A simple difference of opinion led to the dissolution of a league.
Team owners under the auspices of the Major Indoor Soccer League were unable to come to a definitive restructuring agreement, and as a result, the MISL ceased all operations as of Saturday, according to statements released yesterday by league management.
That leaves teams like the Kixx - who have played in the MISL since its inception - without a league heading into the 2008-09 season.
However, according to Kixx owner and president Jeff Rotwitt, the lapse is only temporary as team owners and league officials plan to meet in the upcoming weeks to restructure the league in a continued effort to lower costs and attract additional owners.
"The majority of teams want to emulate a league structure akin to an NFL 16-game season, but we were unable to induce a unanimous vote," Rotwitt told the Daily News yesterday. "The only way to ensure this vision was to say 'fine no hard feelings, but lets disband and restructure.' "
Previously, MISL teams played a rigorous 30-game season, which, according to Rotwitt, many owners felt took a toll on players and hurt ownership in terms of travel costs as well as holding fan appeal. The ownership consensus believes the shorter season will alleviate those concerns in addition to attracting the interest of outside ownership.
"Essentially, we [as owners] felt it was more strategic to lessen the season," Rotwitt said. "Right now, we just play such a long season, and to ask sponsors, owners and fans to commit to such a schedule is asking a lot.
"Our front office is on board with this and we really feel that will make their job easier in allowing them to provide a much better service to our fan base," Rotwitt added. "This really is something more administrative than anything else and really not something fans need to worry about."
Along with Philadelphia, the MISL had representatives in Detroit, Chicago, California, Milwaukee and Baltimore and added three expansion clubs just last season in New Jersey, Monterrey and Orlando. According to Rotwitt, the new agreement may find a few of these teams on the outside looking in at the revamped league.
Rotwitt said restructuring should take anywhere from 3 weeks to a month. Currently, the league is looking to see how many of the original nine teams will stay and how many more cities will want to field teams. Rotwitt claims that the new league has already looked into inquiries of starting organizations in New York, Richmond and Cincinnati, and even a possible return of the Cleveland Force, placed on inactive status due to loss of ownership in 2005.
"We are considering structural changes that will bring us greater efficiencies, while also allowing long-term growth and expansion of the league," said John Hantz, the MISL's former chairman and owner of the Detroit Ignition. "This day marks the end of one era, and the start of a new era for the sport of professional indoor soccer."