March 5, 2012

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Source: WPS owners decide to "cancel 2012 season"

30 Jan, 2012

By Charles Boehm

The owners of Women’s Professional Soccer appear to have decided to “cancel the 2012 season,” according to a league-wide email citing ongoing legal proceedings with renegade owner Dan Borislow.

The decision was apparently voted on by WPS’ five owners on Monday morning, and the news was subsequently delivered to WPS players in the email, obtained by National Soccer Wire, which alluded to further information being relayed following Wednesday’s court hearing in Florida between Borislow and league representatives.

Word has already begun to filter out via players and journalists on social networks like Twitter, and the league has reportedly scheduled an announcement for 1 p.m. on Monday afternoon.

“Everyone has been trying so hard to keep things going - considering settlement options, discussing union legal action to intervene in the lawsuit, etc.,” reads the email, “but we just couldn't manage to make things work.”

According to the email, league officials “currently plan to maintain league and team front offices in hopes of resolving outstanding litigation and holding a 2013 season, but details are still evolving.”

Borislow bought the Washington Freedom last winter and relocated the franchise to Boca Raton, Fla., renaming it magicJack after his signature internet telecommunications product.

He signed many of the top players in the world, including U.S. Women’s National Team stars Abby Wambach, Christie Rampone and Hope Solo, but feuded constantly with then-WPS CEO Anne-Marie Eileraas and other league officials about his disinclination to advertise, maintain a staff and other basic league mandates, incurring repeated fines and other penalties.

Borislow and the league seemed to have patched up their differences by the end of the 2011 season in August, when the Western New York Flash won the WPS championship, but the league suddenly announced that magicJack had been “terminated” on October 27. Borislow soon took up legal action against the move, filing an injunction for reinstatement claiming that WPS had not followed their own procedures in doing so, and on January 9 a Florida judge upheld his motion.

The case took another unexpected turn on January 18, when both parties agreed to a compromise deal that would see magicJack play a series of exhibition matches against WPS teams over the next two years. But apparently the deal could not be finalized in time to avoid the move to cancel the 2012 campaign.

[Updated: Official Press Release from WPS confirms story]

[+ See our story on Abby Wambach's recent backing of Dan Borislow]

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