Police Chief Pat Nikolai: 49ers Withholding FIFA Information is Potentially Dangerous for Santa Clara

By Santa Clara Police Chief Pat Nikolai

I would like to offer my support for Mayor Gillmor’s written petition to subpoena documents related to the upcoming FIFA events being held at Levi’s Stadium in 2026. At this time, the Police Department does not have critical information regarding this event, specifically as it relates to public safety. Some important details that we need to begin planning for this event include:

• The number of games being held at Levi’s Stadium and the level of protection/security requested for the events

• The type of secure perimeter required for the footprint of the event and the length of time required to maintain the perimeter. (Up to two months per media reports)

• The number of teams being hosted in Santa Clara and the level of protection/security requested for each hotel.

• The number of officials being hosted in Santa Clara and the level of protection/security requested for this group.

• Are there ancillary events that will require public safety resources?

• Will FIFA be a SEAR 1 or SEAR 2-rated event with a dedicated Federal Coordination Team, similar to Superbowl 50, or will we have to staff all the events with no federal resources?

These are significant concerns that should be addressed sooner rather than later. Using Superbowl 50 as an example, many of these details were known 3 years in advance, allowing ample time to prepare for the largest event ever held at Levi’s Stadium. Additionally, the Bay Area Host Committee’s pursuit of Superbowl LX in 2026 provides additional incentive to begin preparing for FIFA as soon as possible.

Having two events of this magnitude in the same year will strain the Santa Clara Police Department’s resources, requiring assistance from surrounding federal and local agencies. The lack of communication regarding FIFA is unacceptable and I encourage the council to take this step to compel the appropriate sharing of information.

Editor’s Note: Nikolai wrote this letter to the City Council for last Tuesday’s discussion agendized by Mayor Lisa Gillmor to take legal action against the 49ers if necessary. It’s reprinted here with Nikolai’s permission.

SEAR refers to the Special Event Assessment Rating by the Department of Homeland Security


  1. Elected chief was ALWAYS supported by residents. I am willing to back Nikolai if he is working for the residents. So far, he is. I can my view on people i opposed.

  2. Mr. Matt Dillon
    Here is where I start…
    If the 49ers are for it, I’m against it.
    Drop the Mic and walk away.
    Trust me, our City will be in much better hands if we just do that one thing. Doing the opposite of what the 49ers want is the wise and prudent move at all times.
    Really pretty simple when you think about it.
    In their scripted plan to “Take Over of Santa Clara”, on page 2, it starts with this.
    1. Get rid of Elected Police Chief.
    Why is it so important for the 49ers to want to get rid of the Elected Police Chief? Hummm let’s think about it.

    A. The Elected Police Chief has to respond to us… the people who elect him / her
    B. The Appointed Police Chief has to respond to those that appoint him / her
    Huge Difference… let me repeat that…Huge Difference.

    Hard to picture this, but try and imagine where a potential Police Chief drops to a knee, bows and then kisses the ring of some 49er Executive just to be considered….
    Appointed Positions do come at a price. Thank God we are now the last City in California that still elects its Police Chief.
    As bad as it is right now…I can’t even imagine how bad it could really be if the 49ers also had our Police Chief on their payroll.

    Our Elected Police Chief is someone who has lived in our City for the last 30+ years.
    He has earned every step, every promotion, and most of all the respect of every officer under his command.
    He is a neighbor whom anyone can reach out to, he is not just visible, but assessable.
    He is one of us. When you see him, walk up, introduce yourself and say Hi.
    Long time resident, just super frustrated with how hard and fast our City has fallen.

    Burt Field

  3. This needs to be a top priority. The Police Department needs to know the resources they will have to utilize to protect the event and the city in general.
    At some point the city will have to put their foot down and say unless we get this information we will not allow any events to take place.
    These events draw world wide attention from both fans and potential bad characters.

  4. Chief Nikolai has once again done the right thing. I opposed the election of Chief Nikolai twice, but I do think he had proven me wrong. Nikolai has done a marvelous job as Chief.

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