Kroenke, NFL sued by St. Louis over Rams relocation

AFP
The city and county of St. Louis filed a lawsuit on Wednesday naming Rams owner Stan Kroenke, seen in 2016, the NFL and all its 32 teams as defendants in the case over the team's relocation (AFP Photo/GLYN KIRK )

The city and county of St. Louis filed a lawsuit on Wednesday naming Rams owner Stan Kroenke, seen in 2016, the NFL and all its 32 teams as defendants in the case over the team's relocation

The city and county of St. Louis filed a lawsuit on Wednesday naming Rams owner Stan Kroenke, seen in 2016, the NFL and all its 32 teams as defendants in the case over the team's relocation (AFP Photo/GLYN KIRK )

Los Angeles (AFP) - Los Angeles Rams owner Stan Kroenke and the National Football League are being sued by St. Louis over the controversial relocation of the team from the city to California last year, documents showed Wednesday.

The city and county of St. Louis filed a lawsuit on Wednesday naming Kroenke, the NFL and all its 32 teams as defendants in the case.

The Rams returned to Los Angeles in 2016 after a two-decade absence following their initial move to St. Louis in 1995.

However the 52-page lawsuit filed on Wednesday by St. Louis claims the Rams and the NFL breached league rules on team relocation.

The city is seeking millions in damages to reflect lost revenues in amusement and ticket taxes.

"The Rams, the NFL, through its member teams, and the owners have violated the obligations and standards governing team relocations" the lawsuit stated.

Under NFL rules established in 1984, teams can only seek to move from their communities once all avenues to remain have been exhausted.

The St. Louis suit alleges the Rams breached those guidelines by negotiating in bad faith and had long intended to return to Los Angeles despite public statements to the contrary.

The suit cited several pages of examples of what it described as "false statements regarding the team's intent to engage in good faith negotiations."

It cited a 2010 interview given by Kroenke in which he vowed "to do everything that I can to keep the Rams in St. Louis."

"I've always stepped up for pro football in St. Louis. . . . People in our state know me. People know I can be trusted," Kroenke was quoted as saying.

In 2014, Rams executive Kevin Demoff also denied that land brought by Kroenke in Los Angeles -- that became the eventual site of where the Rams are building a new stadium -- was unrelated to a possible relocation of the team.

"I promise you, Stan is looking at lots of pieces of land around the world right now and none of them are for football stadiums," Demoff said.

In 2012, Demoff had insisted the Rams ownership was aiming to "build a winner in St. Louis, not only in 2012, but in 2022, 2032, and beyond."

On the basis of those and other statements, the suit said, St. Louis spent millions of dollars assembling land, hiring architects, consultants and lawyers to put together a new stadium proposal in St.Louis.

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