By now you’ve likely heard the news. The official statement from WPS:
SAN FRANCISCO, CA (January 30, 2012) – Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS) announced today that its Board of Governors has voted to suspend the 2012 season to permit the League to focus on the resolution of certain pending legal issues and the challenges that now face the League as a result of its ongoing dispute with a former owner.
“We are proud of what the League has accomplished in the first three seasons, but we do recognize the necessity to resolve our existing legal and operational issues so that we can continue to support and grow WPS the right way,” said Sky Blue FC Owner Thomas Hofstetter. “This was a very difficult decision, but one we as owners feel is the best business decision for the League at this time.”
The Board voted on Monday morning to suspend the 2012 season. Over the last year the league has faced significant challenges, including a lengthy and expensive legal battle with a former owner. The litigation has diverted resources from investment in the league and has forced the Board to take action, suspending the 2012 season in order to address the legal issues head-on before moving forward with competition.
“We firmly believe there is a place in the global sports landscape for Women’s Professional Soccer,” said WPS CEO Jennifer O’Sullivan. “Making the decision to suspend the 2012 season was a difficult and painful one, but it is necessary to take the time to address current issues and solidify our business in order to provide appropriate support needed to achieve the League’s long-term goals. Those that take part in our League – players, partners and fans – deserve the best, and that is what we are taking the time to ensure we deliver when we resume play in 2013 and beyond.”
WPS has established its plans to return to play in 2013, and all five owners of the League’s existing teams – Atlanta Beat, Boston Breakers, Philadelphia Independence, Sky Blue FC and Western New York Flash – will remain active with the CEO, Jennifer O’Sullivan, in the governance of WPS throughout the current year.
“We are deeply grateful to our fans and partners for the tremendous support they have shown for WPS, our players and the sport,” added O’Sullivan. “With our supporters and athletes in mind, we are committed to complete the hard work necessary to resume play in 2013 and reestablish WPS as the premiere women’s professional soccer league in the world.”
The e-mail Atlanta Beat owner Fitz Johnson sent to players this morning:
It deeply saddens me to inform you today, the Women’s Professional Soccer League has suspended the 2012 season and league operations.
We were very excited about the opportunity to work with each of you and know that we had put together an amazing team. It is unfortunate we are unable to work together in pursuit of a championship. We wish you all the success in your future endeavors. Over the last year the league has faced significant challenges, including a lengthy and expensive legal battle with a former owner. The litigation has diverted resources from investment in the league and has forced the Board to take action, suspending the 2012 season in order to address the legal issues head-on before moving forward with competition.
A formal Press release will be sent out from the League office around 1pm today.
I am certainly available to discuss any questions or concerns you may have. Do not hesitate to contact me.
T. Fitz Johnson, Esq.
Sincerest condolences to those personally affected by the news. Will post thoughts once they form. That’s all, folks.