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Malden mayor now wants to take beer out of football deal

Posted by Jarret Bencks  February 25, 2013 10:07 AM

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Mayor Gary Christenson will look to take beer sales out of a deal with a start-up pro football team that wants to play its home games in Malden, he said.

A public hearing was held on Pearl Street in Malden last Thursday, where residents expressed concerns over allowing the Boston Freedom Fighters, a team in the newly formed National Spring Football League, to use Macdonald Stadium as its home field.

While some spoke out on parking problems, litter after games, and public safety, Christenson said he thought the sticking point for residents was an agreement to allow the team to serve up to three beers per patron during games.

"Based on what I heard, I could not longer support the sale of beer at the games," he said.

The agreement with the team was approved by the city's stadium commission in January, but in order to sell beer, it would have to receive approval from the city's Licensing Board. Christenson said he planned to meet with team ownership and with Steven Ultrino, the Ward 2 city councilor, later this week.

Previously, Christenson had said he viewed the agreement as "low risk, high reward." The deal calls for the Freedom Fighters to play six home games in 2013, and gives the city an option to extend the agreement to 2014.

"If it was 85 games, that's a different story," he said after the agreement was reached. "But this is six games and then we get to reevaluate"

During Thursday's hearing, Rob Di Marco, the team's lawyer, said he thought he could convince the team's owners to keep the team in Malden for at least one season without an agreement to serve beer during games, but that the decision would ultimately be up to the ownership. The Freedom Fighters are co-owned by Malden native Bill Spadafora.

The team's coaching staff includes a crew of ex-New England Patriots, led by Patrick Pass. Its season is expected to begin in April.

Jarret Bencks can be reached at bencks.globe@gmail.com. Follow him on twitter @JarretBencks.

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