af2 rules Florida Firecats ineligible for 2009 playoffs
Tuesday July 28, 2009
CHICAGO – On Monday, July 27,the arenafootball2 league (af2) announced the 2009 ArenaCup playoff pairings which included the 16 teams that had met the qualifications for postseason play. Even though the Florida Firecats football team qualified for the playoffs on the field, they are ineligible to participate in the postseason because of non-payment of more than $100,000.00 of fees owed to af2. This amount is comprised chiefly of player and coaches payroll for a large portion of the 2009 season.
Several months ago the Firecats organization submitted a financial offer to the full af2 Board of Directors that, if accepted and carried out, would not have paid all of the Firecats obligations, but would allow them to play the remainder of their games in the regular season. The af2 Board approved the offer, which meant that 24 other af2 operators paid Firecats players and coaches weekly. The Firecats did NOT complete their financial commitments in their offer. This agreement did not apply to the playoffs. The Firecats were required to be in good standing for the playoffs like every other team.
The Firecats had until 12 p.m. CT on Monday, July 27 to pay all outstanding league obligations. The Firecats did not make any such payment, so by league rules became ineligible for the playoffs.
"It is unfortunate the Firecats fans, players, and coaches will not have playoffs after a good season of football," said Paul Ross, Tulsa Talons owner and Chairman of af2's Finance Committee. "It is unconscionable that any team owner would force his partners to pay his team payroll and other league expenses, and then expect for them to overlook his actions, ignore league rules that he had adopted ten years before, and allow his team to participate in the playoffs," Ross continued. "It's this simple: while The Florida Firecats qualified for playoffs on the field, their ownership disqualified them by not paying their bills."
The Road to the 2009 ArenaCup begins this weekend with 16 teams competing in eight first round playoff matchups.
Postseason play kicks off on Friday, July 31 with an American Conference matchup as the No. 7 Manchester Wolves (7-9) travel to Des Moines, Iowa to take on the Midwest Division Champion and No. 2 seed Iowa Barnstormers (12-4).
The remaining seven matchups will be played on Saturday, August 1: No. 8 Albany (7-9) at No. 1 Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (13-3), No. 5 Kentucky (10-6) at No. 4 South Georgia, No. 6 Green Bay (10-6) at No. 3 Tennessee Valley (11-5), No. 6 Rio Grande Valley (9-7) at No. 3 Bossier-Shreveport (11-5), No. 7 Oklahoma City (7-9) at No. 2 Tulsa (13-3), No. 5 Arkansas (11-5) at No. 4 Boise (12-4) and No. 8 Stockton (6-10) at No. 1 Spokane (15-1).
Tickets to the 2009 ArenaCup in Las Vegas are available by visiting www.orleansarena.com, all Coast Casinos box offices, The Galleria at Sunset or by calling 800-675-3267 and mention code: ARENACUP.
In Week 19 of its 10th anniversary season with a 25-team membership, af2 serves as a vehicle to bring Arena Football to small-to-midsize cities and as a developmental league with an unmatched history of sending players, coaches and officials to major professional football leagues each year. Log on to www.af2.com for more information.