Force quiet on future of AFL
Sources report league may suspend '09 season

Amid numerous published reports that at least the immediate future of the Arena Football League is in trouble, the league and its local member, the Georgia Force, have remained mostly silent the past few days.

The AFL did issue a press release Wednesday following a story in the Rocky Mountain News out of Denver, citing league sources, that stated the league was set to announce the suspension of the 2009 season before the end of the week.

"Despite rumors and reports to the contrary, all AFL teams are continuing to work towards ArenaBowl XXIII. As it has previously stated, the AFL continues to work on long-term structural improvement options," the release stated.

"Some of the options may impact the 2009 season. There is currently no timetable for an announcement of any kind. We remain grateful to our fans for their enthusiasm and patience."

Further inquiries this week to officials with the Georgia Force, who play their home games at the Arena at Gwinnett Center, have been referred to the league office in New York.

AFL executive vice president for communications Chris McCloskey, reached by phone Wednesday, declined comment except to refer to the statement issued by the league earlier in the day.

Wednesday's story in the Rocky Mountain News is the latest of several reports from news organizations in league cities that have suggested the league may be in financial trouble.

One franchise, the New Orleans VooDoo, has already disbanded over the offseason, and the Chicago Sun-Times reported in Wednesday's edition the Georgia Force, along with three other franchises - the Columbus Destroyers, the Kansas City Brigade and the Dallas Desperados - are believed to be having financial difficulties.

Quoted in Monday's edition of the Denver Post, Colorado Crush executive vice president Michael Young said, "The business model for the league is broken."

In addition, the start of the AFL's free agency period and the dispersal draft for players on the defunct VooDoo squad have been put on hold indefinitely, and a schedule for the 2009 season has yet to be released.