Chargers Owner Wins Legal Battle As NFL Stands By

    • The sister of controlling owner Dean Spanos filed a petition to force a sale of the team in April.
    • The NFL hasn't intervened, although it has expressed intentions to have case heard by arbitrator.

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Los Angeles Chargers controlling owner Dean Spanos has already earned one victory this summer by getting his legal dispute with his sister, Dea Spanos Berberian, moved out of Los Angeles.

Spanos will win again if the National Football League successfully maneuvers to push the case outside a courtroom altogether. 

The NFL has held off intervening in the matter so far, although court documents show that the league backs Dean Spanos’ request to transfer the matter to arbitration as soon as Sept. 9.

An attorney representing the NFL wrote in a May filing that the NFL Constitution’s arbitration provision “requires that certain disputes pertaining to the ownership of an interest in a NFL member club be submitted to arbitration.”

The Athletic was the first outlet to report on the NFL’s intentions. 

  • In April, Berberian filed a petition in Los Angeles County in a bid to force a sale of the franchise, naming Amazon founder Jeff Bezos as a possible candidate to purchase the team
  • The case was transferred to San Joaquin County, the Central Valley home of Dean Spanos, on Aug. 19. 
  • Berberian alleges that a sale of the franchise is necessary to pay off more than $353 million in debt, something his brother’s attorneys claim is not the case. 

Berberian, Spanos, and two of their siblings each hold 15% of the team, with the rest (36%) in a family trust. 

The Chargers moved from San Diego to L.A. in 2017, paying a $650 million relocation fee and leaving behind a fanbase it had developed for more than 56 years.