me?” he said.
“But, at the same time, if they’ll have us, I can’t turn on the fans. I can’t do it. And this is terrible negotiating I’m doing now. I’m going to get killed, but that’s just the way I am, but if in fact it does get ugly and can’t be bridged, we do have options,” he added.
NFL team owners in March last year approved the Raiders move from California to Las Vegas by a 31-1 vote.
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