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Redskins rallying political support for new stadium vision

Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder is reportedly receiving assistance from District officials, congressional Republicans and the Trump administration in efforts to return the NFL American football franchise to a new stadium built on the site of former home, RFK Stadium.

The Redskins called RFK Stadium, located around two miles east of the US Capitol building, home from 1961 to 1996. The team moved to the 82,000-seat FedExField, five miles east of Washington D.C. in the state of Maryland, in 1997.

Former Redskins owner Jack Kent Cooke developed FedExField largely out of his own pocket, but Snyder is said to be keen to exit a lease that is currently due to expire in 2027 and develop a new 60,000-seat stadium on the site of the team’s former home.

The Washington Post newspaper said that nearly three years after plans were revealed for a new stadium, the team has been working in association with local and federal officials to add a stadium provision into a major spending bill that the Republican-controlled Congress is seeking to complete this month.

RFK Stadium (pictured) is located on federally-owned land along the Anacostia River. The Post notes that developing this land is politically fraught, with the city currently controlling the land only through 2038 under a National Park Service lease that states it must be used for “stadium purposes” or “recreational facilities, open space, or public outdoor recreation opportunities” only.

This would deny commercial development, but according to one congressional official and a D.C. official, the language under consideration in the bill would extend the existing lease for 99 years and remove the recreation-only language.

The Post said that by including the stadium provision in the wider spending bill, the team and local officials could avoid public debate over whether other uses for the land would be more suitable for D.C. residents.

The newspaper also notes that the provision’s passage would not guarantee that a new stadium would be built at the site, only that it could give impetus to the plan before officials in Maryland or Virginia have chance to launch a move for a potential new Redskins home.

Image: Ben Schumin