Speaking to The Equalizer on Sunday, NWSL Managing Director of Operations, Amanda Duffy said that Breakers ownership informed the league at the conclusion of the 2017 season that they would no longer be able to operate the club. She was also adamant that the folding of the most venerable brand in the sport and the reduction of teams from 10 to nine is not a sign that NWSL is in trouble.
“We’re not folding,” Duffy said. “This isn’t the same league as WUSA or WPS. We’re very strong about our owners. Utah Royals (owner) Dell Loy Hansen has just joined the league and is going to help move standards for this league (forward). We have very strong and promising expansion candidates that are looking as early as the 2019 season that fully understand that decisions like this in a young league in its formative years have to be made at times for the long-term stability and success.”
Duffy said the league owns all intellectual rights to the Boston Breakers and could revive the brand should a future expansion owner in the area wish to do so. Asked about suspending the club’s operations rather than ceasing them, Duffy said the decision was necessary in order to give NWSL the best chance of one day returning to the Boston area.
“It’s a market we believe in,” she said. “And with the reputation of the Breakers brand historically, we’ll continue to have discussions and explore potential opportunities in the Boston market.”
NWSL spoke to “various groups” after being informed that Boston Women’s Soccer LLC were not planning on continuing operations of the Breakers. Duffy confirmed that a deal fell apart in the days leading up to the NWSL Draft on January 18. That group, she said, had entered into an exclusive negotiating window with the league.
“There were various items but ultimately we weren’t able to complete that transaction and move forward,” she said, noting that it was the ownership group that ultimately backed out of the deal at the 11th hour. “The league did decide to proceed through the draft while it pursued other solutions that would keep the team operating for the 2018 season.”
On the mysterious group that reportedly formed in the middle of last week, Duffy would only go so far as to say the league was in discussions with multiple groups into the final hours but that ultimately the time frame was too narrow for an agreement to be reached. She said those doors have not been closed for good and that some conversations will change from #SaveTheBreakers to expansion discussions.
Duffy did not comment on the identity of any groups that showed interest in purchasing the Breakers and would whether the New England Revolution were involved at any level of the discussions. She also declined to comment on the Breakers missing payments to vendors and whether that may have complicated a potential sale.