On the same day the team reached an agreement in principle share a new stadium with the Rams in Inglewood, the Chargers announced Friday the team will remain in San Diego for the 2016 NFL season and continue working to get a new stadium in that city.

Architect’s rendering of the proposed City of Champions where the Rams – and maybe Chargers – will eventually play in 80,000-seat stadium in Inglewood. Courtesy Hollywood Park Land Co.
“Today I decided our team will stay in San Diego for the 2016 season and I hope for the long term in a new stadium,” Chargers Chairman Dean Spanos said. “I have met with Mayor (Kevin) Faulconer and Supervisor (Ron) Roberts and I look forward to working closely with them and the business community to resolve our stadium dilemma. We have an option and an agreement with the Los Angeles Rams to go to Inglewood in the next year, but my focus is on San Diego.

“This has been our home for 55 years, and I want to keep the team here and provide the world-class stadium experience you (Chargers fans) deserve.

“Everyone on both sides of the table in San Diego must now determine the best next steps and how to deploy the additional resources provided by the NFL,” Spanos said. “I am committed to looking at this with a fresh perspective and new sense of possibility.”

Under the resolution approved by NFL owners allowing the Rams to move from St. Louis to Inglewood, the Chargers have until next January to decide whether to also move to Inglewood. If the Chargers decline that option, the Oakland Raiders will then have a one-year option to move to Inglewood.

On Thursday, it was learned that the Chargers applied for permits with the city of Santa Ana, in Orange County, to use five acres as a temporary headquarters and practice field while the Inglewood stadium is built.

Chargers special counsel Mark Fabiani said the submission had to happen now because of the long time it takes to get approvals, and install turf to be ready for preseason training camp.

The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum Commission heard a presentation Thursday on a proposed amended lease with USC that would let two NFL teams play in the venerable stadium on a temporary basis, instead of the one currently allowed.

The San Diego Union-Tribune and Los Angeles Daily News earlier reported that an agreement-in-principle had been reached for the team to share the Inglewood stadium with the Rams.

Representatives of the Chargers and Rams have been negotiating terms of a deal over the last couple of weeks, ever since the National Football League allowed the Rams to return to Los Angeles and gave the Chargers a one-year option to join them.

An agreement with the Rams could mean the Chargers will move, but it could also simply inform future negotiations with officials in San Diego, in case team Chairman Dean Spanos decides to give the franchise’s home of 55 years another try.

The Chargers had until next January to exercise their option to move to Inglewood.

Spanos had not conversed in more than two weeks with the top two San Diego officials working to keep the Chargers in town — Mayor Kevin Faulconer and Supervisor Ron Roberts.

Thursday, it was learned that the Chargers applied for permits with the city of Santa Ana, in Orange County, to use five acres as a temporary headquarters and practice field while the Inglewood stadium is built. Fabiani said the submission had to happen now because of the long time it takes to get approvals, and install turf to be ready for preseason training camp.

National Football League owners on Jan. 12 approved Rams owner Stan Kroenke’s plan to build a $1.86 billion, 80,000-seat stadium on the site of the former Hollywood Park Racetrack. That stadium, however, will not be ready until the 2019 NFL season.

The Rams will play at the Coliseum while the stadium is being built.

An NFL team has not played in the Los Angeles area since 1994.

The Los Angeles Raiders played at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum from 1982-1994, before returning to Oakland in 1995. The Los Angeles Rams played in the Coliseum from 1946-1979 and at what was then known as Anaheim Stadium from 1980-1994 before moving to St. Louis in 1995.

The Chargers played at the Coliseum in their inaugural 1960 season when they were a member of the American Football League, then moved to San Diego in 1961.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said he supports Spanos’ decision to try to reach a stadium deal in San Diego.

“We are very supportive of the decision by Dean Spanos to continue his efforts in San Diego and work with local leaders to develop a permanent stadium solution,” Goodell said. “NFL ownership has committed $300 million to assist in the cost of building a new stadium in San Diego. I have pledge the league’s full support in helping Dean to fulfill his goal.”

— City News Service

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