All-American Football League might scrap season for lack of funds

ATLANTA -- On the 25th anniversary of the USFL's first game, another upstart professional football league is facing an uncertain future.

The new All American Football League will have to postpone its 2008 season unless it finds additional financial backing.

The announcement Thursday came less than a week before camps were to open for the six-team league.

The league, which held its inaugural draft in January, has rosters and staffs in place for six teams: Detroit; Little Rock, Ark; Gainesville, Fla.; Birmingham, Ala.; Knoxville, Tenn., and Houston.

Training camps were scheduled to open Wednesday, followed by the first games in April.

The league will push its plans back to 2009 unless it secures a TV deal or other funding.

The league announced Thursday it was exploring "multiple financing options" to address its funding crisis.

AAFL spokesperson Risa Balayem said there are ongoing talks to land a TV deal for 2008. She would not provide further details.

The AAFL was formed to fill the void created when the NFL shut down NFL Europe earlier this year after 16 seasons. The league was losing a reported $30 million a season, and now the AAFL, lacking a TV deal, also faces a financial crisis before it can stage its first game.

Among the first players drafted on Jan. 26 were quarterbacks Bryan Randall, by Tennessee, and Eric Crouch, by Texas. Former Troy offensive lineman Zarah Yisrael was drafted No. 1 overall by Arkansas.

According to a statement released by the league, the AAFL's financial crisis is tied to the national subprime mortgage crisis.

League CEO Marcus Katz co-founded a company that provides student loans.

The statement said camps would open Wednesday "if liquidity can be immediately restored."

If not, plans for an inaugural season will be pushed back to 2009.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.