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 Arena Football League (1987-2008)

AFL suspends operations for 2009 season

December 15, 2008 - Arena Football League (1987-2008) (AFL I) News Release

NEW YORK - The Arena Football League Board of Directors will suspend the 2009 season subject to agreement and cooperation with the Arena Football League Players Association while the League works on developing a long-term plan to improve its economic model.

"Every owner in the AFL is strongly committed to the League, the game, and, most importantly, the fans," said Acting Commissioner ED POLICY. "Owners, however, recognize that, especially in light of the current unprecedented economic climate, the AFL, as a business enterprise, needs to be restructured if it is to continue to provide its unique brand of this affordable, fan-friendly sport."

The Board of Directors conducted a meeting via conference call Sunday night and voted in favor of a motion to suspend the 2009 season. Columbus Destroyers co-owner and vice chairman of the AFL Executive Committee JIM RENACCI was asked by the Board of Directors to spearhead the restructuring process.

"Ownership truly appreciates Acting Commissioner Policy's steady hand and stewardship in what has been a challenging time for the AFL," said Renacci. "Our owners will work in conjunction with Policy to develop a plan that ensures the future of the AFL."

"We, the owners of the Arena Football League, realize we have the most fan-friendly, affordable and accessible sport anywhere," said JON BON JOVI, co-owner of the ArenaBowl champion Philadelphia Soul. "These are trying economic times. The revamping will ensure that the AFL continues to provide value to its fans and not only survives but thrives in the years to come."

"Our involvement with the Arena Football League was always geared toward promoting football on a year-round basis," said Dallas Desperados owner JERRY JONES. "Our experience with the Desperados has accomplished those goals and has been very positive. As we move forward we will explore all of the options that are available in regard to the future of the AFL and the Desperados."

After 22 seasons, the second-longest tenure of any U.S. pro football league, the decision to suspend the 2009 season was not made lightly. AFL ownership has conducted multiple meetings over the past several weeks, discussed numerous options and concluded that this decision is in the best interests of the 16-team AFL and its fans.

"As a four-year owner of the Georgia Force, I have enjoyed our affiliation with Arena Football. In addition, our club is very proud of its leadership position in the league in many areas on and off the field," said Georgia Force owner ARTHUR BLANK. "We want that to continue for our fans, so we support the decision to focus our energies on securing the long-term success of the Arena Football League."

"Although it is disappointing to suspend the 2009 season, the Arena Football League and its owners feel it is essential to reevaluate the current business model to ensure the livelihood of the AFL in the future," said JOHN ELWAY, Co-Owner, CEO Colorado Crush.

"We remain grateful to the greatest fans in the world for their avidity and their patience. It is with them in mind that the AFL, its owners and its players remain committed to resuming play as soon as it is feasible," concluded Policy.

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