The bad news keeps getting worse for the Ft. Lauderdale Strikers.
Just weeks after reports of late payments of player salaries by the struggling NASL team, not for the first time this season, it is being reported by WRALSportsFan that the ownership group led by Paulo Cesso have ceased its financial obligations as of September 1. The team has been in dire financial straits for some time and have reportedly been assisted by loans from Bill Edwards, majority owner of the NASL’s Tampa Bay Rowdies. The help hasn’t been enough, however, as the Cesso-led group has been forced to put the team up for sale.
The news places the NASL in a tough position, as they are now forced to request that member teams aid in funding the Strikers remaining necessary expenses for the 2016 season, estimated to cost between $1.25 million and $1.75 million. The total would cover player salaries through the end of the calendar year, but not debts to third-party vendors, such as game-day security services. The NASL Board of Governors will reportedly meet next week to presumably discuss the financial situation of the club and perhaps approve a loan to keep the club afloat. Any prospective purchasers would assume this debt along with ownership of the Strikers.
The league remains unfazed in the face of adversity however, with one spokesperson stating, ““Whenever a situation arises that requires the attention and support of the League office and its Board, everyone within the NASL rallies together, like any true league would, to work through the situation and try to achieve the best possible outcome. The current status of the Fort Lauderdale Strikers is no different.”
The news comes amid several potential departures from the league. Rayo OKC are in the midst of a reported ownership dispute and there remains confusion over the status of the Ottawa Fury’s league membership in addition to the known departure of Minnesota United to MLS next season. However, some positives remain, as the San Francisco Deltas are set to join the NASL for their first season in 2017.