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