SBD/November 29, 2011/Leagues and Governing Bodies

With Fewer Than Eight Teams, WPS Could Face Demotion To Division 2 Status

WPS, which has only five teams, is "in danger of losing sanctioning from U.S. Soccer, the sport's national governing body," according to Jack Bell of the N.Y. TIMES. The NGB's bylaws state that "all professional leagues are required to have a minimum of eight teams." WPS, which had six teams for the '11 season, "requested and was granted a one-year waiver by" U.S. Soccer's BOD. Now with only five teams a certainty for the '12 season, WPS "requested an extension of the waver to take it through a season that will include the London Olympics in the hope of attracting new investors before 2013." WPS CEO Jennifer O'Sullivan said, "Our primary goal is to retain our D1 status." Last Sunday, U.S. Soccer "gave the league 15 days to secure a sixth team before it makes a decision on extending the waiver." Bell noted if its waiver extension "is rejected and the league loses its D1 status, the league could continue, but national team players, from the United States and elsewhere would not jeopardize their international eligibility by playing in what would in essence be an outlaw league." Bell noted it would "probably be more realistic for WPS to go with five teams in a Division 2 league, but that might be less attractive to the players in the United States Olympic pool and from overseas" (N.Y. TIMES, 11/25).
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