ST. LOUIS • The proposed riverfront stadium plan here is inadequate, and will not require the National Football League to block the St. Louis Rams from moving to Los Angeles, Commissioner Roger Goodell said Saturday in a report to team owners.
Goodell concludes that city leaders in all three of the communities hoping to keep their teams — Oakland, San Diego and St. Louis — have missed their opportunity, said a person who has read the report and spoke to the Post-Dispatch on condition of anonymity.
The report, sent Saturday morning to all 32 team owners, does not approve a Rams move to Los Angeles, the source said; NFL owners still have to vote on team relocation.
But it suggests that all three teams have satisfied the NFL’s relocation guidelines, opening a clear path for the owners to choose the Rams — the only team that could have been barred this year by a hometown effort. Oakland has not submitted a formal proposal, and San Diego’s plan is contingent on a public vote this summer.
The report is also a signal that NFL executives expect owners to vote on relocation at a league meeting Tuesday and Wednesday in Houston.
Saturday evening, an NFL spokesman confirmed that Goodell had sent the report, and that the action is prescribed in the league’s relocation guidelines, but said the NFL had no further comment.
Dave Peacock, co-chairman of the state task force planning the $1.1 billion riverfront stadium in St. Louis, said that he had heard the news, but hadn’t seen the report, and wouldn’t comment. “I’d be responding to a rumor,” he said.
A statement sent by the task force later Saturday evening said that members do not expect to see the report, “as that would be a matter between the league office and team owners.”
“We do hope the NFL will communicate with all home markets as to their status prior to any decisions next week,” the task force statement continued, “particularly here in St. Louis, where so many people have dedicated themselves over the past 14 months to producing a strong and certain stadium proposal for the NFL and our hometown Rams.”
The task force said it remained confident that its proposal would “speak extremely well on behalf of St. Louis as the NFL deliberates next week.”
Goodell’s report, according to the person who had read it, is 48 pages and examines what the NFL sees as the facts of each hometown’s proposal to build a new stadium and keep their teams.
Goodell says in the report that city leaders in each town agree that their current stadiums don’t work. And each city had “ample opportunity, but did not develop proposals sufficient to ensure retention of their teams,” the source said, citing the report.
In St. Louis’ case, Goodell says the task force’s riverfront stadium plan is uncertain. The Missouri Legislature could block payment of bonds necessary to build the facility, the report notes. And the task force asked for $300 million in league stadium funding, $100 million “in excess of the maximum provided under current policy,” the source said, again citing the report.
Goodell said in the report that the Rams have the right to relocate, as a contingent of their lease with the Edward Jones Dome, the source said. The Dome authority, a public body, failed to meet requirements of the lease, the source said, and defaulted.
In addition, Goodell’s report declares that both Los Angeles plans — Rams owner Stan Kroenke’s Inglewood stadium, and the Raiders’ and Chargers’ joint venture in Carson — are “first class stadiums,” the source said. Both can host two teams; both are ready for development now.
And NFL market research supports the conclusion that the L.A. area is capable of supporting two teams, the source continued.
Goodell also notes in the report, the source said, that the league hasn’t approved a franchise relocation in nearly two decades, and continues to place a “high value” on team stability.