The Bay Area Council issued the following statement in response to a vote today (March 27) by NFL owners approving plans by the Oakland Raiders to relocate to Las Vegas. The Council had worked closely with the City of Oakland, NFL Hall of Famer Ronnie Lott and Raiders’ supporters to advocate for keeping the team in Oakland.

“This is a heartbreaking decision for Oakland and the entire Bay Area,” said Jim Wunderman, President and CEO of the Bay Area Council. “We wish the Raiders well, but it’s extremely difficult to accept. There is no question there were many complexities in making a deal work in Oakland, and we wish the NFL could have been more supportive and more helpful in providing additional time to work through those issues. We think it was possible to get a deal done here that would have met everyone’s needs and avoided the painful disruption of a community losing its team.

“We applaud the determination and fight of Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf and the dogged efforts of Ronnie Lott and his team, including Fortress Investment Group, to craft a strong, $1.3 billion plan for keeping the Raiders here,” Wunderman continued. “That plan would have ensured the Raiders got the modern stadium they deserve, met Oakland’s need for financial responsibility and avoided the loss of a great source of local pride and community engagement. This will leave a dark hole in our hearts for many, many years.”