Philadelphia Independence owner David Halstead says the Philadelphia Independence will be back in 2013.
In a letter to Independence fans on the club’s website, Halstead says the decision to cancel the 2012 season was difficult, but necessary.
Halstead points to the ongoing litigation with Dan Borislow over his Florida-based franchise as the reason for the cancellation of the season. “The fact is we have very serious legal and financial challenges facing us right now that are preventing the league from moving forward as a viable, sustainable business,” Halstead says. “This is extremely disappointing and frustrating but it’s nothing to be ashamed of – its part of business and is something the WPS Board of Governors collectively feel is the right choice at this time.”
Speaking further of the litigation, which he describes as the first obstacle that must be cleared for the league to continue, Halstead says, “This has been a most unpleasant and all-consuming experience and one that is impacting WPS expansion efforts and national sponsor interests.”
Halstead stresses that while the the league is suspending operations in 2012 “franchise operations” will continue. “The Independence and all WPS teams will remain committed to the fans, sponsors, players and partners to bring WPS back improved and ready to move forward for many years to come.”
“We have done some things wrong,” Halstead says, “but we have done many, many, many more things right. We have lost millions of dollars, individually and certainly collectively, and the owners will be addressing that issue.”
“Said a different way, it’s time to stop driving this WPS car, hoping that the engine will suddenly fix itself. It’s time to make a pit stop, analyze, repair and fortify the engine’s capabilities and then get it back out on the track so it can compete from a much stronger, durable, and solid position. This is what responsible business enterprises do, and it’s what the WPS and Philadelphia Independence are going to do.”
Halstead singles out Independence fans for praise and makes a promise to return to play in 2013. “To the terrific and passionate fans, sponsors and partners of the Independence, we will maintain – but not lose – the momentum of what promised to be a very special 2012,” he says. “We worked tirelessly in the offseason to deliver the most talented team and best fan experience yet. This organizational commitment to you will not change. We will be Back, Stronger in 2013. Together we have started something very, very special and unique. Please stay with us, stay involved, and remain supportive.”
While reports are emerging that WNY Flash will seek to play in 2012 in another league, Halstead makes no mention of such plans for the Independence. Halstead says that coach Paul Riley “will continue to be at the center of my efforts to correct our business deficiencies, build a youth program with meaningful community connections, and re-launch in several months for 2013 with a roster that can win the WPS Championship.”
It is not clear at this time if players currently on the roster will remain there when the league resumes in 2013