Judge Denies Restraining Order to Halt Work on Youth Soccer Fields For Super Bowl 50

A Superior Court judge decided not to issue a temporary restraining order against the NFL today for work at Santa Clara Youth Soccer Park next to Levi's Stadium in preparation for Super Bowl 50.

Despite Tuesday's ruling, the judge still has an opportunity to grant a preliminary injunction during a hearing scheduled for 10 a.m. Monday, according to attorney Gautam Dutta, who is representing the Santa Clara Youth Soccer League.

"We're confident about the legal merits of our case and while this decision is a little disappointing, we have our day in court on Monday," Dutta said.

An emergency hearing on the league's request for the restraining order was held this morning in the downtown San Jose courtroom of Superior Court Judge Joseph Huber, who met with attorneys from both sides in a brief closed session before issuing his decision this afternoon.

Huber on Thursday had denied the league's first request for a temporary restraining order, according to city officials.

The Youth Soccer League's lawsuit was filed against the city of Santa Clara, which owns the soccer park, and added the NFL as a defendant on Monday.

The suit alleges a public hearing required under city code was not held to amend the park's use permit.

Instead, the city entered into a contract with the NFL on Dec. 15 to close the park and lease the site for free, according to the lawsuit.

On Christmas Eve, the city and the NFL reached a license agreement that went into effect on Monday, when the NFL was allowed to start paving over the three fields and other construction.

On Monday, nearly 100 holes were pierced into the ground at the fields and cement blocks were brought in to the park, Youth Soccer League spokesman Gabe Foo said.

Additional work included capping irrigation lines and installing protective covering over the field, city officials said in a statement today.

The work is in line with the license agreement and 2013 Super Bowl Bid, city officials said.

News reports indicate there are plans to construct a media village for the Super Bowl at the park, according to the lawsuit.

The NFL is expected to repair the soccer park's fields by March 15, but under the contract it is only required to restore one of two natural grass fields and "lower-quality" grass on the other field, the lawsuit alleges.

A third field made of synthetic grass may never be restored if metal fences and dugouts between the fields are taken out, according to the lawsuit.

The NFL has promised to return the park to its current state or an improved condition after the Super Bowl, city officials said.

The city has not provided "suitable" fields for the 200 games scheduled at the park from this month to April, the lawsuit alleges.

Two fields at Sunnyvale's Twin Peaks Complex provided by the city to replace the ones at the Youth Soccer Park aren't large enough for games and are not available on weekends, Foo said.

Between 6,000 to 7,000 children, including about 1,500 in the youth league, use the fields, Foo said.

If the NFL continues to use the fields, the youth league is proposing the city make arrangements to move the soccer leagues to three other fields at either San Jose State University, Santa Clara University or San Jose City College while the youth soccer park is restored, according to the lawsuit.

The city could also use Avaya Stadium, which is used by the San Jose Earthquakes, if the team allows other youth soccer leagues besides its own, according to the suit.

The city, NFL, Super Bowl 50 Host Committee and San Francisco 49ers are working on providing more fields while the soccer park is temporarily unavailable, city officials said.

The lawsuit makes a few proposals for the media village, ranging from only using the park's parking lot to limited uses on the fields such as staging for halftime and security.

The youth league is seeking to have the city revoke its contract with the NFL and only allow the park to be used for youth soccer unless proper replacement fields are found, according to the lawsuit.

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