Sources: Fort Lauderdale NASL team owners likely to file for bankruptcy to avoid paying players and other debts

Earlier today on Twitter I reported that the Brazilian-based owners of Miami FC LLC, the NASL club in Fort Lauderdale plan to file for US bankruptcy later this week and have notified players that they will not be receiving their back pay or current pay. Here are the tweets and we will of course be following up on this story during the course of the week.

A big question that will need to be answered are what if any plans do US Soccer or NASL have to remedy this situation and what has happened to the $750,000 guarantee that Miami FC LLC (at the time dba Fort Lauderdale Strikers – a name that the owners can no longer use as it was awarded to Tampa Bay Rowdies owner and Downtown St Petersburg magnate Bill Edwards, who was a creditor, in a court auction) should have put in escrow for US Soccer and NASL to tap in a rainy day emergency such as this.

Last season, NASL’s other owners including local rival Miami FC (not to be confused with Miami FC LLC which was the holding company for the Fort Lauderdale club) helped float the club to the conclusion of the NASL campaign. This season, Fort Lauderdale has not fielded a team though player contracts were supposed to be honored and multiple staffers still work for the club.

NASL never announced that Fort Lauderdale would not play in the 2017 season. If Miami FC LLC files for bankruptcy, it is possible NASL’s other owners could vote remove them from the NASL partnership if they have not voted to do so already.

This is potentially damaging for US Soccer’s reputation abroad as several of the Fort Lauderdale players came from Latin American countries notorious for late or non payment for staff and players. While The US’ top division MLS which operates as a single entity structure does not have these problems and has been able to attract top Latin American talent because as one fellow soccer writer who covers South American football put it to me recently “they know they won’t have to race to the bank in competition with their teammates when they get handed a check in MLS and know they will be paid on time.”

By contrast, NASL which has sought to rival MLS in the past has a model where individual clubs are responsible for keeping their own house in order – Fort Lauderdale was unable to do it last season and got bailed by the generosity of the other league owners, who I am sure also could file a claim asking to be compensated as creditors much like the players, staff and vendors who have not been paid.

The full content of the tweets are after the jump. We will continue to follow this story during the week.

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