AFL at brink of folding

Published 1:34 am Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The Arena Football League is on the brink of folding and declaring bankruptcy, an inglorious end for the 22-year-old indoor league that has suffered through a year of turmoil.

James Guidry, the regional director of the AFL players association, told The Associated Press on Tuesday that it ‘‘seems to be inevitable at this point’’ that the AFL will soon announce that it has ceased operations. Guidry, speaking by telephone, said the players association will accept the owners’ decision.

‘‘We’re waiting to see if this decision has been finalized by the AFL,’’ Guidry said.

Email newsletter signup

The AFL suspended play for the 2009 season, but some owners expressed hope that the league would return in some form in 2010.

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

The AFL’s offshoot, known as af2, played this season and is in the midst of the ArenaCup playoffs. The AFL owns 50.1 percent of the af2. If the AFL goes under, it won’t greatly affect the minor-league version because the af2 is solvent, self-funded and they pay its bills, Iowa Barnstormers co-owner Jeff Lamberti said.

The af2 executive committee has been working on contingency plans ever since the AFL announced it was suspending its season last year. Possible new plans range from combining af2 and defunct AFL teams to create a revamped league, or perhaps a new league with two tiers much like AFL/AF2 with a different economic model — or just leave the af2 as is with a new name.