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Report:Arena Football League to skip 2009 season

The Arena Football League canceled the 2009 season but plans to return in 2010, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported Sunday.

An announcement is expected today.

According to the report, the league's board of directors voted via conference call late Sunday to shut down in 2009 because of financial problems related to the recent economic downturn that already have caused the franchise in New Orleans to fold.

Interim commissioner Ed Policy could not be reached for comment.

Last week, the board voted not to suspend the season. Storm coach Tim Marcum said 10 teams wanted to shut down.

The Plain Dealer reported too many big-name owners or teams in major cities said they would not play, including Dallas Philadelphia, Colorado, Georgia, Chicago and Cleveland. Also, the report said, ESPN, which owns a stake in the league, would not air games for a six- to eight-team league.

Earlier in the day, Marcum said he was optimistic the league would play.

A two-thirds margin is needed to suspend operations. There are 16 teams, and Gridiron Enterprises, which holds the patent for the league, has a seat on the board. So 12 votes are needed to shut down. Marcum said Chicago had switched sides, making it 11-6.

The Plain Dealer report did not say which other team changed its vote, but Marcum said Tampa Bay, Arizona, New York, Orlando and San Jose were committed to playing.

The report did say Cowboys owner Jerry Jones (Dallas) and Falcons owner Arthur Blank (Georgia), expressed a desire to return in 2010 under a new business model.

Times staff writer Keith Niebuhr contributed to this report.

Report:Arena Football League to skip 2009 season 12/15/08 [Last modified: Tuesday, January 13, 2009 4:42pm]
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