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Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans has caught World Cup fever.
In a letter today to D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson, Evans asks Mendelson to recess a hearing on the proposed D.C. United stadium set for later this month so soccer fans won’t have to choose between testifying about the stadium and watching the U.S. play Germany in the final group stage game of the tournament.
Evans, an enthusiast of all things sports and stadiums, worries that the June 26 hearing set for 9:30 a.m. will conflict with the U.S.-Germany match, set for noon the same day. Rather than make soccer nuts decide between club and country, Evans’ letter to Mendelson proposes recessing the hearing at 11:45 a.m., then starting again once the match is over.
But Evans doesn’t stop there. Rather than sending soccer fans at the hearing to whatever bar is closest to the Wilson Building, Evans is asking Mendelson to use projection screens in the Council chambers to show the game.
Evans spokesman Tom Lipinsky says the inconvenient timing of the hearing hasn’t been lost on soccer fans. “There certainly was a lot of talk from folks right when they announced the hearing,” Lipinsky says.
Because the hearing brings together three committees, its scheduling has proved rather delicate. Mendelson’s office didn’t respond to a request for comment, but the chairman hasn’t appeared moved in the past by fans’ concerns. When one D.C. United fan called into WAMU’s The Politics Hour to complain about the timing two weeks ago, Mendelson responded that because the hearing started two and a half hours before the game, the two wouldn’t really conflict.
Update, 5:15 p.m.: Karen Sibert, Mendelson’s spokeswoman, says that her boss isn’t “inclined” to grant Evans’ request to recess the hearing. Soccer fans torn between testifying and watching the World Cup can request to testify early in the hearing or speak at expected future hearings on the stadium, according to Sibert.
Photo by Darrow Montgomery