Santa Clara County judge denies soccer league’s bid to kick out NFL

SAN JOSE — A judge has denied a San Francisco Bay Area youth soccer league’s request to temporarily boot the NFL from a soccer park next to the stadium where the Super Bowl will be held next month, officials said Tuesday.

The San Jose Mercury News reports that the Santa Clara Youth Soccer League last week sued the city to stop it from handing the 11-acre soccer park over to the NFL for a Super Bowl 50 media center.

But Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Joseph H. Huber declined then to block the move with a temporary restraining order. He declined to do so again Tuesday, after the soccer league expanded its lawsuit to include the NFL.

The youth soccer league, which includes 1,500 local players, argues in its lawsuit that the city failed to follow a process — including holding a public hearing — for changing the soccer park’s conditional-use permit to allow for a usage other than youth soccer.

In the city’s rebuttal papers filed Tuesday, Santa Clara City Attorney Ren Nosky argued the city has the power to control, govern and supervise the use of its recreation areas and that the agreement with the NFL to use the soccer park was a “contractual obligation” stemming from the city’s 2013 bid to host the Super Bowl — and not subject to a public hearing, the newspaper reported.

The fight is not over. A judge will decide the fate of the soccer park in a hearing Monday to consider a long-term injunction. The soccer league wanted a restraining order to stop the NFL from using the fields until then.

“Obviously, we’re disappointed,” said Gautam Dutta, a managing partner at Business, Energy and Election Law, the firm representing the soccer league. “But we remain confident in the merits of our case. The city broke the law, and the kids are suffering for it. We will have our day in court on Monday.”footballNFLSanta ClarasoccersportsSuperbowl

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