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Raiders sign lease deal with Vegas Stadium Authority

© GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP/File | A 62-acre site west of the Las Vegas Strip that was purchased by the Oakland Raiders for USD 77.5 million is shown on May 1, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada

SAN FRANCISCO (AFP) - 

A major step in the Oakland Raiders' relocation to Las Vegas has been achieved with the NFL team reaching a lease deal with the Vegas Stadium Authority that keeps them on target for a 2020 opening.

NFL team owners could ratify the deal when they meet in Chicago from Monday.

Had the deal not gotten done in time, owners could not have considered the lease until their next meeting in October and that could have pushed back the planned stadium opening until 2021, Raiders president Marc Badain said.

The Raiders want construction to start in the next few months on the $1.9 billion, 65,000-seat domed stadium near the Las Vegas Strip that will become their new home.

NFL team owners approved the Raiders move from California to Las Vegas by a 31-1 vote in March, although they wanted to see a lease agreement, stadium design plans and government approvals for construction near the Mandalay Bay resort.

The Raiders have two one-year leases at the Oakland Coliseum and plan on playing in their current home in 2017 and 2018 even with their loyal supporters knowing the team will be departing.

The team's home stadium for the 2019 campaign remains uncertain. Raiders owner Mark Davis has said he does not want to relocate to Las Vegas until the dome is ready and does not want to play a season at 35,500-seat Sam Boyd Stadium at the University of Nevada Las Vegas.

The deal comes a day after stadium developers in Los Angeles said the new stadium there, future home for the Los Angeles Rams and Los Angeles Chargers after their moves from St. Louis and San Diego respectively, will not be completed until 2020.

© 2017 AFP