Report: AFL Operations Suspended for 2009
December 14th, 2008 may go down as the darkest day in the history of the Arena Football League. Tonight, the Board of Directors met, and after almost two hours of waiting, the Cleveland Plain Dealer is reporting that the 2009 season will be suspended, but the League makes plans to continue in 2010.
A December 15th deadline is in play for the Arena Football League Players Association (AFLPA) per the League’s Collective Bargaining Agreement.
Article XXIII, Section 4
"If a Team ceases to operate after December 15 in a League Year, the AFL and its Teams will be responsible for all unpaid Player Salaries of such Team for that League Year... the players on any such Team that ceases operations shall continue to receive such Player Salaries for that League Year on the same schedule as otherwise provided in their Player Contracts and this Agreement"
An unidentified source told the Plain Dealer that the breaking point was, “ESPN saying it would not televise a six-, seven-, or eight-team league.” The unnamed source continued, “The league and the teams could not continue on their current financial paths. The economy is one reason why we’re going through hard times, but it’s not the only reason. We need time to reconfigure everything so we can come back stronger than ever – and we will.”
ArenaFan reached a representative with the AFLPA and asked whether the association had been made aware of the results of the meeting of the Board of Directors. He said, “Not that I’m aware of,” but confirmed that the PA knew that the meeting was taking place this evening. According to the collective bargaining agreement, the PA must also approve the suspension. It is unknown what would happen should the players not approve.
ArenaFan will continue to update the events as they transpire.