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Professional Oct 27, 2011

WPS “terminates” Borislow’s magicJack franchise

By Charles Boehm

For weeks, Women’s Professional Soccer and its rebellious, South Florida-based club magicJack have given off subtle signs that reconciliation was taking place after a stormy 2011 season marked by chaos and conflict.

On Thursday morning the league wiped all that away with a two-sentence press release.

“After careful consideration, the Board of Governors of Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS) voted on Tuesday to terminate the Boca Raton based magicJack franchise,” stated the terse announcement from WPS public relations chief Crystal Fukumoto.

“WPS will continue to deliver to its players and fans the world’s top women’s soccer league, with plans to make 2012 the most competitive and successful season to date.”

MagicJack were formerly known as the Washington Freedom before owner Dan Borislow bought the franchise from John and Maureen Hendricks last winter, moved it to Boca Raton, Fla. and renamed it after his internet telecommunications product.

Borislow’s intervention essentially saved both the team and the league from folding, but his disinclination to follow WPS directives and maintain basic trappings of a professional sport operation like advertising, a full coaching staff and front-office personnel created constant conflict with league CEO Anne-Marie Eileraas and her colleagues. Club and owner alike were sanctioned and fined repeatedly.

Eileraas stepped down from her post following the end of the WPS season, which concluded with the New York Flash’s championship victory over the Philadelphia Independence on August 27.

In early August Borislow initiated legal proceedings to block what he alleged was the league’s intention to terminate his franchise, but the two parties resolved the dispute before it wounds its way through the courts. Earlier this month he told Potomac Soccer Wire staff that he expected both magicJack and WPS to continue operations in 2012.

U.S. Soccer sanctioning guidelines require top-tier professional leagues to field at least eight teams, but WPS operated under an exemption from the rule this year.

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