It has happened again. Another football league is built up and makes promises to players, coaches, and fans. Then folds out of nowhere, leaving players and coaches on their own. It happened with the AAF three years ago, and it has now happened again with MLFB.
After it’s much talked about the build-up to its 2022 season with ‘Cleats on the ground.’ Their hiring of notable coaches like former Atlanta Falcons head coach Jerry Glanville. They were updating their website and selling game tickets with their four franchises. Major League Football has run out of money and, more likely, owes many people money.
It all went down yesterday when players returned to their hotel rooms after practice and were literally locked out of their rooms. MLFB had not paid their hotel bill for three weeks. The rumored price tag was around $80,000. Nearly 260 players were left stranded, unable to go to their rooms. Hotel staff gave them 30 minutes to clear out their rooms.
Simone Eli, a reporter for WKRG, broke everything down.
“BREAKING: Major League Football, (MLFB) which began practice last week at Ladd-Peebles Stadium and was set to begin games next month in Mobile, Alabama, has been “shut down” for a coach in the league. This stemming, in part, from unpaid hotel rooms/reservations.
Today after practice, MLFB coaches were in meetings at a team hotel when hotel officials knocked on the door and informed them to “leave immediately.” By the time coaches returned to their rooms, hotel officials were knocking on player doors, informing them to “get out.”
Hotel room cards were shut off for everyone involved in the MLFB. Hotel officials retrieved luggage for people in the organization if they were not already in their rooms prior to the cards being shut off. @WKRG was told this happened at 3/4 team hotels.
I personally left one hotel in Mobile where more than a dozen MLFB players sat in the lobby awaiting rides home. One player told me he was not being helped financially to get home. One coach needing a flight to Illinois also said he was not getting accommodations to go home.
Another coach with MLFB stated the players have only received a small stipend, but were not going to be paid until their first game check. He told me MLFB coaches have been paid at least once to this point.
I spoke with a league official in the hotel lobby who told me they were going to try to bring coaches and players back in two weeks, when “stockholder money was approved by the SEC to help fund the league.” The league official also told me they were paying for players to get home
… which contradicts what I witnessed and was told by players/staff. When I pressed the league official about seeing players/coaches ordering Ubers and searching for flights, he told me they “planned on reimbursing them.”
We knew the league was in trouble when the COO abruptly left the league days before training camp. Even if players get reimbursed, would you want to go back? Players have options now with the USFL, XFL, and FCF.
Outkick.com reached out to Cecil Cherry, a former Fan Controlled Football League player and Defensive Player of the Year. Cherry said he spoke with CEO Frank Murtha who was not even in town.
Ladd-Peebles Stadium, where the training camp was held was paid $30,000 up front. In a statement to WKRG, Mobile Sports Authority said
“MSA was informed today that MLFB has not kept their contracted lodging payments up to date with our local hotel partners where the teams and staff were being housed for their 4-team training camp. …
We understand there have been numerous discussions pertaining to those late payments with the MLFB ownership group and with the local hotels being used. But as of today, the required funds needed to continue their housing have not arrived.
Therefore, those pertinent hotels had no choice but to terminate their contracts with MLFB, thereby ending the MLFB training camp in Mobile.”
The United Football Players Association. Which was created after the XFL and AAF shut down. Posted the following for fans to help out.
Coach Terry Shea of the Virginia Armada used his own money to help players during this time.
This league is different from the other failed attempts because it is a publicly-traded company. Why start a season when you didn’t have the money yet? Who else do they owe money too? The league has yet to make an official announcement.