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AFL suspends operations indefinitely

The Arena Football League has shut down, this time indefinitely.

The league, which previously called off play for the 2009 season but had said it planned to return in 2010, sent a terse, one-paragraph statement to its teams late Tuesday announcing it had suspended operations.

The statement said the AFL's board had been 'unable to reach any consensus on restructuring the league over the past eight months.'

The 22-year-old indoor league had lost its commissioner and two teams since the end of last season. It reached a new agreement with its players this year, but that wasn't sufficient to persuade enough AFL owners that the league could return to profitability.

The AFL's board said 'there are no other viable options available to the league right now.'

The league is likely to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

'I've always thought the game was an attractive game, but we all know when you get the kind of pressure we're in, in these economic times, and then you have an economic model that really doesn't work, then it's not surprising to see it stop play,' said Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, who also owned the AFL's Dallas Desperadoes.

Jones, Super Bowl winner John Elway and rock star Jon Bon Jovi were among the marquee names with a financial stake in AFL teams.

Former NFL MVP Kurt Warner threw touchdown passes on the AFL's 50-yard fields before throwing them in Super Bowls. And the high-scoring games helped the league find a niche in small markets like Grand Rapids, Mich., to major ones like Philadelphia.

The Philadelphia Soul, co-owned by Bon Jovi, were the last ArenaBowl champions in 2008. Craig Spencer, another Soul co-owner, said on Wednesday the team stands by the league statement.

David Baker abruptly resigned as league commissioner two days before the 2008 ArenaBowl championship game. Owners did not look for a replacement.

ESPN, which owns a small equity share in the league, said it is not involved in management of the AFL. The network said Tuesday its broadcast agreement with the league had been terminated.