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IFL Nullifies Storm's First Five Wins

April 25, 2009, 12:10 AM

IFL Nullifies Storm's First Five Wins
Friday, in an unprecedented decision by a professional sports league, the Indoor Football League nullified the Sioux Falls Storm’s first five wins of the regular season and unilaterally changed them into losses as part of League-imposed discipline for non-compliance with regulations related to worker’s compensation coverage.

In addition to changing all of the Storm’s first five wins into losses, the League has also given the remaining teams a competitive advantage on the field by reducing the team’s roster from 21 to 20 players for the remainder of the regular season and prohibiting the Storm from hosting a first-round playoff game. The League also imposed a $10,000 fine, which the Storm did not contest.

The Sioux Falls Storm, winners of the last four League championships, has not lost a home game since 2005, a streak of 33 straight home games. The team also holds the modern record for the most consecutive wins by a professional sports team at 40. The Storm, one of the most successful teams in professional sports history, has won 58 of its last 61 games dating back to 2005, helping draw national attention to indoor football.

“Clearly, these outrageously harsh punitive measures, imposed by a majority vote of IFL team owners, are intended to place the Sioux Falls Storm and its players at a competitive disadvantage against the other teams in the League for the remainder of the season and into the playoffs for a mistake that was totally unrelated to competition on the field,” said Colin Steen, President of the Sioux Falls Storm.

“This mistake, related to worker’s compensation, was corrected prior to our sixth game. All of our players’ medical bills are fully covered by the team and no harm resulted to the players or any other team. We feel horrible for our players and coaches. This mistake was made by the front office, and our players and coaches will bear most the punishment,” said Steen.

The Indoor Football League is the premier professional indoor football league in the United States. It was created in 2008 out of the merger of the Intense Football League and the United Indoor Football Association. The League is comprised of 19 teams spread geographically throughout the country, including Omaha, Nebraska; Rochester, New York; Odessa, Texas and Fairbanks, Alaska.

“While we accepted responsibility for our omission and agreed to pay the applicable fine, the sanction here is shocking, unfair and outrageously excessive for what amounts to an administrative mistake. Our players and especially our fans should not be punished for an insurance issue that has now been fully rectified and resulted in no competitive advantage on the field,” said Steen.

“This type of excessive punishment calls into question the competitive integrity of this League,” said team attorney, Scott Abdallah.

“No other professional sports league would strip away wins during a season and impose sanctions specifically designed to create an unfair advantage for the other teams on the field for an insurance violation,” said Abdallah.

All of the sanctions, including the sanction regarding the reduction of the Storm’s players, are effective immediately and will impact the team’s game Saturday night in Montana against the Billings Outlaws.

Courtesy: Sioux Falls Storm

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