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Raiders in talks over San Francisco switch

The Raiders National Football League (NFL) team are reportedly in talks to play at the AT&T Park baseball venue in San Francisco next season as they prepare for an early switch from the Oakland Coliseum.

The Raiders, who are to relocate to Las Vegas in 2020, are looking for a home arena for their final year in California after earlier this month withdrawing from a tentative deal to remain in Oakland after the city council began a legal challenge over the move.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that discussions have taken place between the Raiders and the San Francisco Giants MLB team, which owns the 42,000-capacity arena and has played there since it opened in 2000. An agreement is unlikely to be reached before January, the newspaper reports, although NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said recently said the Raiders need to make a decision on a new home within the next two months.

One area of concern is that under Article 4.2(A)(1) of the NFL’s bylaws, the San Francisco 49ers and Raiders have “exclusive right” to play in their cities.

The Raiders are due to play their final NFL match at the 47,000-capacity Coliseum tonight when they host the Denver Broncos. The team has played there since returning to Oakland from Los Angeles in 1995, and also played there between 1966-81.

While primarily a baseball park, AT&T Park has staged a number of American football matches, and was the home of college football’s Fight Hunger Bowl between 2002 and 2013. It has also staged major soccer matches and earlier this year hosted a Rugby World Cup Sevens event.

The Raiders’ decision to leave the Coliseum and end a year-to-year agreement came just hours after the City of Oakland filed a federal antitrust and breach of contract lawsuit against the NFL, the Raiders and each of the other 31 NFL clubs, claiming compensation for the “cartel” actions that led to its home franchise relocating to Nevada.

In March, the Raiders signed a lease deal with the Las Vegas Stadium Authority to build its new venue in Nevada. The deal was signed exactly a year after NFL owners gave the Raiders the green light to move.

The stadium will have a capacity of 65,000 and is projected to cost $1.8bn (£1.43bn/€1.59bn) to build. It is hoped the venue will be ready in time for the 2020 NFL season.

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