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Virginia Bill Could Block Subsidies for New Washington Redskins Stadium

FedEx Field

Under a bill proposed by a Virginia lawmaker, the use of public funds for a new Washington Redskins stadium in the state would be prohibited. 

On Tuesday, state delegate Michael J. Webert introduced a bill that would effectively prevent Virginia, and its cities and counties, from subsidizing the construction or operation of venues used by a professional sports franchise. In addition to stadiums, that could include training facilities and offices that are for the use of a professional sports team.

The bill does not specifically identify the Redskins by name, but it is uncertain at this point whether it would affect the fund of construction of new facilities for Virginia’s minor league sports franchises. It has been reported, however, that the bill could be clarified in future versions to be directed more specifically at major league facilities. More from The Virginian Pilot:

A Republican familiar with the bill who asked not to be identified said it is generally aimed at major professional sports teams, not minor league sports, and expects that issue to be clarified in future versions of the bill.

Beginning on Jan. 1, 2019, public funding for stadiums would be prohibited, the bill states, unless “public funding is otherwise available to all development projects or business entities located in the locality.”

The bill would also prohibit public funding for infrastructure improvements for a new pro sports stadium. Even if cities and counties don’t directly subsidize the cost of a sports stadium, they often provide millions of dollars to upgrade water and sewer lines and roads around sports facilities.

Government can continue to do so, but only if it collects “reasonable fees” from the pro team, according to the bill.

Virginia has been floated as a possible landing spot for the Redskins, who have made it known that they are considering their options beyond FedEx Field, where their lease runs through the 2027 season. Aside from Virginia, where Loudon County has often been mentioned as a possible destination, the team could ultimately consider options in Maryland–where FedEx Field is located–and Washington. In Washington, there is still plenty of sentiment for seeing the club construct a new facility at the site of RFK Stadium.

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